New Delhi [India], February 1 (ANI): The total allocation of Rs 2,23,846 crore for the health sector in the budget will be of immense help to the country at this critical juncture when it is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, said Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan on Monday.
In a media address, Dr Harsh Vardhan said the experiences of the country's yearlong fight with COVID have shaped the Union Budget.
He thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for "moving health and well being to the centre stage of India's governance as the country battles COVID and is also targeting to eliminate diseases like TB and immunize India's children against 12 communicable diseases".
"Investment on Health Infrastructure in Budget 2021 has increased 2.37 times or 137 per cent. The focus on strengthening three areas--preventive health, curative health and well-being with total allocation to health sector being Rs 2,23,846 crore-- will be of immense help to the country at this critical juncture," said the Minister.
He stated that the government has, once again under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, fulfilled the commitment of not only providing relief in the times of COVID-19 but has also turned the crisis into an opportunity for further growth and development.
He also expressed happiness over the renewed focus on Jal Jeevan Mission, the second phase of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Urban) and the Clean Air Initiative which target the holistic health of India's citizens, "as these schemes are designed to reduce the disease burden of communicable diseases by curbing their transmission and prevent those caused by pollution," he said.
Dr Harsh Vardhan lauded the Pradhan Mantri Aatma Nirbhar Swasthya Bharat Yojana.
"With an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore over six years, the scheme will develop capacities of primary, secondary and tertiary care, health care systems, develop institutions for detection and cure of new and emerging diseases and strengthen the existing National Health Mission independent of it," he stated.
"The scheme will strengthen 17,000 rural and 11,000 urban health and wellness centres, set up integrated public health labs in all districts and 3,382 block public health units in 11 States, establish critical care hospital blocks in 602 districts and 12 central institutions," the Health Minister said.
Reminiscing over the role played by National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and other Public Health Institutions in containing the COVID pandemic, he said, "The NCDC will now have five regional branches and 20 metropolitan health surveillance units. The experiences of the country's yearlong fight with COVID have shaped the Union Budget. This will give a tremendous boost to India's health infrastructure."
Speaking on COVID and other communicable diseases and their prevention through vaccination, he said, "The Union Finance Minister has allocated Rs. 35,000 cr for it and also stated that she will provide more funds if required, which will be a huge boost to the morale of the country. The Pneumococcal vaccine, similarly, a Made in India product which is presently limited to five states at present will also be rolled out across the country. This will avert more than 50,000 child deaths annually." (ANI)