Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 3
At current health budgets, India will miss the family planning goal it pledged it will reach at FP2020, the global partnership for protection of reproductive rights of women and girls.
The country needs to significantly raise its budget for family planning to meet the FP2020 pledge of covering 48 million new users by that year. A new study by the Population Foundation of India (PFI), which works on development issues, shows that India needs to spend about Rs 15,800 crore from 2013 to 2020 to meet the commitment.
“Any gaps would cost the country dearly in terms of high maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, and poor child health resulting from badly spaced pregnancies,” PFI says. India has the highest global burden of neonatal mortality contributing 20 per cent of deaths annually.
Eight Empowered Action Group states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand as well as Assam and Himachal Pradesh need more focus, the study says.
It notes that family planning, almost fully funded by the Centre, has received very little attention as compared to other health programmes. Family welfare, which includes the budget for family planning, constituted only 4 per cent of the 2014-15 Health and Family Welfare budget.
Family planning components in this budget include central procurement of contraceptives, the funding of social marketing projects, national-level communication activities and premium for Family Planning Insurance (for compensation against contraceptive failures). These constituted approximately 25 per cent of the total family welfare budget of the Centre in 2014-15. The share for family planning within the larger family welfare budget has been reduced to around 10-15 per cent.
PFI Executive Director Poonam Muttreja says: “The Centre funds family planning in states through two channels – Family Welfare budget head and the National Health Mission (NHM). Though the allocation for family planning increased by 47 per cent from 2013-14 to 2015-16 under NHM, it still fell short of the required amount.”
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