#Budget2021: Health stakeholders hail 137% hike in allocation

The budget allocation of Rs 2,23,846 crore, as per experts, will help in reducing the rural-urban divide and capacity enhancement interventions across the value chain  

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New Delhi: With the budget allocation of Rs 2,23,846 crore that translates into a massive 137% increase, healthcare has taken center stage for FY 2021-22. As per experts, a slew of initiatives including PM Aatmanirbhar Swastha Bharat to be launched with an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore over 6 years will help in reducing the rural-urban divide and capacity enhancement interventions across the value chain.
Besides a massive outlay of Rs 35,000 crore for COVID-19 vaccines, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her budget speech also spoke about Pneumococcal vaccine rollout across the country to avert 50,000 child deaths annually. The move to set up health labs and critical care hospital blocs at the district level across India has been well appreciated by stakeholders.
In his comments, Sudarshan Jain, Secretary-General, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, mentioned, “The FY22 Budget is in line to support the recovery of Indian economy while keeping the overall policy stability and fiscal discipline in perspective. COVID 19 pandemic is an unprecedented time and has brought importance to healthcare in India. The focus on healthcare infrastructure in FY22 Budget is a positive step towards growth and the 137% increase in allocation will help boost the healthcare infrastructure across primary, secondary and tertiary care. The vaccination program is well-funded  and will help the country address the pandemic. All these initiatives are pointers to increased investment in healthcare infrastructure and will strengthen the sector going forward.”
Dinesh Chauhan, CEO, CORE Diagnostics hailed the Government’s continued commitment towards healthcare and well-being with the new Atma Nirbhar Swasthya Yojana, as an addition to the National Health Mission. “This will provide the necessary impetus to the development of primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare and further support the nation to come out of the distress caused by COVID-19.  Since it will also be used towards creating modern institutions & labs to cater for detection and cure of new and emerging diseases – the diagnostics industry will have a major role to play and work towards making healthcare more  accessible and sustainable.”
As per Vishal Bali, Executive Chairman, Asia Healthcare Holding, “Healthy India is core to India’s economic growth reflected 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.”
Calling the budget 2021 a blessing, Alok Roy, Chair, FICCI, Health Services Committee and Chairman Medica Group of Hospitals, opined, “India Inc. and especially the healthcare industry which has been battling the demon of COVID-19 and its aftermath should consider this year’s budget a blessing. Budget 21-22 seems realistic, constructive, and Finance Minister showed her commitment towards the healthcare sector, which needed a boost urgently. Establishing critical care blocks in Hospitals is essential from our learning from the recent pandemic and a right move by the Government. Overall the proposals made in Budget 21-22, would make quality healthcare accessible and affordable, besides standardizing healthcare infrastructure across the country. We await the on-ground implementation and operational details of the scheme now.”
Dr. Shravan Subramanyam, Managing Director, Wipro GE Healthcare mentioned, “It is heartening to see the Government’s focus on health and wellness for Aatma Nirbhar Bharat. Our endeavor for the past 30+ years has been to ensure quality and affordable healthcare is accessible to the doorsteps of people through our local manufacturing, R&D, digital and skilling efforts delivered through the wide network of sales and services personnel and partners. We wish to partner with the government and other players to strengthen and bring to reality the newly launched Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojna.”
“The budgetary allocation for the healthcare sector for FY2022 will translate into a 10% drop in the allocation if compared to the RE for FY2021. Nonetheless, the allocation translates to a growth of 11%, if it is compared to the BE for FY2021,” mentioned Kapil Banga, Assistant Vice President, ICRA Limited while adding further: “The continuing modest allocation towards the healthcare sector would make it challenging for the Government to meet its target of public sector healthcare investment of 2.5% of the GDP by 2025.”