Saturday, June 19, 2010

[ZESTCaste] Mayawati scraps PPP in rural healthcare

Mayawati scraps PPP in rural healthcare
Deepa Jainani
Posted online: 2010-06-19 01:44:57+05:30

LucknowThe Uttar Pradesh government has called off plans to involve
major hospital chains, including Apollo Hospitals, Fortis Heathcare,
Max Healthcare and Rockland, to revive its district-level health

The state government announced the termination on Thursday. The
decision was conveyed in a press release by the state information
department. Chief minister Mayawati said it has been decided that
government hospitals would not be handed over to the private sector.
Instead, she has directed department heads to ensure better
functioning and strengthening of these hospitals.

The government's initiative to hand over the district-level public
healthcare service infrastructure to the private sector was envisioned
under the public-private partnership model.

While no reason was given for the rollback of the decision — which had
promised to provide a cutting-edge, integrated healthcare delivery
system with international standard benchmarking and patient-centric
approach right up to the village level — it is being seen as a
regressive step.

It is felt that besides making the government appear apologetic, it
will also impact all other PPP projects lined up by the state
government. The state had planned to transfer operations of four
district hospitals, eight community centres, 23 primary health centres
and 210 sub-centres in the four districts of Allahabad, Ferozabad,
Basti and Kanpur Nagar to the private sector. The prospect of managing
healthcare in the hinterland appealed so much to the private sector
that all the big names in private healthcare turned up at the three
pre-bid meetings and submitted requests for proposals.

Experts tracking PPP initiatives feel that with this single decision,
the government has undone all the good work it has done on the PPP
front in various sectors in the last three years. "Investors had shown
interest in many of the state's projects after years of persuasive
efforts to wean off the anti-industry tag and by offering loads of
incentives. They will again feel let down by this order and will
dither in putting money into the state," said the member of a leading
industry chamber.

An official of the state medical and healthcare department said: "This
would not only question the credibility of the state government on its
own policies, but would also take the wind out of all efforts which
have been put into other projects so far."

This is, however, not the first time the state government has
developed cold feet after announcing a radical policy. Earlier, the
government had rolled back its path-breaking agricultural policy –
which threw open the farm sector to the private sector and introduced
contract farming in 2007 – retracted the highly commendable and
transparent e-procurement policy in 2010 and ordered the closure of
Reliance Fresh stores barely 24 hours after they were opened in 2007.
In fact, the decision on Reliance Fresh stores resulted in Mukesh
Ambani shelving plans to invest about Rs 10,000 crore in the state.


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