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NEW DELHI : Pooling in a lot of funds and rolling out several initiatives for improving the healthcare landscape of the national capital was apparently a factor behind Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP’s) sweeping victory in the Delhi assembly elections.

From 2015 to 2020, states on an average spent 5.3% of their budget on healthcare. Delhi was the only exception, spending 13% on the sector, much more than many large states. “AAP has been impressive in health budget allocations when all other states lag," said Suryaprabha Sadasivan, vice-president and healthcare policy practice lead, Chase India, a research and public policy consulting firm.

The AAP government has generated considerable public attention on measures adopted to overhaul the national capital’s healthcare system, the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), an independent think tank, said in a research paper titled Decoding Aam Aadmi Party’s Health Card, published last week. “Its famed mohalla clinics model (neighbourhood health clinics), multi-specialty polyclinics, free medicines and surgeries for 30 life-threatening diseases, promise to quickly add 30,000 more beds in government hospitals, the novel concept of bike ambulances, among others, have received rave reviews," said Niranjan Sahoo, a governance and public policy expert at ORF and the author of the paper.

The health sector budget was increased from 3,300 crore in 2015-16 to 7,484 crore in 2019-20. In the run-up to the assembly elections in 2015, AAP had promised to fix Delhi’s ailing health system with more funds, strengthening health infrastructure, delivering health services to everyone. “It only reached halfway mark of setting up 1,000 mohalla clinics and 125 polyclinics, but still catered to more than 2 crore OPD patients and conducted 18 lakh tests till November 2019. This is commendable," said Sadasivan.

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