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

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Receding Goals in Health

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There is no gainsaying that our health status is intimately linked to the condition of our lives and the livelihoods that we pursue. And this is even more true as you go down the scale of economic categories. Common sense would dictate that it is at these levels condition of living and livelihoods that any intervention to improve health status would have the most permanent effect. However, over the decades it has been pointed out repeatedly that that road to health is a long-term one and, in the immediate future, what is needed is good accessible, affordable medicare and disease prevention and control. If these are effective, it is argued, then the upscaling of the condition and quality of peoples lives would become that much easier. That long road to health, however, seems to be growing longer and more difficult to traverse each year.

In the last few years there has been much focus on the fact that the wide-ranging changes in the economy will inevitably affect some sections of society in the interim. This much even the World Bank acknowledges. The solution has been to create social safety nets which would prop these sections until presumably the outcomes of the new economic programmes filter down. This it has been envisaged would mean that the state, even as it pulls out of certain sectors, will enhance its investment in these areas, creating resources and security measures for the possible victims of change. This too the World Bank has prescribed. These new demands should, one imagines, be reflected in the budgetary allocations of the central government, giving a sense of direction to the states. Finance minister Yashwant Sinha, however, seems to have missed the point.

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