Report Release: ‘Democracy and Health in India’

REPORT: ‘Democracy and Health in India: Is Health an Electoral Priority?’ (Click to Read)

The report release on ‘Democracy and Health in India: Is Health an Electoral Priority?’ was followed by a presentation of the survey findings.


The panelists included:

Reetika Khera: Professor of Economics, IIT Delhi.

K Sujatha Rao: Former Union Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GOI.

Abhay Shukla: Senior Programme Coordinator, Support for Advocacy and Training to Health Initiative (SATHI).

This report is an outcome of a collaborative study conducted by Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS),Delhi with King’s India Institute, London, Royal Holloway (University of London) and the Centre for Social and Economic Progress (CSEP), New Delhi.

The survey, undertaken across five Indian states, sought to understand citizens’ perceptions of health as an electoral issue, their experience of the healthcare system and the role that health plays in their voting decisions. This survey represents the first-ever systematic interrogation of the electoral perceptions around health in India.

The findings presented here suggest that the perception that health is simply absent as an electoral issue for Indian citizens is incorrect. While health remains a lower priority for voters than an issue such as employment, the survey findings suggest that there is latent public demand for greater government prioritization of healthcare. The majority of voters say that the provision of health facilities affects their voting choice to some extent and that it is the government’s responsibility to provide healthcare services. There is some evidence to suggest that people who think health services have improved are more likely to vote for the party in power than those who do not see any improvement. Yet the survey also reveals a good degree of confusion about which level of government is responsible for running hospitals and different health schemes. This is not surprising in a policy area in which both central and state governments are involved, but it does raise questions about the political incentives for increasing investment in health and the extent to which there is a strong accountability mechanism functioning via the ballot box.