Healthcare System in India & National Health Policy

Healthcare System in India

“Lancet Report on healthcare – India is the poorest performer in BRICS nations” 

Challenges faced by Indian Healthcare System 

  • A weak primary health care sector + care provided in these facilities is also not up to the mark.
  • Unequally distributed skilled human resources & shortfall of specialists across country
  • Services inequitably distributed – Urban areas command 73% of the public hospital beds, even when 69% of India’s population resides in rural areas
  • Large unregulated private sector – Private practitioners have become first point of contact in both rural & urban areas – concern lies with Unethical and irrational practices widespread among private hospitals
  • Low public spending on health – Public health expenditure as a proportion of GDP remains low i.e. 1.15 %
  • Fragmented health information systems – weak systems for collecting data + non-inclusion of the private sector in data gathering
  • Poor Health Cover & high out of pocket expenditure – 80 % no health insurance
  • Weak governance and accountability owing to corruption in health care


There is a greater need of radical restructuring of the healthcare system in India to address challenges including weak primary healthcare and dismally low public spending on health – to assure health for all Indians by 2022. India needs to adopt an integrated national health-care system built around a strong public primary care system with a clearly articulated supportive role for the private and indigenous sectors.

National Health Policy, 2017

  • Strengthening role of public sector by increasing public health spending to 5% of GDP by 2025 from current 1.15%
  • Recognizes need for state intervention to control NCDs as they are reason for more than 60% death in India
  • Collaborating & regulating the private sector as over 2/3rd of services are provided by it
  • Seeks to invest in preventive healthcare viz.
  • early screening and diagnosis have been made a public responsibility
  • advocates 2/3rd or more allocation of health budget for Primary Health Care
  • Affordable quality healthcare for all 

National Health Policy

  • Intersectoral approach involving various ministries
  • Prioritizes addressing primary health care needs of urban population with special focus on poors
  • Mainstreaming AYUSH systems inline with allopathic professionals


  • It leaves too much to the states on maintaining standards
  • Would require more human resources and funds
  • Health care target spending still Much lower than even other developing countries’ spending on health
  • It does not speak about social determinants of health
  • Various progressive measures under Draft NHP 2015 such as Right to Health and imposing health cess have been ignored


Thus, to achieve SDG on health, i.e., health and well-being to all by 2030, there would be need for greater and stronger Centre-state coordination and commitment for effective implementation.

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