Budget 2021: Allocation To Healthcare More Than Doubles After Pandemic

Nirmala Sitharaman has announced a new centrally sponsored health scheme with an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore over six years.

A stethoscope sits on an examination table. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)
A stethoscope sits on an examination table. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

India will more than double its spending on healthcare in the next fiscal as it aims to boost the sector crippled by the coronavirus pandemic.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in the Union Budget 2021-22, proposed an outlay of Rs 2.23 lakh crore towards health and well-being. That’s a 137% increase over the Rs 94,452-crore budgeted expenditure on healthcare in the ongoing fiscal.

The spending will include a new centrally sponsored scheme—the PM Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana—to strengthen the health infrastructure of the country. The government plans to spend Rs 64,180 crore on the scheme spanning over six years.

The health scheme, the finance minister said, is in addition to the government's existing National Health Mission, and will focus on three areas—preventive, curative and well being.

Under the scheme, more than 17,000 rural and 11,000 urban health and wellness centres will be supported. Besides, integrated public health laboratories will be set up in all districts; and 3,382 block public health units will be established in 11 states. Critical care hospital blocks will be created in 602 districts and 12 central institutions.

Sitharaman also proposed spending Rs 35,000 crore for Covid-19 vaccines in the next fiscal, and announced the rollout of pneumococcal vaccines. Such vaccines, she said, can help India avoid more than 50,000 annual child deaths.

Besides, the plan includes the government tripling its spending on drinking water and sanitation to Rs 60,030 crore from Rs 21,5218 crore in last year’s budget.

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