Budget lays foundation for Atmanirbhar healthcare system

The rollout of the vaccines heralded the end of the pandemic and it was leap forward in making India self-reliant in indigenous vaccine development

Coming on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Hon’ble Finance Minister’s vision to make health of citizens as the foremost pillar for inclusive progress is greatly commendable. The outlay of ₹2,83,846 crore for health and wellness marking a 138% increase over the previous year, the Union Budget has taken the realm of care to all-new orbit. Also, the allocation of ₹64,180 crore under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Swastha Bharat Yojana to develop primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare systems in addition to the National Health Mission will make medical care much more accessible to all in our country.

The rollout of the vaccines heralded the end of the pandemic and it was leap forward in making India self-reliant in indigenous vaccine development. The announcement of ₹35,000 crore for COVID-19 vaccines will go a long way in making this a reality and also making India self-reliant in this critical aspect of medicine.

Also this Budget turned the spotlight upon development of public health and health infrastructure in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, remote districts, which together will leave no stone unturned in making healthcare accessible to all. Further, with advancements in telemedicine and digital health infrastructure, we can be assured that India’s vision for UHC will be realised before the end of this decade.

Healthcare can be a very powerful engine for job creation which would provide gainful employment to millions. Budget 2021 addressed training and job creation in healthcare through the setting up of National Commission for Allied Healthcare Professionals and the National Nursing and Midwifery Commission. This initiative will go a long way in streamlining the skilling of the allied healthcare workers, who form the foundation of our health infrastructure.

It was heartening to note the continued focus on cleanliness with the launch of Swachh Bharat 2.0 with an outlay of ₹1.42 lakh crore over 5 years and the Jal Jeevan Mission for clean water with outlay of ₹2.87 lakh crore for 4,378 urban local bodies. This will go a long way in preventing several diseases and in laying the base for healthier India. In addition, proposals such as the PLI scheme will encourage innovation, the definitive key to addressing challenges and championing inclusive progress.

Moreover, the proposals for infrastructure to boost sectors including railways, power, shipping and ports will all work to fuel productivity growth, wealth creation and ensure that the economy back on the fast track to growth. In succinct, India is back on the growth highway with Budget 2021!

(Preetha Reddy is the Executive Vice Chairperson of Apollo Hospitals & the President of NATHEALTH)

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