Health Policy

Amartya Sen suggests expanding healthcare delivery

Nobel Laureate, Amartya Sen, delivering a public lecture on “Inequality and Public Services” at Delhi University, said: “There should be an expansion of constructive activity in public services and public infrastructure that can go hand in hand with the reduction of poverty-stricken people in India.” And that, “the process of rapid economic growth may not be adequate on its own, but it does generate public revenue that should be used to expand elementary primary education and healthcare services in the country.” The lecture series is being held to commemorate the birth centenary year of V.K.R.V. Rao, former Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University and founder of the Delhi School of Economics. He said a major challenge facing the country was improving the efficiency of the public delivery system. There was an urgent need for reforms in the public services in terms of efficiency and equity and there should be “more cooperative social systems.” “Schools and health services are needed for more equitable economic growth. We must think innovatively. For instance, we should give different unions a larger role in social and economic progress instead of simply endorsing their narrow priorities,” he added. Proffessor Sen lauded the vision of his “friend and former colleague at DSE” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “There were two principal problems at that time. First, there was government over-activity in areas where it could do little and, second, there was government under-activity in areas of public goods and services like education and public health care, where it could have done a lot more but did not. We need a better system of accountability. The reforms in the 1990s addressed the first problem but neglected the other.”

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