India will spend Rs 2.23 trillion on healthcare and launch a new central scheme with an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore over the next six years to improve health systems nationwide, said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
An amount of Rs 35,000 crore will be spend on Covid-19 vaccines as part of the Rs 2.23 trillion spending, she said in her Budget 2020-21 speech. "The investment on health infrastructure in this budget has increased substantially," said Sitharaman.
"There are signs that the political, economic and strategic relations in the post Covid era are changing and ... India is well well-poised to be the land of promise and hope," she said, adding Budget outlay on healthcare had risen by 137 per cent.
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India begun a huge vaccination drive and a steep fall in new coronavirus cases over the past few months is supporting an economic recovery. "Two new vaccines are coming soon," said Sitharaman, adding that that she is willing to provide more for the inoculation programme.
She announced a new scheme called Pradhan Mantri Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana with an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore, running alongside the National Health Mission. Over the next six years, the new scheme will develop primary, secondary and tertiary care health systems as well as strengthen the national institutions and create new institutions for "new and emerging diseases".
Around 17,000 rural and 11,000 urban health and wellness centres will be set up to boost primary healthcare. Integrated public health laboratories will be set up in districts, apart from 3,382 block public health units in 11 states. Sitharaman spoke about having bio-safety laboratories capable of dealing with deadly viruses and having at mobile hospitals locally.
The Budget for 2020-21 allocated Rs 69,000 crore for healthcare sector (marginally up from the Rs 62,659.12 crore outlay in 2019-20, of which around Rs 6,400 crore was for Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY) scheme, flat from previous year.
"Healthcare spend is proposed to more than double and this will help in rolling out the vaccination program as well as strengthen the delivery system and build better capability and capacity to combat any future pandemics,” said Rana Mehta, Partner and Leader Healthcare, PwC India.
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