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Parliamentary panel expresses disappointment on slow operationalisation of Ayush HWCs

Gireesh Babu, New Delhi
Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Efforts from the Ministry of Ayush to set up the Ayush Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) across the country in tune with the approvals it has given in the last two financial years is inadequate, according to a Parliamentary Panel report.

The Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare, looking into the action taken by the Ministry of Ayush on its earlier recommendations on the Demands for Grants 2021-22, expressed its concern that only 835 Ayush HWCs against the target of 4,436 centres could be made functional in 12 states, “which indicates the inadequacy of steps taken by the Ministry.”

The Ministry has approved 4,436 Ayush HWCs during 2019-20 and 2020-21 for 32 states and Union Territories. However, the Committee expressed its displeasure and concern over the pace at which these projects are being implemented. In its previous meeting, it has also recommended that after approval of the HWC units, there must be a foolproof process to ensure their completion within a specified time and adequate funds should be allocated for the same with a proactive role played by the Ministry.

In its response to this recommendation, the Ministry in the middle of 2021, informed the Committee that it is continuously reviewing the status of HWC operationalisation and taking various steps to make HWCs functional. It has sent letters to the Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary and Ayush department of all States and Union Territories for giving focused attention on implementation of the programme and achieving the target as per timelines fixed.

According to the data submitted by the Ministry to the Committee, Haryana has the highest number of 320 Ayush HWCs functional, followed by Himachal Pradesh (143), Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh (100), and Jammu and Kashmir (80).

“The Committee expresses its concern that only 835 Ayush HWCs against the target of 4,436 HWCs could be made functional in 12 states which indicates the inadequacy of steps taken by the Ministry. The Committee is utterly disappointed to note such tardy progress in operationalisation of HWCs,” said the Committee headed by Member of Parliament Prof. Ram Gopal Yadav in a latest report in December.

“The Committee underlines the need of a streamlined procedure to ensure the completion of setting up of Ayush HWCs within a specified time with adequate manpower and infrastructure and provision of operational cost,” it added.

The Committee also recommended the Ministry to engage the remaining States/UTs which have not yet started the process of making Ayush HWCs functional so that equitable distribution of Ayush HWCs, keeping in view the geographical extent and population of States/UTs, is assured.

The Committee was also informed earlier that a target of 3,100 units of Health and Wellness Centres has been fixed for the year 2021-22. The Committee is of the view that the Ministry need to make demarcation in physical targets with respect to approval of HWCs and targets for operationalisation of HWCs as merely approving HWCs units would not serve any purpose.

The Ministry explained that the targets of operationalisation were fixed in consultation with the States and Union Territories and as per the phasing out plan of HWCs duly approved by the Cabinet funds for upcoming year will be released to the States and Union Territories based on functional status of operationalisation of HWCs approved in the previous year.

The Committee, in response to the explanation, said that it is not convinced with the response and justification given by the Ministry on the mismatch between the target of setting up of Ayush HWCs and actual operationalisation during a stipulated time frame.

The Committee, in this connection, reiterates its earlier recommendation that a demarcation in physical targets with respect to approval of HWCs and targets for its operationalisation needs to be clearly spelt out.

“The Committee recommends that a realistic timeline must be determined to make HWCs functional with requisite infrastructure and human resources. The Committee, therefore, strongly recommends that the Ministry should work in tandem with states/UTs Governments on the operationalisation of all the approved HWCs. The Committee believes that proper monitoring and field visits will be of immense help in expediting the operationalisation process of HWCs,” it added.

 

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