Budget 2021 : Healthcare

Government measures for strengthening ‘health and wellbeing’:
  • A Production linked incentive scheme is announced to boost the manufacture of pharmaceutical and medical devices.
  • 35000 crore rupees has been allocated for the development of COVID-19 vaccine. Mission COVID Suraksha has been launched to improve indigenous vaccine testing and development. Further coverage of pneumococcal vaccine will also be enhanced.
  • Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) was launched to provide free food grains to 800 million beneficiaries.
  • One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) will target 690 million beneficiaries covering 32 states/UTs.
  • Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) has been given substantial allocation.
  • There would be an expansion of health and wellness centres under Pradhan Mantri – Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana (PMANSBY). It would also involve using a 13,192 crore Finance Commission grant for strengthening the primary health system.
  • Allocation for the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) has not changed in comparison to last year.
  • There has been a 40% increase in Budget of the Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) Ministry.
  • The nature of allocation strengthens the vision of making India Atma Nirbhar.
  • Initiatives like Mission COVID Suraksha will help India sustain its position of being the vaccine hub of the world. Significant allocation towards vaccine development will also ensure all the citizens are able to get vaccinated in due time.
  • PMGKY and ONORC will help in ensuring food and nutritional security in the country.
  • A reduction in diseases namely Malaria, Polio and Diarrhoea would be seen due to substantial allocation towards JJM. This is explained by a report released by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2019.
  • Focusing on capital expenditure through schemes like PMANSBY is a welcome step for strengthening the health system. Earlier the capital expenditure used to constitute only a small fraction of health allocation.
  • An improvement in AYUSH Ministry’s budget will allow the country to focus more on preventive care and integrated treatment.
  • Integration of health with well-being (Water, Sanitation and Nutrition) would help in improving the outcomes. Both National Health Policy, 2017 and Economic Survey have stressed the interdependence of these sectors.
  • India’s R&D expenditure on health formed 0.01% of its GDP, the lowest share among nations. India’s health R&D to GDP ratio was similar to countries such as Namibia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
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