Friday, June 16, 2006


Pioneer: A lion's share for own TN, with love from Ramadoss

In India it seems to be an acceptable norm that a minister will usurp a big part of his budget to the state from which he/she comes from. Earlier we discussed the HRD example. This is an example from the health ministry.

I don't know why don't the ministers and the PM understand that the central ministers are ministers of the country. They are suppose to spend the budget equitably across the whole country. Not just allocate it to their constituency or their allies constituency. For that they are given MPLAD fund.

India must learn from the approach used in US. For example, when base closing across were decided the rules were adopted such that every state was treated fairly. Similarly most budget allocations in US is done using set formulas. (There is some special allocations, referred to as pork, but that is the exception rather than the norm.) In India it seems the norm is that the minister of XYZ truies to spend a big part of their budget in their
own or in their allies' constituencies. What is shocking is that even the PM
and the Finance minister are not above this. (See analysis in )


A lion's share for own TN, with love from Ramadoss

Yoga Rangatia | New Delhi

State gets funds for 8 hospitals, despite failing to reveal earlier accounts
---- Charged with nepotism in premier institutions, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss has flouted guidelines to favour his home State with Central funds.

In the last two years, Tamil Nadu walked away with one-third of the funds meant for upgradation of public hospitals across the country. Eager to route monetary aid to the State, the Health Ministry also put on hold its own guidelines to not to release fresh funds unless accounts of funds earlier released are not provided.

In the last two years, of the 30-odd hospitals across the country given one-time grant to purchase equipment and ambulances, eight are from Tamil Nadu. This is despite the fact that the State is yet to give an account for the funds released as early as 2004.

Public hospitals in Tamil Nadu received Rs 12 crore between 2004 and 2006 under a Centre-sponsored scheme. Rest of the States have to be content with about Rs 36 crore the Health Ministry granted them in the same period.

The Central funds are allocated to set up trauma care units and to procure surgical equipment, X-ray machines and ambulances. These aids are perceived as bounties as owing them hospitals award lucrative contracts to procure buy medical equipment and support construction work. Tamil Nadu has been favoured for fund disbursement even after it has failed to account for Rs 5.48 crore released since 2001. Utilisation certificates for money released to public hospitals in Perampur, Omalu, Villupuram and Chengalpattu are awaited since 2004. Those hospitals favoured by the Health Ministry are located in Thanjavur, Tambaram, Melur, Tensaki, Padmanabhapuram, Cuddalore, Namakka and Vellore.

In fact, a handful of major States received money in Dr Ramadoss' tenure. Besides Tamil Nadu (eight hospitals), other States that received Central assistance are Arunachal Pradesh (one hospitals), Andhra Pradesh (two hospitals), Gujarat (three hospitals), Haryana (two hospitals), Kerala (one hospital), Karnataka (one hospital), Madhya Pradesh (five hospitals), Nagaland (two hospitals), Pondicherry (two hospitals), Rajasthan (two hospitals) and Uttar Pradesh (two hospitals).

The Tenth Five Year Plan envisaged a trauma care centre for every 100 kilometres of the highways to bring down incidences of death due to accidents. Public hospital along the national highways with at least 100-bed capacity and staff for emergency care are eligible for the funds. A sanctioning committee headed by additional secretary screens the application from States on the basis of their existing infrastructure for emergency care, staff and past record on fund utilisation.

A one-time grant of Rs 150 lakh in each hospital for purchase of well-equipped ambulance, basic essential equipment required for accident and trauma services, communication system, and provide for infrastructure in control room, blood bank, examination room, intensive care unit and burn beds, operation theatre. The scheme envisaged preference for hospitals situated on the national highways, preferably at Golden Quadrilateral and East-West and North-South Corridors.

But when it comes to Union Health Ministry, all roads lead to Tamil Nadu. And funds follow.

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