What is in Union Budget 2021 for Healthcare?

The total allocation to Health Sector in Union Budget 2021-22 has increased to Rs. 2,23,846 crores  from Rs. 94,452 crores the previous year . The Central government has termed the Union Budget as “visionary” and “revolutionary.”

 “The Union Budget 2021-22 is a ‘Bold Budget’ and a ‘Health Budget’ where the allocation for the health and wellness sector has substantially jumped up. At the very outset, the Budget has acknowledged health and wellbeing as the topmost of the six fundamental pillars,” said Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health &Welfare. 

“Sturdy and resilient health systems of any country are built on strong health infrastructure of primary, secondary and tertiary tiers supported by equally strong institutions of diseases detection and surveillance, teamed with R&D institutions providing world class cutting edge research derived evidence to drive policies and actions”, he added. 

With an outlay of Rs. 64,180 crore over 6 years, the newly announced centrally sponsored Scheme PM Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana will develop capacities of primary, secondary and tertiary care, strengthen delivery health care systems, develop institutions for detection & cure of new and emerging diseases and strengthen the existing National Health Mission independent of it, he stated.

“The scheme will strengthen 17000 rural and 11000 urban health and wellness centres, set up integrated public health labs in all districts and 3,382 block public health units in 11 States, establish critical care hospital blocks in 602 districts and 12 central institutions”, the Union Health Minister added.

The Pradhan Mantri AtmaNirbhar Swasthya Bharat Yojana will give a tremendous boost to India’s public health infrastructure- the National Centre for Disease Control will now have five regional branches and 20 metropolitan health surveillance units.

As per the Centre’s plan along with expansion of integrated health information portal to all States/UTs to connect all public health labs, 17 new public health units will be operationalised and 33 existing public health units at points of entry that is 32 airports, 11 seaports and 7 land crossings will be strengthened. The scheme will also support setting up of 15 health emergency operation centers and two mobile hospitals; a National Institution for 1 health regional research platform for WHO South East Asia region office; and 9 biosafety Level-III laboratories and 4 regional national institutes for virology.

“India has performed 20.67 Crore cumulative testing as of today. Our capacity of testing has increased to more than a million a day. Out of the 1.09 Cr who were infected with COVID19, 1.06 Cr people have recovered. India is now self reliant in manufacturing of COVID -19 diagnostic commodities, enabling export of the surplus quantity”, the Minister said.

Speaking on the COVID19 trajectory, Dr. Harsh Vardhan highlighted the progress in the COVID parameters. He said, “Though our COVID parameters are on a sustained decline, but it should not create a misconception in the minds of people that the masks and physical distancing is not needed now. Even now, Social vaccine is as important as the real vaccine.”

India has firmly positioned itself as the world leader in terms of COVID19 vaccines. With a budgetary boost of Rs. 35,000 crore, the country’s fight against COVID19 has been strengthened.  With a strong budgetary support, innovative schemes, strengthened systems of health research and healthcare delivery, the government has envisioned that India shall emerge as a world leader in public health setting examples to be emulated by other countries.