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Nadda downplays budget cuts in health sector

He suggested that this was done by the Finance Ministry due to under-utilisation of funds by the concerned agencies

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Jagat Prakash Nadda
Jagat Prakash Nadda

The Government today sought to downplay reports of a massive cut in the in health sector saying that no flagship programmes of the Ministry will be affected.

Health Minister J P Nadda suggested that this was done by the Finance Ministry due to under-utilisation of funds by the concerned agencies, including the states.

"Suppose, we gave money to some project and the expenditure was only 0.9% of the fund given, then where will the rest of money go? I was given x amount...But if I have just reached half way, then during the last quarter, finance ministry takes care of all this.

"The Health Ministry is not at all affected. No projects, flagship programmes, programmes of giving equipments, medicines, infrastructure is suffering because of this," Nadda told reporters.

It was reported in a section of media that the government has ordered a cut of nearly 20% in its 2014-15 allocation for the health sector.

Stressing on the word utilisation rather than cuts, Nadda said that it was the states which had to spend the funds.

"In the last quarter, one level is marked. According to utilisation, assessment is done. What we will be spending in the expenditure in three months, that is also to be assessed. That takes place. The Ministry of Finance does that," the Minister said.

"Although the word cut might have other impacts, I would like to think in terms of that whether we are able to utilise it (funds) or not," he said.

"Frankly, no flagship programme is getting affected because of the cuts. There is no dearth of funds in any flagship and ongoing programmes which have been the area of less or more concerns. We have adequate funding for all concerns," he said.

When asked whether the losses will be compensated in the upcoming budget, Nadda said there were no losses and the sector will get funds that was required and the health ministry has to improve on optimum utilisation of funds.

Former Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had earlier said that any move towards slashing the budgetary allocation for the health sector will be shocking.

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First Published: Wed, January 14 2015. 18:24 IST