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The Finance Minister has kept the focus of the budget on economic revival and healthcare

Nirmala-Sitharaman FM

The significant increase in budget outlay for healthcare has been particularly promising at a time when the COVID 19 pandemic has severely affected healthcare goals. With COVID 19 consuming the entire focus of the healthcare sector, a series of important health goals such as NCD prevention, disease screening, malnutrition control and even regular immunization programmes had taken a backseat last year. While more than doubling the budget allocation for healthcare this year, the Finance Minister has committed to improve primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare services. The increased expenditure has also been committed to strengthen critical care in the country and on supporting the massive vaccine roll out.

A sharp increase in capital expenditure is another notable aspect of the budget as it promises to infuse significant spending in building infrastructure projects and public transport systems that will help generate much-needed economic activity and employment in an economy struggling with a recessionary phase.

While the focus on easing tax compliance and improving dispute resolution mechanisms is welcome, we had hoped to see a greater rationalization of GST and its compliance structure.” said Mr. Madhusudhan HK, President, India and South Asia at Alma Medical India.

Also read: Budget 2021: Takes a holistic approach towards Health, Focus on Preventive, Curative, and Wellbeing

“Healthy India is core to India’s economic growth reflects in the 137% increase in outlay for health at Rs 2,23,846 crore in budget 2021. The focus on healthcare with ‘Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana’ with an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore over 6 years shows that healthcare capacity building is now a key priority for the Government. The Rs. 35,000 crore earmarked for COVID 19 vaccination drive will create the safety net for the country. The overall capital expenditure increase of 26% should drive infrastructure acceleration, the much needed GDP growth driver. Insurance sector which is an important pillar for any country should see an exponential growth with enhancement of FDI limit to 74% from 49%. Overall a forward looking budget to drive the 11% GDP growth for India in FY22 as pegged in the Economic survey 2020” said Mr. Vishal Bali, Executive Chairman, Asia Healthcare Holding.

“The Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman announced an allocation of INR 64,180 crore over the next 6 years for the healthcare sector in the 2021 Union Budget. The budget allocated is in addition to the National Health Mission which is already in effect. One of the key initiatives proposed in this year’s budget is the addition of 17,000 rural and 11,000 urban health and wellness centres which is supportive move for better patient care and will also pave way for public-private partnerships. Also, the government has proposed to set up integrated public health labs in each district with 3,382 block public health units across 11 states. Another welcoming move is the outlay of INR 1.41 crore for the Swach Bharat 2.0 mission which will help improve sanitisation and transform the lives of millions. Considering the government’s effort to curb the pandemic of COVID-19, it has also planned to set aside INR 35,000 Crore for Covid-19 Vaccine in FY22. Though, it must be admitted that the government has re-shifted its focus on healthcare in this budget, but considering the rapid integration of digital technology into healthcare, no major developments around digital healthcare or telemedicine was announced.” said Mr. Vikram Thaploo, CEO, Apollo Telehealth.

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