New Delhi: The Planning Commission and the Union health ministry are at odds over how the proposed national health mission should be implemented, and who should be in charge, said two officials familiar with the situation.
The plan panel’s recommendation to allocate funds to the scheme under a so-called additional central assistance (ACA) mode has irked health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, as has its proposal for a unified health mission instead of separate urban and rural missions, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has given the health minister and Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, a week to iron out their differences over the recommendations made in the health chapter of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17), said the officials, one of whom is from the health ministry and the other from the Plan Panel.
As a compromise, the Planning Commission may back out of implementing the health scheme if the ministry drops its demand for separate rural and urban missions, said the officials.
The health chapter of the plan document states that “the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National Health Mission will be implemented in the 12th Plan in an ACA mode.”
“This essentially means that (the) Central government will release funds to states annually,” said the official in the health ministry.
Besides, “the health ministry wants to be accountable for the implementation of the health scheme. The role of ACA has to be resolved—reduced or even neutralized—and mechanisms need to be evolved establishing that ministry should be the implementer.”
The official said he expects the issue to be sorted out within the week. The Planning Commission’s recommendations state that the ACA mode “will entail reflection of State specific allocations at the beginning of the year in the Union Budget, inclusion of the central allotments in State plans, transfer of funds through the Consolidated Fund and treasury route, and release of funds in two instalments based on audited report and not just on Utilization certificate.”