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15th FinComm to meet its high level group on health sector on Thursday

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New Delhi: The 15th Finance Commission will hold a virtual meeting with its high level group on health sector on Thursday to discuss requirement of increased resources and manpower in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.

The high level group (HLG) on health sector under AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria had in August 2019 submitted its final report to the 15th Finance Commission and some of its key recommendations were incorporated in the first report of the Commission for the year 2020-21.

The Commission has now decided to reconvene this HLG in the light of recent developments due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, an official statement said.

“The HLG has now been asked to review its original recommendations in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic. There is an immediate need to reassess the requirement of health manpower (medical and paramedical) and estimated requirement of resources for 2021-22 to 2025-26 in relation to the health infra-gap (hospital infrastructure, medical equipment, PPE, etc).

“Further, the mechanism to fund these requirements will need to be critically examined, including the enhanced role of the private sector,” the statement added.

Further, the composition of the HLG — which earlier included Dr Guleria, Dr Devi Shetty, Chairman, Narayana Health City; Dr Deelip Govind Mhaaisekar, Vice Chancellor, Maharashtra University of Health Science; Dr Naresh Trehan, Medanta City; Dr Bhabatosh Biswas, Prof & HoD of Cardio Thoracic Surgery, R G Kar Medical College and Prof K Srinath Reddy, President of Public Health Foundation of India — has been enhanced with the addition of Dr S K Sarin, Director, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, and Dr  Harsh Mahajan, Founder, Mahajan Imaging.

“At tomorrow’s meeting there will also be a presentation on modelling the path of the pandemic on epidemic behaviour by Prof Shamika Ravi, Director of Research at Brookings India,” the statement said.

Jayant Sinha, Member of Parliament and Chairperson of Parliamentary Committee on Finance, is also expected to participate along with the Chairman, Members & senior officials of the Finance Commission, it said.

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