Updated: February 1, 2021 1:10:49 pm
Union Budget 2021: Presenting the Union Budget 2021 on Monday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a new centrally sponsored scheme – PM Aatmanirbhar Swasthya Bharat Yojana – with an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore over six years.
The finance minister said the scheme will develop capacities of primary, secondary, and tertiary care health systems, strengthen existing institutions and create new institutions to cater to the detection and cure of new emerging diseases. The new scheme will be an addition to the National Health Mission, she said.
Overall, Sitharaman proposed Rs 2,23,846 crore Budget outlay for health and well being for 2021-22, compared to Rs 94,452 crore in the current fiscal, an increase of 137 per cent. She also said that the government would provide Rs 35,000 crore for the Covid-19 vaccination program in 2021-22 and is committed to providing more funds if needed.
Emphasising the importance of the healthcare system in the post-Covid world, Sitharaman said the investment in health infrastructure has been substantially increased. The areas of preventive health, curative health, and well-being would be strengthened over the years, she said.
“Today India has two vaccines available and has begun safeguarding not only her own citizens against Covid-19 but also those of 100 or more countries. It has added comfort to know that two more vaccines are also expected soon,” she said.
India has approved two anti-coronavirus vaccines — Oxford’s Covishield manufactured by Serum Institure of India and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin — so far for restricted emergency use. Nearly three crore healthcare and frontline workers are being inoculated in the first phase of the vaccination drive which began on January 16.
The finance minister also announced the rollout of pneumococcal vaccines to help save over 50,000 deaths annually. The pneumococcal vaccine is effective against potentially fatal pneumococcal infections like pneumonia, septicaemia and meningitis.
“The pneumococcal vaccines, a Made in India product, is presently limited to just five states, it will be rolled out across the country,” Sitharaman said.
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