Challenges and Prospects of Health Sector in Post-Covid India

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Sanjaya Kumar Ghadai, Damodar Jena, Satya Narayan Misra


Covid 19 has unleashed unprecedented challenges in terms of sharply dwindling employment and health care vulnerability in India, as never seen before. The closest parallel is Economic Depression of the 1930s. The Government of India has announced a series of fiscal stimulus to resuscitate the most vulnerable sections of Indian economy like peripatetic migrant laborers, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), street vendors, small farmers and unskilled MNREGA workers. This paper specifically looks at the likely impact of Rs.41000/- crore additional allocations to by Finance Minister in April 2020 MNREGA in mitigating disruption caused to about 80 million migrant workers. It also takes stock of allocation to National Health mission; its poor impact on Human Development Index (HDI), high Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) compared to global trends and suggests a way forward.

The paper makes a strong case to eschew populist moves like relying on doles and Universal Basic Income (UBI), but instead opt for a strong push to neglected public sector investment in merit goods like good primary health care and quality grassroots education, sanitation and skilling. It makes a strong pitch to make right to health care a fundamental right and change our public policy discourse in health care from insurance based to building adequate health infrastructure, as is in vogue in NHS (National Health Scheme) of UK

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