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

A+| A| A-

International Advisers to the Bhore Committee

Perceptions and Visions for Healthcare

The Bhore Committee constituted by the colonial government in 1943 to address the needs of healthcare in India was assisted a year later by a group of international advisers. These advisers, coming from an eclectic and divergent background, shared the view that universal and free access to medical care was imperative and that this was an essential political right of the people of India.

Support by a grant from the Wellcome Trust “096493/Z/11/Z -Turning the Pages” is acknowledged.

Western cosmopolitan medicine became a part of medical services of India from the early 19th century but its reach expanded sluggishly. While the benefits from investments in healthcare in Britain were evident, the lack of investments in India had obvious consequences. Life expectancy in India was 15 years, lower than in the United Kingdom (UK) in 1871 and the gap increased further to 40 years by 1951.1 The slow and irregular transfer of healthcare technology and lack of policy in India was often commented upon.2 A series of exposures of the shoddy nature of social progress and healthcare in India3 – various small pox and plague commissions – gave rise to some strident debates in the legislative assembly.4

One of these debates, between S Satyamurti and G S Bajpai, for example, on what the responsibilities of the central government vis-à-vis local governments were, ended with Satyamurti acerbically noting that government policy seemed to be “to do nothing” for improving healthcare.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here


To gain instant access to this article (download).

INR 59

(Readers in India)

$ 6

(Readers outside India)

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.