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15th Finance Commission to meet its high level group on health sector

Giving the highest priority to the health sector, the 15th Finance Commission has decided to reconvene HLG given the recent developments amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

May 20, 2020 18:56 IST
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The 15th Finance Commission will hold a meeting with its High Level Group (HLG) on the health sector on May 21, 2020. The meeting will take place through a virtual conference.

The 15th Finance Commission constituted the High Level Group in 2018 that included eminent professionals from the health sector. The group also submitted its final report in August 2019 whose recommendations were incorporated in the first report of the commission.

Giving the highest priority to the health sector, the 15th Finance Commission has decided to reconvene HLG given the recent developments amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

What will be important in an upcoming meeting?

Member of Parliament and Chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on Finance, Shri Jayant Sinha has been expected to participate along with the members, chairman, and senior officials of the Finance Commission.

For the meeting, the High level group (HLG) has been asked to review the original recommendations in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. There has also been an immediate need to reassess the requirement of health manpower and estimated requirement of resources for 2021-22 to 2025-26 in relation to the health infra gap, that is medical equipment, hospital infrastructure, PPE, etc. The mechanisms through which these requirements are funded also needs to be critically examined, that also includes the enhanced role of the private sector.

At the meeting, there will also be a presentation on modelling the path of the pandemic on epidemic behaviour by Prof. Shamika Ravi.

Composition of High Level Group:

The composition of HLG which earlier included Dr. Devi Shetty, Chairman, Narayan health city, Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS, Dr. Deelip Govind Mhaaisekar, Vice-Chancellor, Maharashtra University of Health Science, Dr. Bhabatosh Biswas, Prof. HOD of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, R.G. Kar Medical College, Dr. Naresh Trehan, Medanta City, and Prof. K. Srinath Reddy, President of Public Health Foundation of India, has now been enhanced with the addition of Dr. Harsh Mahajan, Founder, Mahajan Imaging, New Delhi and Director of Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS), Dr. S.K. Sarin.

Commission acknowledged efforts of the government:

The commission acknowledged some of the far-reaching efforts of the Indian government in order to address the ongoing crisis of COVID-19 pandemic. As per the commission, the announcement of Rs. 15,000 crore package for the states will help to increase the investment at the grassroot level.

It will also lead to setting up infectious disease blocks in all the district hospitals and the public health labs at the block levels. As per the commission, these are the essential first steps in a required series of measures.

When HLG started: Background

The mentioned High Level Group on the health sector was constituted by the 15th Finance Commission in May 2018. It included some eminent professionals from the health sector and was headed by Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS.

The report was submitted by the group in August 2019 and its key recommendations were incorporated in the 15th Finance Commission’s first report for the year 2020-21.

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