The Union Health Ministry has come to the rescue of Centrally funded autonomous medical institutions, which were asked by the Union Finance Ministry to generate 30% of the additional costs incurred on implementing the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations. It has submitted 13 proposals to the Finance Ministry seeking relaxation of the condition.
This was after most medical institutions expressed their inability to meet the condition without passing on the additional burden to patients and students.
Faggan Singh Kulaste, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, said in a written reply to an unstarred question in the Rajya Sabha on April 11 that it was not mandatory for the institutions to meet the condition. “Therefore, the [Health] Ministry has submitted 13 proposals so far to the Finance Ministry for relaxation,” he stated.
Impact on hospitals
The Finance Ministry circular dated January 13 to centrally funded autonomous institutions had left them wondering how they could meet the added costs without passing on the burden to the patients.
The Hindu reported the issue on March 21, pointing out many institutions had written to the Finance Ministry’s Department of Expenditure explaining the difficulty.
If implemented, the circular will impact nearly 600 autonomous bodies in the country, including major hospitals such as the All-India Institute of Medical Science, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, and the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences.
Apart from these, around 200 commodity bodies outside the purview of the Health Ministry, and an equal number of research organisations and educational institutions including Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas, will also be affected.
The worst affected will be hospitals, which will inevitably have to increase patient charges.
Sources in the Health Ministry said it is not just the healthcare institutions that have expressed their inability to meet the condition.
“A similar request has been made by the autonomous educational institutions as well, and the Finance Ministry is examining it case by case,” a senior official said.
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