New Delhi, March 21
A parliamentary committee has observed that the public investment in health research in India is still grossly insufficient.
Limited budgetary allocation for research in health is a major reason behind the slow progress in the field of medical research, the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare said in its report tabled in Lok Sabha on Monday.
Citing the covid experience and emerging challenges, it stressed that the budgetary allocation to the Department of Health Research should be increased to at least 5 per cent of the total health budget and to 0.1 per cent of the GDP till 2025-26.
Even though the budgetary allocation to ICMR, the country's premier medical research institution, has witnessed a gradual increase over the past four financial years, it is not commensurate with the constantly expanding mandate, the panel stated.
The panel in its report noted that the covid pandemic has highlighted the importance of investing in an integrated regional, state and national-level research infrastructure to protect the health of a nation.
"The committee notes that most of the budget allocated for research in India is generally allocated to domains like atomic research, defence research and space research and as a result India has done remarkably well in these sectors. Hhowever, the most basic but most important sector, ie, research in health, has often being under-funded," the report said.
For instance, both CSIR and ICMR were established in the 1940s, but today CSIR has grown exponentially with almost the double budgetary allocation of ICMR.
Highlighting that public investment in health research is still grossly insufficient, the committee, therefore, recommended that there should be significant funding to develop and strengthen the health research infrastructure and invigorate the zeal for medical research in a diverse and vast country like India.
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