New Delhi, Feb 15 (PTI) The Union Health Ministry today said it has set itself “tough” targets to bring further down Infant Mortality and Maternal Mortality rates, the pace of reduction of which is already faster than the global rate.

Noting that there is a “sizable increase” in health budget this time, Union Health Minister J P Nadda said for the first time, the ministry has made tackling diseases like kalazar, measles and others “target oriented”.

“For the first time in the budget, we have made tackling diseases target oriented. We have committed ourselves to making the department result, target and outcome oriented. We are confident that flow of funds to fulfil the targets will be continuous. We are not only talking about this year but till 2020-2025,” he said.

“As far as mother and child health is concerned, I have spoken earlier that our (India’s) pace of reduction of IMR, MMR and Total Fertility Rate (TFR) are faster than the world pace. We are quite satisfied.

“They are very encouraging results. Now we have set up tough targets within ourselves (ministry). Under it, for IMR, till 2019, we will reduce it from 37 to 28. For MMR till 2020, we have set a target of reducing it from 167 to 100,” the minister said.

Noting that stress has been given on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), Nadda said universal screening for hypertension, diabetes, cervical, breast and oral cancers will be started in 100 districts of the country this year.

Noting that the biggest commitment in the budget is to convert 1.5 lakh sub-centres into wellness centres, he said through this, the ministry will enhance the capacity of these centres which were earlier mainly focussed on immunisation.

“There has been a sizable increase of Rs 10,290 crore in the health budget (from last year). From Rs 37,061 crore it has gone to 47,352 crore this year which is a jump of 27.77 per cent,” he said.

When the NDA government took over, there were claims that the health budget has been slashed, but this year, people are talking about enhancement of the budget, he said, adding a trust has been built that the health ministry can spend and provide outcomes.

“There was a style of functioning where previous government used to present a budget and then slash it. After its came into the news, it was slashed,” Nadda alleged. (MORE)

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.