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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: In the first budget post the once in a lifetime pandemic, Union Finance Minister Nirmal Sitharaman has harped high on the health and wellness sector in the budget. She today has also presented the 15th Finance Commission report in the Parliament.

As per the 15th FC report, Odisha healthcare is seemingly on a sickbed. The deficiency in health care infra looks very acute.

Sample this. As per the 15th FC report, Odisha has not even 1 bed per 1000 people, and just 1 doctor and nurse/midwives per 1000 people. The State is at the bottom along with Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.

Moreover, as per the National Health Profile 2019, Odisha has 1 bed for around 23,000 persons in government hospitals, and 0.2 lakh persons per government hospital.

It had also pointed out that the State has been facing a severe shortage of healthcare professionals with:

 » 1,276 vacancies (83.5% shortfall) of specialists in CHCs against the sanctioned strength of 1,529; and

» 409 vacancies (30.8% shortfall) of doctors in PHCs against the sanctioned strength of 1,326

»The State has key health indicators that are inferior to the national average, such as maternal mortality of 150 per 100,000 live births (2016) as opposed to 113 all-India

In this very sick backdrop, the announcement of PM Atmanirbhar Swasthya Yojana holds promise for the State.

PM Atmanirbhar Yojana: As per the scheme, the Union government will allocate over Rs 54,180 crore, and in the six-year period will focus on converting over 11,000 urban and 17,000 rural health centres into wellness centres.

Moreover, under the programme, integrated public health labs will be set up in all the districts and 3382 block public health units in 11 states, including Odisha (as per the 15th FC report)

Also, the programme will see the establishment of critical care hospital blocks in 602 districts, including many aspirational districts in Odisha. (The 15th FC has identified Odisha along with other states where the MMR is high due to lack of critical services in every district)

VACCINE BOOST

»As on today, the Pneumococcal Vaccine is presently limited to only 5 states -  Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The Budget announced to launch it across the country, including Odisha.

Jal Jeevan Mission-Urban: As per the 15th FC report table in parliament today, even as over 88 per cent households in Odisha has access to safe drinking water, it brings to fore the State’s yawning gap in the piped water supply to households in the State. Sample the following:

»Only 4 per cent of rural households have PWS connections in the State, which is less than one-fourth of the all India coverage of 18.3 per cent.

»The FC recommends the need for Odisha to invest in cost-effective and innovative approaches such as rain-water harvesting and end-to-end value chain management of drinking water.

In the Budget, the outlay for the department of drinking water and sanitation has been hiked by nearly 3-times to Rs 60,030 crore. And it has announced the launching of Jal Jeevan Mission –Urban

»The scheme aims at a universal water supply in all the 4,378 Urban Local Bodies with 2.86 crores household tap connections, as well as liquid waste management in 500 AMRUT cities. It will be implemented over 5 years, with an outlay of Rs 2,87,000 crores.

The increased outlay and the Jal Jeevan Urban will prove providential for Odisha.

OTHER GAINS

  • The budget proposed the 464 km Raipur-Vishakhapatnam road corridor that will pass through three states - Chhattisgarh, Odisha and North Andhra Pradesh. The construction will start in 2021-22.
  • The budget has announced the adoption of an intensified strategy to improve nutritional outcomes across 112 Aspirational Districts in the country, including Odisha.
  • Over and above the capital expenditure of Rs 5.54 lakh crore, Budget has announced to provide more than Rs 2 lakh crores to States, including Odisha. Capex support from Centre will boost Odisha CAPEX in the coming budget.
  • The Tier-2 cities in Odisha may see a metro soon, following the announcement in the budget about the adoption of two new technologies i.e., ‘MetroLite’ and ‘MetroNeo’ to provide metro rail systems at a much lesser cost with the same experience, convenience and safety in Tier-2 cities.
  • Announcement regarding setting up of modern fishing harbour and fish landing centre at Paradip.

How This Is Beneficial?

Odisha has targeted to achieve Rs 20,000 cr seafood exports by the year 2020. The State currently has 4 fishing harbours and 69 fish landing centres. And towards this achievement, the state has a few years ago had started the cargo facility from Paradip. The setting up of modern fishing harbour and fish landing centre here will give a boost to the State’s dream to emerge as an important marine export player in the country.

Centrally Sponsored Schemes – Core of the Core

  • MGNREGA: Allocation Rs 73,000 cr, up from Rs over 61.1k cr in 2020-21 budget estimate
  • Umbrella Programme for STs – Rs 4,303 from Rs4,190 cr in 20-21 BE

 

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