The Centre has released health sector grant worth Rs 8,453.92 crore to the local bodies of 19 states.
These grants have been released as per the recommendations of the Fifteenth Finance Commission.
The Fifteenth Finance Commission (FC-XV) in its report for 2021-22 to 2025-26 has recommended a total grant of Rs 427,911 crore to the local governments.
Notably, these grants recommended by the commission inter-alia include health grants of Rs 70,051 crore.
Out of this amount, Rs 43,928 crore have been recommended for rural local bodies and Rs 26,123 crore for urban local bodies.
“These grants are meant to strengthen health systems and plug the critical gaps in the healthcare system at the primary level,” the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.
“The commission has also identified interventions that will directly lead to strengthening the primary health infrastructure and facilities in both rural and urban areas and has earmarked grants for each intervention,” it added.
According to the ministry, health grants recommended to be released in the financial year 2021-22 is Rs 13,192 crore.
This includes Rs 8,273 crore for rural and Rs 4,919 crore for urban local bodies.
“Rural and urban local bodies can play a key role in the delivery of primary healthcare services, especially at the ‘cutting edge’ level and help achieve the objective of Universal Healthcare,” the statement said.
“Strengthening the local governments in terms of resources, health infrastructure and capacity building can enable them to play a catalytic role in epidemics and pandemics too,” it added.
The ministry also said that health grants to the remaining nine states will be released after the proposals are received from the respective states through the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.