In these trying times, effective rollout of COVID-19 vaccine and a strong healthcare sector are both the need of the hour. And the Budget 2021 has ensured that the sector gets its much-needed boost. 

The Finance Minister announced INR 35,000 crore for COVID vaccine, and, for the health sector, a budget outlay of INR 2,23,846 crore, which is up 137% compared to INR 94,452 crore in previous years.

Additionally, PM AatmaNirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana, will be launched with an outlay of about INR 64,180 crores over 6 years to develop Health Systems, strengthen existing national institutions, and create new institutions, to cater to detection and cure of new and emerging diseases. This will be in addition to the National Health Mission and the main interventions under the scheme are:

  1. Support for 17,788 rural and 11,024 urban Health and Wellness Centres
  2. Setting up integrated public health labs in all districts and 3,382 block public health units in 11 states
  3. Establishing critical care hospital blocks in 602 districts and 12 central institutions
  4. Strengthening of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), its 5 regional branches and 20 metropolitan health surveillance units
  5. Expansion of the Integrated Health Information Portal to all States/UTs to connect all public health labs
  6. Operationalisation of 17 new Public Health Units and strengthening of 33 existing Public Health Units at Points of Entry, that is at 32 Airports, 11 Seaports and 7 land crossings.
  7. Setting up of 15 Health Emergency Operation Centres and 2 mobile hospitals
  8. Setting up of a national institution for One Health, a Regional Research Platform for WHO South East Asia Region, 9 Bio-Safety Level III laboratories and 4 regional National Institutes for Virology

In addition to this scheme, Mission Poshan 2.0 will be launched to strengthen nutritional content, delivery, outreach, and outcome. There is also an increased focus on clean water, sanitation, and clean environment to achieve universal health. 

Budget has also been allocated to the Urban Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0 as well as to tackle air pollution. Apart from these, a voluntary vehicle scrapping policy is being announced to help phase out old and unfit vehicles and encourage fuel-efficient, environment-friendly vehicles. 

The Finance Minister also added that the need of the hour is to strengthen the provisioning of healthcare sector through public-private partnerships. 

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Union Budget