ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Rishabh Malhotra

Health Checkup

The findings of a recent survey of public health centres in five north Indian states (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan) are presented, in light of earlier surveys in the same areas from 2002 onwards. Contrary to a common narrative whereby public health services in India have “collapsed,” there is a general pattern of improving quality and utilisation over time. The pace of improvement, however, is far from adequate. The recent conversion of many health centres into health and wellness centres, in particular, has been largely cosmetic so far. In states like Bihar and Jharkhand, the standards of healthcare in public facilities remain abysmal. Hope lies in the experiences of states that have shown how decent standards of healthcare can be achieved in the public sector, notably Himachal Pradesh. Even in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, there have been valuable initiatives in recent years.

Pension Tension

The Jharkhand government has made Aadhaar mandatory for social security pensions. It is claimed that this has resulted in the deletion of three lakh “fake” pensioners in 2016–17. A recent household survey in Khunti town, however, reveals that fakes and duplicates make up only a fraction of the deleted pensioners, and a very small proportion of all pensions. Instead, many genuine pensioners have been excluded
in the process.