She said in her statement.
‘The finance minister has 2.23 lakh crore this year as healthcare budget, which is a 137% increase from last year’s budget of 69,000.’
“Taking a holistic approach on health, we focus on strengthening three areas – preventive, curative and wellbeing.”
A new centrally sponsored scheme, the PM Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana, has also been announced. Sitharaman has allocated a total of Rs 64,180 crore for the next 6 years for this scheme. This will be invested to improve primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare.
She stated that the scheme will focus on developing capacities of healthcare systems, develop institutions for detection and cure of new and emerging diseases. The main interventions under the scheme are:
- Supporting over 17,000 rural and 11,000 urban wellness centres, she continued.
- Setting up integrated public health labs in all districts, and 3382 block public health units in 11 states.
- Establishing critical care hospital blocks in 602 districts and 12 central institutions
- Strengthening of National Institute of Disease control, its 5 regional branches and 20 metropolitan health surveillance units
- Expansion of the health information portal to all states and union territories
- Connecting all public health labs
- Operationalization of 17 new public health units and strengthening of existing health units
- Setting up of 15 health emergency operation centers and 2 mobile hospitals
- Setting up a National Institution for one health, a regional research platform for WHO south East region office, 9 bio-safety level 3 labs and 4 regional national institute for virology
In addition to this, the finance minister also announced that the government will provide Rs 35,000 crore for COVID-19 vaccines. Two more India made Covid-19 vaccines will also be available in the country soon. Vaccines will be rolled out across the country, which will prevent over 50,000 child deaths annually, said Sitharaman.
The finance minister highlighted that the budget proposal rests on six pillars – health and well-being, physical and financial capital and infrastructure, inclusive development for aspirational India, reinvigorating human capital, innovation and R&D, minimum government, and maximum governance.
“To strengthen nutritional content, delivery, outreach, and outcome, we will merge the supplementary nutritional program and the Potion Abhyan and launch the Mission Potion 2.0. We shall adopt an intensified strategy to improve nutritional outcomes across 112 aspirational districts.”
The government stretched its resources for the benefit of the poorest of the poor, says FM.
The Finance minister stated that only 3 times in the past the budget has followed a contraction in Indian economy. She explained that this time it’s because of a global pandemic like in other countries. The government is fully prepared to support and facilitate the economic reset.
“Budget has been prepared in circumstances like never before,” she said. “But what we have endured with Covid-19 to 2020 is Sui generis.”