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Budget reaction: Dr Krishna Ella, CMD, Bharat Biotech and Suchitra Ella, Joint MD, Bharat Biotech

Dr Krishna Ella: It’s a great step ahead, and far-reaching budget announcement, providing ₹35,000 crores for COVID vaccination in 2021-22. The Finance Minister commitment providing more funds to contain the coronavirus pandemic spread in the country and provide an effective, smooth path for the vaccination scheme will help contain, and lead our nation towards accomplishing a COVID-19 disease-free Bharat.

The layout plan of a ₹64,180 crore spending plan for healthcare over the next six years to be spent on primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare, in addition to the National Health Mission is also a welcome move, which will strengthen public health services as 17,000 rural and 11,000 urban health and wellness centres and integrated public health labs to be set up in each district. The government focus, on three areas – preventive health, curative health and well-being, is also very reassuring. With this landmark budget, the Government of India has signalled its intention to make health a cornerstone of the future success of our country. The allocation to vaccines signals a shift to preventive health care, a validation of the fact that vaccines are the most cost-effective health care interventions. 

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Suchitra Ella: The new health infra schemes with a significantly higher outlay of Rs 35,000 crore for Bharat’s mega COVID19 vaccination drive is a huge fiscal medicine to contain the pandemic, reduce disease burden for the population, and the economy. A record total outlay of Rs 2,23,846 crore for health and wellbeing aimed to boost the health and well-being of the nation, is also a well-thought announcement in this budget, with focus on preventive, and curative health. It’s encouraging to note the creation of nine Bio Safety Lab-III (BSL-3) in this Budget, that will boost research and scientific discoveries. With this landmark budget, the Government of India has signalled its intention to make health a cornerstone of the future success of our country. The allocation to vaccines signals a shift to preventive health care, a validation of the fact that vaccines are the most cost-effective healthcare interventions. 

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