The Finance Ministry on Saturday said it has released Rs 8,453.92 crore as health sector grant for rural and urban local bodies of 19 states to strengthen health systems and plug critical gaps at the primary health care level.
The grant has been released as per the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission, which in its report for the period from 2021-22 to 2025-26 has recommended a total grant of Rs 4,27,911 crore to local governments.
"The 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," the Finance Ministry said in a release.
The Commission has 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.
While Rs 16,377 crore has been earmarked as support for diagnostic infrastructure to the primary healthcare facilities in rural areas, Rs 5,279 crore is for block level public health units (PHCs) in rural areas. Besides, Rs 15,105 crore has been earmarked for conversion of rural primary health centres and sub-centres into health and wellness centre, while Rs 7,167 crore is for construction of buildings of building-less sub-centres, PHCs, community health centres (CHCs) in rural areas.
Over Rs 24,000 crore has been earmarked for urban health and wellness centres, while Rs 2,095 crore will be provided as support for diagnostic infrastructure to the primary healthcare facilities in urban areas.
The health grant recommended to be released in the financial year 2021-22 is Rs 13,192 crore, which includes Rs 8,273 crore for rural local bodies and Rs 4,919 crore for urban local bodies.
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, the ministry said.
The highest amount of grant has been released for Bihar's local bodies at Rs 1,116 crore followed by Madhya Pradesh (Rs 922 crore) and West Bengal (Rs 828 crore).
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