September 26, 2016 2:43:10 am
TRS-ruled Telangana has not utilised funds released by the Centre under the National Health Mission for the current as well as the last fiscal, forcing the Union Health Ministry to step in. With no utilisation certificate submitted, the Centre has now stopped all NHM money to the state, except a small amount for payment of salaries.
Including last year’s pending amount of Rs 143 crore, the state health system is currently deficient by approximately Rs 300 crore by conservative estimates, which also includes money not released by Centre and the corresponding state share that should have been pumped into the system.
The total central allocation for NHM in the state in 2016-17 is Rs 434 crore. With the state share of 40 per cent, it comes to about Rs 700 crore for the entire year.
A letter from Union Health Minister J P Nadda to Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao in May this year went unanswered. The transfer of money from the state treasury to the state health society that as per rules should have happened within 15 days of the money reaching the state, has been happening with a long lag period; and this year it has not happened at all.
Urging the state to release Rs 143.28 crore pending for 2015-16, Nadda had written in May: “This delay has adversely impacted implementation of the NHM programmes, and affected the core activities, such as direct beneficiaries’ payment under Janani Suraksha Yojana and other demand-based activities like Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram, family planning services, incentive payment to ASHAs, procurement of drugs and equipment, salary payment to staff, operations of ambulances and completion of civil works etc.”
Things, according to sources in the Health Ministry, have worsened since then with a measly Rs 56 crore pumped into the state health system this year for payment of salaries.
“Everything has come to a standstill. Just the bare minimum is happening, apparently because money meant for health is being diverted to some ambitious dam that the state government has decided to prioritise. Even before this, they were releasing allocations after long delay,” said a source in the health ministry.
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