Photo: Pexels
Photo: Pexels

At a time when the government is engaged in handling the present coronavirus pandemic, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday has proposed an outlay of Rs 2.23 lakh crore for health and wellbeing. She claimed that investment in the health sector has risen 137% which is 2.47 times more than our last year's Budget estimates.

She further introduced the Atma Nirbhar Health Yojana with an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore over six years. Moreover, the government plans to set-up 15 health emergency centres to further strengthen the National Centre for Disease Control.

Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said that “The increase in the budget for the health sector will definitely strengthen health services.”

Under Bharat Health Yojana, the central government will provide Rs 35,000 crore for Covid-19 vaccines. India currently has two vaccines and with the sum set aside the country can expect two more new vaccines. According to FM the country presently has one of the lowest COVID-19 death rates of 112 per million population, in addition to one of the lowest active cases of about 130 per million. FM has also announced National Institution for One Health, 17,788 rural and 11,024 urban Health and Wellness Centers, 4 regional National Institutes for Virology, 15 Health Emergency Operation Centers and 2 mobile hospitals, integrated public health labs in all districts and 3382 block public health units in 11 states and critical care hospital blocks in 602 districts and 12 central institutions.

Sitharaman has also announced strengthening of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), its 5 regional branches and 20 metropolitan health surveillance units, expansion of the Integrated Health Information Portal to all States/UTs to connect all public health labs, 17 new Public Health Units and strengthening of 33 existing Public Health Units and 9 Bio Safety Level III laboratories.

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