Budget has come and gone! But there seems to be a pattern. Education and health are nobody’s priority. Most of the Budget is on farm loan waivers and farmer-friendly programmes. So, what about education, medical and public health?
Larger investment in education and health is a pre-requisite for harnessing the benefits of a rapidly increasing young workforce for gainful and productive allocation of human capital. There is no additional allocation for higher education. Expense on education has been falling from 17.7% in 2001 to 14% in 2019. The government’s resources are spent on vote bank schemes.
Next generation learning system and technology assisted learning will start in Bangalore Central University. Availability of higher level of Internet for higher education is planned. New technological university to come up in Hassan. Well-equipped language skill training centres at `2 crore. 10 days’ training to 1 lakh teachers under ‘Guruchethana’ is a great programme.
The Education Development Index (EDI) of the state was 0.661 and stood fifth, a downfall from a much higher EDI in previous years. This fall in education should have called for more allocation, but as seen is one of the least in last five years.
The dropout rate of students in government schools is increasing. Bad infrastructure and other facilities plague these schools. 176 public schools will start in 2019-20 while 1,200 schools and colleges will be upgraded. 3,389 teachers will be appointed. Vocational training for pre-university students is planned at Rs 2 crore.Hostels are being planned for SC-ST category students.
Expenditure on health and medical sectors has been grossly reduced. The health allocation is just 3.20 percent of the Budget. In 2016-17, 4.1 percent of Budget was allocated for the sector. Karnataka is one of the first Indian states to put a state health policy in place in 2004. It is a pioneer in government-supported health insurance schemes, with Yashaswini and Vajpayee Aarogyasri among the first initiatives in India.
Rs5 crore has been earmarked for control and treatment of monkey fever. A new fillip has been given to cancer treatment in starting two Rs100 crore 400-bedded hospitals in Hubli and Gulbarga. A new unit of Jayadeva Heart Institute is planned at Rs 100 crore. Vijayapura will get a Rs 40-crore hospital
But the Budget continues to ignore taluk hospitals that provide secondary care, particularly maternal and child-care services.
A cursory look at the allocations made for the sector forces one to forsee that the state’s health sector is moving towards privatisation....