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EDITORIAL
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 455-459

Pattern of health promises for Indian democracy: A qualitative review of political manifestos


1 Department of Community Medicine, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, India
2 Academy of Family Physicians of India, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Medicine, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dinesh Kumar
Department of Community Medicine, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College, Kangra - 176 001, Himachal Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_308_17

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Introduction: India is a multiparty parliamentary democracy and second most populous country in the world. In spite of pressing needs of the population, healthcare is still not considered a driving electoral mobilizer as compared to the older democracies such as the UK and USA. Only three National Health Policies (1983, 2002 and 2017) have been promulgated by the respective governments during the past 70 years of India's independence. National policies are often preceded by commitment of political parties documented in the manifestos. Type and nature of promises in the manifesto of National Political Parties (NPPs) are reflective of vision and intentions of parties. The present study was done to qualitatively analyze the pattern of expressed intensions in terms of health promises made for 16th Lok Sabha (people house) elections of India in the year 2014 by its NPPs. Methods: Manifestos of NPP, as notified by election commission of India, were retrieved from their respective website and effort was also made with an online search. Manifesto of five out of total seven NPPs could be accessed and analyzed. Consensus-based criteria of assessment were developed by public health experts and each manifesto was assessed independently by two experts. In a case of difference in scoring, independent opinion was sought from the third expert for adjudication. Results: Two NPPs mentioned majority of statements as goals and rest focused for health strategies. The focus of statements was for public health problems (11.5%), public health financing (9.0%), and improving infrastructure (9.0%). All parties were committed for improving health services as it shared 30.8% space as statements in all five manifestos. All statements were of primary or secondary prevention in nature and focused more on improving processes (47.4%) and increasing inputs (31.6%). Whereas, Communist Party of India focused only on inputs (60.0%) and outputs (40.0%). Conclusion: Promises made by all NPPs were quite progressive, inclusive, and comprehensive in nature; however, much of these do not find space in public debates on television and election speeches.


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