Chapter 2

State Government


In a democracy, people expect the government to work for the welfare. This could be through the provision of education, health, employment, housing or the development of roads, electricity, etc.

What is health?

Health means ability to remain free of illness and injuries. Apart from this is there are various factors that affects our health.For example, if people got clean drinking water or a pollution free environment, they are likely to be healthy.

Healthcare in India

India has a large number of doctors, clinics and hospitals. The country also has considerable experience and knowledge in running a public healthcare system. This is the system of hospitals and healthcare centres run by the government. It has the ability to look after the health of a large section of its population scattered over hundreds of thousands of villages. There has been a phenomenal advancement in medical sciences whereby many new technologies and treatment procedures are available in the country. With even all the positive developments, we are not able to provide proper healthcare facilities to people. This is the paradox- something that is contrary to what we would expect. Our country has the money, knowledge, and people with experience, but cannot make the necessary healthcare available to all.

In India, it is often said that we are unable to provide health services for all because the government does not have enough money and facilities. Let us find some aspects of the healthcare in India. 

  • India has the largest number of medical colleges in the world and is among the largest producers of doctors, approximately more than 30,000 new doctors qualify every year. Most doctor settle in urban areas. People in rural areas have to travel long distances to reach a doctor. The number of doctors with respect to the population is much less in rural areas.
  • Healthcare facilities have grown substantially over the years. In 1950, there are only 2,717 government hospitals in India. In 1991, there was 11,174 hospitals. In 2017, the number grew to 23,583.
  • India gets a large number of medical tourists from many countries. They came for treatment in some of the hospitals in India that compare with the best in the world. India is the 3rd largest producer of medicines in the world and is also a large exporter of medicines.
  • About 5,00,000 people die from TB every year, this number is almost unchanged since the independence. Aalmost two million cases of malaria reported every year and this number isn't decreasing.
  • We are not able to provide clean drinking water to all.  21% of all communicable diseases are water borne. For example, diarrhoea, worms, hepatitis, etc.
  • Half of all children in India do not get adequate food to eat and are undernourished.

Healthcare facilities are divided into 2 categories:

  • Public health services
  • Private health services

Public health services

The public health service is a chain of health centers and hospitals run by the government. They are linked together so that they cover both rural and urban areas and can also provide treatment to all kinds of problems, from common illness to special services. At the village level, there are health centres where there is usually a nurse and a village health worker.

They are trained in dealing with common illness and work under the supervision of doctors at the Primary Health Centre(PHC). Such a centre covers many villages in rural areas. At the district level is the District Hospital that also supervises all the health centres. The Public health service is meant to provide quality health care services either free or at a low cost, so that even the poor can seek treatment. Another important function of public health is to take action to prevent the spread of diseases such as TB, malaria, jaundice, cholera, diarrhea, chikungunya, etc. This has to be organised by the government with the participation of people, otherwise it is not effective.

According to our Constitution, it is the primary duty of the government to ensure the welfare of the people and provide healthcare facilities to all. The government must safeguard the right to life of every person.

Why pay taxes to the government?

Government uses tax money for providing many public services for the benefit of all citizens. Some services, such as defence, police, judicial system, highways etc, benefits all citizens. Otherwise, the citizens cannot organise these services for themselves. Taxes fund developmental programs and services such as education, healthcare, employment, social welfare, vocational training, etc. required for needy citizens. Tax money is utilised for relief and rehabilitation in case of natural disasters such as floods, earthquake, tsunami, etc. Space, nuclear and missile programs are also funded from the revenues collected as taxes. Government provides some services specially for the poor who cannot afford to purchase them from the market. One example is healthcare.

Private health services

There are a wide range of private healthcare facilities that exist in our country. A large number of doctors run their own private clinics. In the rural areas, one find Registered Medical Practitioners (RMPs). There are hospitals and nursing homes that are privately owned. There are many laboratories they do test and offer special facilities such as X ray, ultrasound, etc. They also shops where we can buy medicines. Health facilities are not owned or controlled by the government. In private facilities, patients have to pay a lot of money for every service that they use. Today, the presence of private facilities can be seen all around. Now there are large companiesthat run hospitals and some are engaged in manufacturing and selling medicines. Medical shops are found in every corner of the country.

Related Topic Name