India’s health budget spend fourth lowest globally: Oxfam report

India, Nepal and Sri Lanka in the bottom 10 on Government spend on public services

According to Oxfam’s 2020 Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) Index, India spent just four per cent of its budget on health going into the pandemic, the fourth lowest in the world, with the country ranked 129 out of 158 countries.

Just 26 of the 158 countries surveyed for this year’s CRI Index by Oxfam and Development Finance International (DFI) were spending the recommended 15 per cent of their budgets on health pre-pandemic. In 103 countries, at least one in three of the workforce had no labour protection such as sick pay. Only 53 countries had social protection systems against unemployment and sickness, and they covered only 22 per cent of the global workforce.

The third edition of the CRI Index, which ranks 158 governments across the world on their commitment to reducing inequality, also highlights that in India, just half of its population have access to even the most essential health services, and more than 70 per cent of health spending is being met by people themselves, one of the highest levels in the world.

The CRI also tracks government’s spending on public services, which looks at actions taken by governments in the areas of education, health and social protection. At the bottom of the public services pillar ranking, South Asian countries in particular are doing far too little to fight inequality. India, Nepal and Sri Lanka are all in the bottom 10, and Bangladesh is 16th from the bottom of Oxfam’s CRI 2020 list.

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