How Much Do Indian States Spend on Healthcare?

Posted on November 18, 2008

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Per the Indian constitution, Health is a State subject and hence the primary responsibility for providing affordable healthcare to its citizens lies with individual State governments. So I decided to find out how State governments compare on their spends on healthcare; specifically what percentage of its revenue receipts does each State government spend on healthcare (medical education, public health and family welfare).

For my research, tabulated below, I used the data from the 2008-09 budgets for the 28 state governments. Some state governments have not made their 2008-09 budget available on their websites and are mentioned as na and some others have hid it so well in their ill-organized websites that my patience was really tested. (P.S. The Andhra Pradesh government has easily the most useful and user friendly budget site. Kudos to those that designed and maintain it).

The results of my research paint an un-inspring picture. Apart from Goa, Kerala, Rajasthan and West Bengal, states adopt a seemingly formulaic approach in allocating 3-4% of their revenues to healthcare. An average Indian “outspends” these governments almost 2:1 when spending 6% of his or her annual per capita income on healthcare. What further proof than this sorry comparison do we need that any government by bringing its resources, size and skill to play, can easily push the overall cost down to the benefit of its citizens and make healthcare more affordable?

Such apathy towards its citizens’ health and well being does not behoove a country of India’s size and aspirations. It is hardly surprising that on certain key healthcare paramters, let alone the other BRIC countries, India lags some sub-saharan African countries. I don’t believe governments have a strategy or a vision when it comes to delivering healthcare to its citizens. The irony is that any political party, that for ever worries about winning/returning to power, has this fantastic opportunity of making healthcare its agenda, deliver to its electorate visible and discernable quality of life benefits and reduction in household expense and then reap repeated benefits of electoral victory leveraging this singular achievement.

% of Revenue Receipts spent on Medical Education, Public Health and Family Welfare

State

2006-07

2007-08
Revised Estimates

2008-09
Budget Estimates

Andhra Pradesh

4%

4%

4%

Arunachal Pradesh

na

na

na

Assam

na

na

na

Bihar

4%

4%

4%

Chhattisgarh

na

3%

4%

Goa

6%

7%

6%

Gujarat

3%

3%

3%

Haryana

3%

3%

3%

Himachal Pradesh

na

na

na

Jammu and Kashmir

na

na

na

Jharkhand

na

na

na

Karnataka

3%

4%

4%

Kerala

7%

8%

8%

Madhya Pradesh

4%

4%

4%

Maharashtra

4%

4%

4%

Manipur

na

na

na

Meghalaya

na

na

na

Mizoram

4%

4%

7%

Nagaland

na

na

na

Orissa

4%

na

na

Punjab

4%

4%

4%

Rajasthan

5%

5%

6%

Sikkim

2%

3%

3%

Tamil Nadu

4%

4%

5%

Tripura

3%

4%

4%

Uttarakhand

na

na

4%

Uttar Pradesh

na

na

na

West Bengal

6%

6%

6%

I intend to periodically update this table with additional data.

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