Non-availability of funds ‘halt’ NRHM activities in JK

SRINAGAR: The operations of the government of India sponsored scheme, National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), have almost come to a grinding halt due to non-availability funds for the past eight months.
The scheme was introduced in the state in 2005 and was aimed at improving the healthcare system. Like other states, thousands of doctors and other employees were appointed under the scheme here.
However, sources said, due to the stoppage of funds by the GoI, all the activities of the scheme have come to a complete halt from past eight months. “Under Janani Shishu Yojna, which is the core component of the scheme, incentive of 1400 rupees is supposed to be provided to every pregnant woman who prefers institutional delivery. But from last eight months, no incentive has been issued to these women,” they said
The ASHA workers, appointed under the scheme to encourage institutional deliveries, said that too were without the monthly remuneration from past several months. “Besides, no funds are available for the drugs, diet, transportation and other facilities supposed to be provided free to the expecting women and sick newborns,” an official of the health department said.
He said that the liabilities worth crores of rupees have accrued due to the halt of funds by GoI. “We have the liabilities of over Rs 1.50 crore. The distributors of pharma companies and other surgical equipments now refuse to supply more as their bills remain pending from months together,” the official added.
Moreover, the doctors and other paramedics, appointed under the scheme, too are without salaries from past four months. “How can you expect the health care system to improve when doctors and paramedics, working in the remotest areas of the state, remain unpaid for months?” questioned an NRHM doctor posted at a health centre in Kupwara district.
“One fails to understand which health mission the GoI is talking about when all the healthcare related activities have stopped,” he added.
State director, NRHM, Dr Yashpal Sharma said that incentives to mothers and salaries of the doctors and other employees were pending from only four months. “The bills of suppliers too are pending from two or three months only. We have cleared the funds for all components of the scheme till March. And in next one week, the GoI is expected to release more funds,” Sharma told Kashmir Reader.
He further said that they have authorized the management of the hospitals to utilise the Hospital Development Fund (HDF) for carrying out different activities under the scheme till the funds are released.