Centre refuses to provide funds; state government to review project
Chhattisgarh’s government has decided to put a halt to its controversial public private partnership (PPP) project to outsource diagnostic services in the state. The project was facing stiff opposition from health activists for months. The Centre had sent a team on March 5 this year to assess the model and give recommendations. The team found that there are many problems in implementing the plan and that outsourcing diagnostic facilities is not the best option.
Sources inform that while state government officials say they will halt the project because they “need to take a fresh look”, the Central government’s refusal to fund the project under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) is the main reason.
Principal health secretary of Chhattisgarh M K Raut says that the government has decided to have a “relook” at the project. It will take a few more months. The reason behind holding the decision after bidding, is that there are few gaps in the project and the government wants to give these gaps a “fresh look”, says Raut.
However, when Raut is reminded that the Central government has not allotted money to this PPP project under NRHM despite their demand, he says this is a state government project, and money will not be an issue at all.
The Centre has refused to allocate money to any of the state’s PPP projects. The other PPP projects lined up are for outsourcing public health centres (PHCs), setting up a PPP cell in the state and other endeavours. Regarding the outsourcing of diagnostic services, the Central government clearly states the project is, “Not approved. State may revise proposal based on GoI (Government of India) recommendation and submit in the supplementary PPP.”
Earlier, the government of Chhattisgarh had proposed a PPP project for outsourcing diagnostic services from public health facilities in the state from 2013 – 14 and invited requests for proposal (RFP) from private diagnostic services. The first round of tendering failed to attract bids for the tribal districts. Subsequently, the documents were re-drafted to club unattractive (read non-lucrative) districts with attractive districts, and tenders were called again. The last date for this tender was March 16. The bidding process has now been completed.
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