IMA demands allocation of 5% of GDP to the health budget Says only a quantum increase in allocations can secure the future of quality healthcare in the country New Delhi, 25 May 2017: In what can be called as one of the demands leading up to IMA's Dilli Chalo movement to be organized on 6th June 2017, the IMA has urged the government to consider allocating 5% of the GDP to the health budget. The Dilli Chalo movement is being organized to bring forth the atrocities faced by the medical fraternity with the IMA members joining the movement in entirety. The march will be undertaken by over a lakh doctors in the country, both digitally and physically, and followed by deliberations on issues ailing the medical profession. IMA is undertaking intensive lobbying in the month of May to raise national awareness on issues plaguing the medical fraternity, one of them being the lack of adequate funds for healthcare. The healthcare sector in India still suffers from underfunding and bad governance. According to statistics, India ranks among those countries with lowest spending on public health. Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, said," At 1.3% of GDP, the health sector in India continues to be among the countries with lowest relative public expenditure on healthcare. Surprisingly, even the figures for Nepal are higher! Every Indian citizen has the right to receive affordable or free preventive and emergency health care. If the government cannot provide this, then it should at least ensure its availability through the private sector, and reimburse the same. However, all this is not possible without increasing the health budget to 5% of GDP. At present, the government is looking after only 20% of population in the government sector for which 1% of budget may seem reasonable to them. Provided there is a quantum increase in health allocations, India’s health systems will remain ailing with a large number of its citizens remaining diseased and undernourished without the means to afford expensive private healthcare." India still accounts for the largest number of infant deaths, maternal deaths, and tuberculosis cases in the world. The country's public systems are also in disarray: about 15,000 doctor positions at primary health centres lie vacant; and 4,000 out of 5,000 community health centres are without even a single obstetrician. This issue is, however, just one of the many concerns that the IMA aims to address through its intensive campaigns all through the month leading up to the movement on 6th June. Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, said, "The medical profession is going through its toughest time with the nobility and dignity of medical profession at stake. It is high time we speak as a collective voice against these issues and address the gaps with immediate effect. It is after having decided that enough is enough that the IMA has given this clarion call, Dilli Chalo." IMA is also initiating a signature campaign on the issues at hand on social media and has urged all doctors to join and collect hundreds of thousands of signatures to demand justice from the government.