Noted economist A K Shiva Kumar presents his case for Universal Health Care as a means of addressing health inequities in India and improving citizens’ access to quality health care.
India fares poorly on most health indicators compared to countries even within South Asia. For instance, the life expectancy at birth is lower in India than in Bangladesh and Nepal. This is despite the fact that the per capita income and growth rates over the past two decades have remained significantly higher in India than in the two countries. Similarly, levels of child under-nutrition in India (measured by the proportion of children under five who are underweight) are among the highest in the world. A closer examination of health indicators further reveals enormous inequalities within India – across states, between rural and urban areas and among different communities, with Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Muslims faring worse than the rest of the population.