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Niti Aayog keen to increase tax on tobacco, alocohol

NITI Aayog

Niti Aayog, the Think Tank of India, has suggested measures to hike taxes on tobacco, alcohol, and sweetened beverages. Also, it stressed making regular Yoga in schools.

In its ‘Strategy for New India @75’ document released on Wednesday, the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) has sought an increase in the public funding on health to at least 2.5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as visioned in the National Health Policy, 2017.

It also called for strengthening the village health sanitation and nutrition day platform to pay attention to a broader set of health issues and cover a large portion of the population, and not just keep its focus on children healthcare.

Pointing out the lack of trained staff and resources in the public healthcare system it said, “Public health action and management is a scientific and professional endeavor which should not be left to untrained employees relying on common sense alone,” it said. It also called for major reforms in the regulation of medical education and suggested measures to raise the number of doctors, mainly specialists, and super-specialists.

“Of the total current expenditure on health classified by healthcare functions, preventive care accounts for 6.7 percent. The money spent on curing people, on the other hand, is 51 percent of the expenditure with the remaining money being spent on pharmaceuticals, other medical goods, and patient transportation,” – Niti.

The ‘Strategy for New India @75’ document suggests achieving a doctor-population ratio of at least 1:1,400 against the World Health Organization (WHO) norm of 1:1,000 and nurse population ratio of at least 1:500 by 2022-23. It also proposed generating at least 15 lakhs jobs in the public health sector by 2022-23, a large number of which will employ women. It suggested linking 40 percent of district hospitals with medical colleges and creating pathways for the training of doctors in specialties and super-specialties at private hospitals to address the shortage of specialists in the country. It suggested similar steps to revamp the regulatory system in nursing, dentistry and pharmacy education.

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