NITI Aayog’s PPP model for district hospitals pushes for privatisation of health sector

The move is in line with the Centre's agenda to push government health sector towards privatisation on the grounds that public health infrastructure is inept 

By Kundan Pandey
Published: Thursday 18 October 2018
Private healthcare
Credit: Presidencia de la República Mexicana/Flickr Credit: Presidencia de la República Mexicana/Flickr

More than a year after the government think-tank, NITI Aayog said that its guidelines to run district run hospitals on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model was just a first draft, it launched October 17 the norms in spite of protests from public health experts.

In June 2017, NITI Aayog proposed a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model to provide infrastructure to improve treatment for non-communicable diseases at district hospitals. Following opposition from public health experts, NITI Aayog backtracked saying it was just a draft.

The norms are meant to ease the struggle of people in rural areas and mofussil towns. In tier 2 and tier 3 cities, private players will be provided space in district hospital and they will invest in its development, says the NITI Aayog.

“Private partner to invest in upgrading/building and equipping the facility and responsible for operational management and service delivery. Government to provide physical space & other infrastructure in ‘as-is where-is’ condition, provide support facilities and hospital amenities,” it said.

Down To Earth has previously reported on how the Centre and states are pushing government health infrastructure towards privatisation on the grounds that government infrastructure weak.

Many health experts this reporter spoke to say this it is precisely due to the shoddy infrastructure that they have been demanding an increase in health expenditure but the government has no paid any heed.

For instance, the 12th five-year plan proposed to increase expenses on health and family welfare up to Rs 2,68,551 crore but the government gave less than 46 per cent of the said amount. NITI Aayog opines that since government hospitals are in no condition to meet the expectation, it will be given to private hospitals.

Amulya Nidhi, committee member, the National Co-ordination says that the Central government has been pushing for privatisation of health sector ever since it came to power. Even Ayushman Bharat, the so called ‘largest health insurance scheme of the world’ was a move in same direction.

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