Budget Action & ReactionNews

Budget reaction: Dr Rahul Pandit, Director-Critical Care, Fortis Hospitals, Mumbai

Healthcare has received a much-needed stimulus in this year’s Union Budget. Health and family welfare has emerged to be a crucial pillar and a priority sector for the nation. It is very encouraging to see a health outlay of Rs 2,23,846 crore, that is a 137 per cent increase over last year; this is a progressive first step towards building a strong healthcare set-up in our country. A much-needed focus has been laid towards preventive healthcare, curative healthcare and well-being. In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to deftly deal with public health emergencies, the government has shared a commitment towards uplifting critical care units within the country. 

Another commendable effort by the government is the infusion of Rs 35,000 crore for COVID-19 vaccines. This will truly bolster our battle against COVID-19 and aid in rapidly building immunity among citizens, enabling wider access to vaccination, especially amongst the vulnerable groups. Apart from this, the PM Aatmanirbhar Swastha Bharat Yojana in in congruence with the National Health Mission Program has been proposed with an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore for building capacity of primary, secondary and tertiary level healthcare facilities. Strengthening of healthcare across all three segments will help offer advanced care in even the most remote parts of the country. This move is expected to better the quality of life, improve life expectancy, avoid preventable deaths and offer immunisations that could bring down disease burden on the country.

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While designing this national blueprint for growth, the budget focuses on reducing mortality among infants and mothers. Mission Poshan 2.0 in congruence with other nutrition-related programmes will make nutrition management especially in mothers-to-be and children a priority. Importantly, proposal of 15 health emergency centers, strengthening of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and setting up of two mobile hospitals will help increase healthcare penetration and strengthen healthcare offering in the country. Overall, the government has taken a need-assessed approach health and these promising developments will definitely help us move us towards bringing back normalcy, and in building a healthier nation.

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