At the valedictory function of a three-day national workshop on HIV/AIDS for teachers Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Panabaka Lakshmi says that the Federal Government had allocated Rs. 906 crore (USD 196 million) to combat AIDS. India has an estimated 5 million people infected with AIDS and an estimated 50% of new infections were in the age group of 15-29 and about 39% of those infected are below the age of 29.
However, the 5 million number itself has been questioned by a recent survey and the Federal Health Ministry has not responded to the survey or questions from the media on why there is a huge discrepancy between the numbers between independent sources and the Federal Government. Moreover, existing 97 centers can handle only 42,000 patients and the plan is to scale facilities to 250 centers capable of treating 300,000 patients. Even if those plans are actually implemented, India would need 20 times more investment to treat the estimated 5 million patients leave alone awareness building, educational, or rehabilitation programs.
The allocation of such modest amounts while dissipating attention on needless programs (such as the Ayurveda Standardization initiative) is taking away valued resources from this key issue facing the most productive component of the population