New Delhi, Feb 23 (Calcutta Tube) In an open letter to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, 20 experts in their respective fields have demanded that the union budget allocate more funds for health this year.
The government should also make serious attempts to reduce child mortality, which is one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that have to be met by 2015, the letter added. The union budget will be presented Friday.
The letter has been signed by people like well-known actor Shabana Azmi, photographer Raghu Rai, filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani and wildlife conservationist Ravi Singh besides a host of civil activists.
‘Government spending on health stands at 1.1 percent of the GDP – one of the lowest in the world. If India is to deliver the promise on the MDGs, it must renew its commitment to stop children from dying needlessly. Simple low-cost interventions effectively delivered for those who need it the most can save lives,’ the letter said.
‘The government made a promise to increase the health budget to three percent. This needs to happen now. The 2010 budget must begin to reflect the government’s intent to reduce child and maternal mortality. At the same time, the government must ensure the efficient use of allocated funds in the states with the highest levels of child and maternal mortality,’ it added.
‘We ask the government to demonstrate the political will to stop this silent epidemic that is diminishing the country’s future,’ the letter further said.