Despite harping about Delhi government’s initiatives in public healthcare sector, the reality seems far from what is advertised. Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party government in national capital informed the state assembly on Monday that only 394 new beds are added in government hospitals between 2014-2015 and 2017-2018.
The reply was given by Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendar Jain to a question raised by BJP MLA O. P. Sharma. Jain said that there were 10,959 beds in Delhi’s government hospitals in 2014-15 and as per the annual report of 2018-19 of the health department, there were 11,353 beds in 2017-18. That means an increase of less than 400 beds.
Aam Aadmi Party’s 2015 Assembly election manifesto promised to increase total bed strength in Delhi hospitals to 40,000 and had even said that the strength would be doubled in first two years. In 2019-20 budget, the Delhi government had allocated Rs 7,485 crore (about 14% of the budget) to medical and public health.
Jain also informed the assembly that a total of 440 ventilators are available in Delhi hospitals, of which 10% are not working. Similar has been the fate of the ambitious Mohalla Clinics. AAP had promised 1,000 Mohalla Clinics, against which only 189 were opened as per a report in January this year. There, too, AAP had blamed the Narendra Modi led BJP government in Centre for the delay.
Mohalla Clinic has also been under scanner after the Vigilance Department received complaints that the Mohalla Clinics’ doctors were seeing a very high number of patients during their stipulated clinic hours, which was practically not possible. There were allegations that the doctors were making up false patients as their earning depended on the number of patients they treat.
Prior to that, Jain’s own daughter, was put in charge of heading these clinics, which sparked the row of nepotism. Following the outrage, she was asked to step down. There were also allegations that the Mohalla Clinics were employing unqualified staff for treating patients and dispensing medicines.
The Delhi state assembly elections are expected to be held early next year.