Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Derek O’Brien writes: How BJP government’s Data Fails Rekha, Kavita, and Mohan


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: interim budget session of Parliament

Mains level: gap between government rhetoric and ground realities, emphasizing the human impact of policy failures

What is an Interim Budget - Oneindia News

Central Idea:

The article critiques the recent interim budget session of Parliament, highlighting the discrepancy between the government’s rhetoric and the lived realities of everyday Indians. Through the stories of Rekha, Kavita, and Mohan, it exposes the failure of government schemes like Ayushman Bharat, food subsidies, and employment initiatives to address the fundamental issues facing citizens.

Key Highlights:

  • The government’s self-aggrandizing adjectives during the budget session are criticized for being unsubstantiated by facts.
  • The article delves into the lives of ordinary Indians to reveal the truth behind government data.
  • Through scenarios, it demonstrates how government schemes often fail to provide adequate healthcare, nutrition, and employment opportunities.
  • The suspension of a senior professor behind a damning health report raises questions about intellectual honesty regarding data.
  • The Global Hunger Index ranking and reports from international organizations highlight India’s challenges in food security.
  • Unemployment rates and the plight of educated youth like Mohan illustrate the failures in job creation and protection.

Key Challenges:

  • Inadequate investment in healthcare, leading to poor quality and inaccessible services for millions.
  • Subsidized food options lack nutritional value, exacerbating hunger and malnutrition.
  • Job scarcity and lack of protection for workers, pushing individuals to precarious employment or even dangerous situations abroad.
  • Discrepancies between government claims and ground realities, highlighting issues of transparency and accountability.

Main Terms:

  • Ayushman Bharat scheme
  • NFHS (National Family Health Survey)
  • Global Hunger Index
  • Gig economy
  • Unemployment rate
  • Food subsidies

Important Phrases:

  • “Data stored with government hospitals under the Ayushman Bharat scheme is riddled with errors.”
  • “The suspension of the IIPS Director shortly after the release of the NFHS report.”
  • “India ranked out of countries in the Global Hunger Index.”
  • “Mohan finds himself among the percent of graduates under years of age who are unemployed.”
  • “A packet of rice costs more while dal costs more than before.”


  • “The voices of Kavita, Rekha, and Mohan did not find a place in the Prime Minister’s marathon monologue in Parliament.”
  • “Every youth believes that they can cement their job position with hard work and skills.”
  • “Reality gets worse for Indian women like Rekha.”
  • “Three out of four Indians cannot afford a healthy diet.”


  • Rekha’s struggle to access healthcare at a government hospital.
  • Kavita’s dilemma between subsidized but low-nutrient food and higher quality groceries.
  • Mohan’s choice between unemployment at home or precarious work abroad.

Useful Statements:

  • “The numbers either misidentify the dead, incorrectly record surgery details or entirely leave out beneficiaries from the list.”
  • “Half the country does not turn to government facilities in their time of need.”
  • “A job in a war zone is his only option.”
  • “Mohan has not found employment for months.”

Examples and References:

  • Global Hunger Index ranking (India ranked out of countries).
  • NFHS data highlighting issues in healthcare access.
  • Mohan’s situation exemplifying unemployment among educated youth.

Facts and Data:

  • India invests only percent of GDP in healthcare.
  • Three out of four Indians cannot afford a healthy diet.
  • percent of graduates under years of age are unemployed.
  • A packet of rice costs more, while dal costs more than before.

Critical Analysis:

The article effectively exposes the gap between government rhetoric and ground realities, emphasizing the human impact of policy failures. By presenting concrete examples and data, it challenges the narrative of progress touted by the government. The suspension of the IIPS Director adds weight to concerns about data integrity and transparency. However, the article could benefit from more analysis on systemic issues contributing to these failures, such as corruption and inadequate social welfare policies.

Way Forward:

  • Increase investment in healthcare to improve accessibility and quality of services.
  • Reform food subsidy programs to ensure nutritious options for all citizens.
  • Create more employment opportunities through targeted policies and investments in key sectors.
  • Enhance transparency and accountability in data collection and reporting to address systemic issues.
  • Prioritize the voices and needs of ordinary citizens in policymaking process

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