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Insufficient health budget could crumble economy: SP

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Samajwadi Party on Monday demanded augmenting of health budget and cautioned that improper allocation to the sector could crumble the economy.

Participating in the discussion on the Union Budget 2020-21 in Rajya Sabha, Ravi Prakash Verma said health allocation should be enhanced from 2.3 per cent of GDP to 5 per cent.

"If you don't increase your health expenditure you will be defeated after doing everything," he said.

Referring to Coronavirus outbreak in China, he said what is happening in the neighbouring country cannot be taken lightly and mentioned 2011 Hollywood movie 'Contagion' which was based on a similar crisis.

"Health issues could lead to collapse of the economy," he said.

"Pharma companies' lobby is active in ministry," he alleged, but did not elaborate.

He cautioned that 11 crore toilets were built using soakpit method that will contaminate water.

"You are building bio-toilets in railways but 11 crore soakpit toilets are being built in rural areas which is increasing your health burden.... It will contaminate water," Verma said.

The MP said the economy was going in recession in sharp contrast to the rosy picture in the budget, and multi- national companies were eyeing the country's mineral resources.

Criticising opening of the coal sector, he asked whether India will depend on royalty only.

He also took a dig at ease of doing business initiatives, saying poor were left to face hardships whereas one per cent of India's population amassed 73 per cent of wealth.

"Why don't you impose wealth tax on will get Rs 7 lakh crore," he said.

He said compulsory digitalisation and demonetisation have resulted in policy shock.

Participating in the debate, Prashant Nanda (BJD) said necessary impetus to economy was not given in the budget.

However, Ram Chandra Prasad Singh (JD-U) termed the budget as "growth oriented", saying it took care of the masses with good policies for agriculture, ST, SC and the poor.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 10 2020. 16:56 IST