The coronavirus outbreak has brought the issue of government expenditure on health into sharp focus. At the state level, there is a clear trend: As a proportion of their total expenditure, states spend only 5 per cent on health while choosing to spend three-times more (15 per cent) on education. Clearly, on average, states prioritise education over health.
In 2017-18, Assam, Kerala and Chhattisgarh spent most in excess of the national average on both sectors. In sharp contrast, Haryana and Punjab spent lower than national average on both counts.
According to UNDP’s Human Development Index, which ranks countries on health, education and income, India ranks an embarrassing 129 out of the 189 countries considered.
The most significant departure from the national trend is in Delhi where the government spent 11.6 per cent of its money — more than twice the national average — on health. On education, Delhi spent 24.3 per cent — 60 per cent more than the national average.
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