PIB News Update: A meeting of the Fifteenth Finance Commission with its High Level Group (HLG) on Health Sector will be held on 21st May, 2020 through virtual conference. A High Level Group (HLG) on Health Sector was constituted by the Fifteenth Finance Commission in May, 2018, headed by Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS and including eminent professionals from the Health Sector. The Group submitted its final report in August, 2019 and some of its’ key recommendations were incorporated in the first report of the 15th Finance Commission for the year 2020-21.
The 15th Finance Commission according the highest priority to the Health Sector, has now decided to reconvene this HLG in the light of recent developments due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
The HLG has now been asked to review its original recommendations in the context of the current Covid-19 pandemic. There is an immediate need to reassess the requirement of health manpower (medical and paramedical) and estimated requirement of resources for 2021-22 to 2025-26 in relation to the health infra-gap (hospital infrastructure, medical equipment, PPE, etc.) Further, the mechanism to fund these requirements will need to be critically examined, including the enhanced role of the private sector.
Further, the composition of the Group which earlier included Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director AIIMS; Dr. Devi Shetty, Chairman, Narayana Health City; Dr. Deelip Govind Mhaaisekar, Vice Chancellor, Maharashtra University of Health Science; Dr. Naresh Trehan, Medanta City; Dr. Bhabatosh Biswas, Prof. & HoD of Cardio Thoracic Surgery, R.G. Kar Medical College and Prof. K. Srinath Reddy, President of Public Health Foundation of India – has been enhanced with the addition of Dr. S.K. Sarin, Director, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS), New Delhi and Dr. Harsh Mahajan, Founder, Mahajan Imaging, New Delhi.
At tomorrow’s meeting there will also be a presentation on modelling the path of the pandemic on epidemic behaviour by Prof. Shamika Ravi, Director of Research at Brookings India.
Shri Jayant Sinha, Member of Parliament and Chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on Finance is also expected to participate alongwith the Chairman, Members & senior officials of the Finance Commission.
The Commission has noted some of the far reaching efforts of the Government of India to address the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 crisis. The Rs. 15000 crore package announced for States will increase the investment at the grassroots and will lead to the setting up of infectious disease blocks in all district hospitals, along with public health labs at block levels. These are important first steps in a series of measures that will be required.