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Healthcare likely to be focus area of Budget 2022

This is in line with what Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had hinted at in her recent media interviews.

Published: 12th November 2021 03:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th November 2021 10:30 AM   |  A+A-

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  The centre will continue spending on the healthcare sector in the upcoming budget, as India is yet to fully vaccinate its population and Covid-19 is far from over with new variants being reported across the world.

“The actual process of budget making has not yet started. Currently, the review of revised estimate is under the process. However, two sectors will continue to remain in focus -- healthcare and Infrastructure. The allocation on the sector will be higher than what it was last year,” a senior official told TNIE.

This is in line with what Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had hinted at in her recent media interviews.

Government had allocated more than Rs 64,000 crore to the ministry of health and family welfare and Rs 35,000 crore in the budget for vaccination and improving overall healthcare infrastructure. 

However, this was not sufficient. In fact, health ministry’s budget has increased only by Rs 7000 crore from Budget Estimates of 2020-21 and declined by 9.8% from Revised Estimates of 2020-21.

The allocation on healthcare research was also slashed by almost half, compared to the revised estimate.

Allocation for Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) has been decreased by 7% over the revised estimates of 2020-21 at Rs 7,000 crore. 

With the second wave, which badly hit the nation as people were struggling to get oxygen and hospital beds, the focus was shifted back to the healthcare infrastructure.

The official said that there is more pressure even from the states to increase allocation for the healthcare sector so that more beds can be added.

Also, as vaccination drive will continue in the next fiscal year, the centre will have to enhance its budget allocation for the Covid-19 vaccine.

The current spending of India remains 1.6% of GDP, which is much low compared to other major economies.

The Economic Survey 2020-21 observes the overall out-of-pocket expenses in India on healthcare are 60% of the total expense on public health.



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