The fundamental problem with most, if not all of the major schemes under the BJP regime has been a lack of implementation and not lack of funds as majority of the schemes show a major underutilisation of funds allocated under the scheme. Now while the tax payers haven’t stopped paying their taxes, the government certainly seems to have stopped doing their bit i.e. the optimal utilisation of the revenues.
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On one side, the country continues to struggle with a health crisis and on the other, the National Health Mission (NHM) funds that remain unspent have increased to 29% as per the recent audit of the CAG. Delayed funds and misallocation was quoted as the primary reason for underutilisation of funds.
For a country that spends a meager 1.4% of its GDP on health and ranks below nations like Bangladesh, sub-Saharan Sudan and Equatorial Guinea on healthcare access – gross mismanagement of funds as high as 29% of its National Health Mission is nothing short of a horror story.
Delayed and Misallocated:
Some of the major points of worry from the CAG audit are –
· The total amount that remained unspent by state health societies reached new heights of Rs 9,509 crore ($1.43 billion) in the years of 2015-16.
· State treasury departments have delayed the transfer of close to Rs 5,037 crore and Rs 4,016 crore released in 2014-15 and 2015-16 to state health societies. The transfer that is ideally supposed to take 15 days took between 50 to 271 days.
· In six states — Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Telangana and Tripura - Rs 36 crore was diverted away from the NHM to other schemes.
Short on Allocation and Utilisation:
Eighteen states found their allocated funds 36% short of requirements. What's worse is that, against the ailing allocations, the states couldn’t even manage to effectively utilise the given amount and spent no more than 32% of what little was allocated in the first place.
“There are a number of reasons for unspent funds, ranging from the lack of human resources to complicated procedures for procurement in construction-related activities,” said Avani Kapur, fellow at the Centre for Policy Research and Director of the Accountability Initiative. “Another key factor is the uncertainty in the timing and amount of funds received under the scheme. There is often a mismatch in the what the state/district administration demands and what is actually approved and received.”
Poor data management, failure to penalise defaulting states and a sheer mismatch in the timely allocation of funds; these have been the hallmark characteristics of the state of policy paralysis that the nation currently finds itself under the BJP regime. For a regime that exaggerates on various schemes which have failed to meet their objectives, how does BJP intend on explaining the inefficiency of the government to effectively utilise the funds - which are already low. The advertisements continue to grow while schemes continue to fail.