Mains Daily Question
March 29, 2023

Progress in developing a healthcare system centred on inexpensive and accessible public health in India is moving at a very slow pace. In this context, discuss the need for the basic right to healthcare as a remedy for this issue. 

Model Answer


Introduction: Start by providing an overview of healthcare in India and citing supporting data.


  • Discuss the obstacles afflicting the health care system in India.
  • Give the arguments showing the necessity for the Right to Health.
  • Identify few obstacles in establishing health care as a basic right.

Conclusion: Emphasize that the right to health is only a precise interpretation of the constitutionally protected right to life.


The right to healthcare is a fundamental human right essential for ensuring the well-being and dignity of every citizen. In 2021-22, India's public expenditure on healthcare was 2.1% of GDP, which is lower than the global average of 6%. This has resulted in inadequate infrastructure, a shortage of human resources, and poor quality of services in the public healthcare system. This emphasizes the necessity for an accessible and affordable public healthcare system in India.


The Indian healthcare system confronts several obstacles leading to the slower movement towards inexpensive and accessible public health:

  1. India has made significant improvements in the health outcomes of its people since 1947, such as increasing life expectancy. However, progress is uneven across states, and presently India faces a double burden of disease and an aging population due to which health rights are further needed.
  2. Infrastructure Deficiency - The lack of healthcare infrastructure in India is a major obstacle to the provision of inexpensive and accessible healthcare services. According to the National Health Profile 2021, there are only 0.9 hospital beds per 1,000 inhabitants and 1 government allopathic physician per 11,083 persons.
  3. Low Public Spending - The healthcare industry in India gets just 1.28 percent of GDP, which is much less than the minimum of 6 percent suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO).
  4. Inequality in Healthcare - In India, there is a significant disparity in access to healthcare between urban and rural regions, as well as across socioeconomic categories. According to the NFHS-5, 49.2 percent of children aged 12-23 months in urban areas were fully immunized, compared to 36.8 percent of children in rural regions.
  5. Lack of Qualified Healthcare Professionals - The lack of qualified healthcare professionals, such as physicians, nurses, and technicians, is a significant obstacle to delivering adequate healthcare services in India.
  6. High Out-of-Pocket Expenditures - In India, a large amount of healthcare expenditures are carried by people out of their own wallets, causing financial hardship for many families. According to the National Health Accounts Estimates for India (2017-18), 64 percent of overall health expenditures were funded by out-of-pocket expenses.


The need for the basic right to healthcare:

  1. Increased Access to Healthcare - The Right to Health guarantees everyone access to inexpensive and high-quality healthcare services, particularly in disadvantaged areas.
  2. Promoting Economic Development - A healthy population is crucial for economic growth, and the Right to Health can encourage health and well-being. The National Health Policy for 2017 seeks to raise healthcare expenditure to 2.5 percent of GDP, which may stimulate economic growth by expanding access to healthcare and providing employment opportunities.
  3.  Reducing Healthcare Inequality - The Right to Health may aid in the reduction of healthcare inequities by guaranteeing fair access to healthcare services.
  4. Building Public Health Systems - The Right to Health may assist in strengthening public health systems by raising public expenditures and enhancing infrastructure.
  5. Realization of international commitments such as the right to health as part of sustainable development goals in 2030.


Obstacles to establishing healthcare as a basic right:

  1. Allocating resources for achieving the Right to Health may be a substantial difficulty for the government due to budgetary constraints.
  2. Healthcare is a state responsibility in India, and execution of the Right to Health needs collaboration and coordination between the national and state governments.
  3. Opposition from the Private Healthcare Sector - The private healthcare sector may oppose the adoption of the Right to Health since it might have a negative impact on their revenues.
  4. Absence of Political Will - The government's lack of political will might be a key obstacle to establishing healthcare as a basic right. 
  5. Implementation Challenges - Due to administrative and practical obstacles, implementing the Right to Health may be an arduous process.


Declaring healthcare as a basic right may increase the accessibility and quality of healthcare, but its implementation involves overcoming various obstacles. Therefore, these obstacles need to be overcome by involving all stakeholders and making dedicated efforts, such as taking inspiration from the National Health Service of the United Kingdom, to realize the right to life (the right to health is part of the right to life) of everyone.

Subjects : Current Affairs
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