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

A+| A| A-

National Health Policy, 2017

Revealing Public Health Chicanery

The National Health Policy, 2017 reflects the perfunctory attitude towards public health, so deeply entrenched among the mandarins of the health ministry. The policy paves the way for the contraction of public healthcare systems, thereby reducing the government’s involvement in the delivery of health services, and facilitates the dominance of the private sector in curative care. However, in the absence of a robust public healthcare system, the goal of achieving “healthcare for all” becomes even more onerous.


After a long hiatus, perhaps contemplative, the government finally came out with the National Health Policy (NHP), 2017 (MoHFW 2017a). Since the policy document has been finalised after almost two years, one hoped for changes being incorporated in the health policy in light of the debate around the Draft National Health Policy (DNHP), 2015 document. In an earlier article published in this journal, this author along with others had analysed this draft document (Rao et al 2015). However, concerns raised in this critique have remained unaddressed in the 2017 policy document. There can be little satisfaction in stating that the basic premises of our critique not only remain valid but seem to have been further strengthened by some baleful changes that have been strategically deployed in the NHP, 2017. It is immensely important that we absorb the import of these changes to calibrate our response to the new health policy; however, we shall begin by mentioning the points where credit is due to the policymakers. Additionally, the arguments made in the earlier critique (Rao et al 2015) shall not be revisited, except to facilitate the argument being made here.

Giving Credit Where It Is Due

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)

Published On : 13th Jul, 2018

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.