With the main focus on Ayushman Bharat (the health insurance scheme) the government suggested over 15% increase in the health budget for 2019-2020, which turned out as almost half of the total hike in the overall health budget.
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Nirmala Sitharaman Union finance minister reported an Investment of Rs 64559.12 crore for the health sector (including health research), up from Rs 56045.23 crore provided in the 2018-19 revised estimate. This indicates a major sudden powerful increment from a mere 5% hike implemented last year.
No initiatives announced for health in the budget speech delivered by the finance minister was disappointing, even as the higher allocation shows an encouraging trend.
“The expectations were that of a bold reformist budget. It turned out to be an incremental budget at best. The emphasis on start-ups and on the education sector is a good move. However, there was nothing to fuel growth in the healthcare and pharma sectors, which is disappointing, ” Satish Reddy, Chairman, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories said.
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The health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat launched by the government in September 2018 increased by a two and a half times from Rs 2400 crores in 2018-19 to Rs 6400 crore in the upcoming financial year. In simple, the scheme got a budgetary hike of Rs 4000 crore out of the total Rs 8514 crore increased in the overall health budget.
Under this scheme-Ayushman Bharat, the government aim is to provide an annual health cover of Rs 5 lakh to 50 crore people in nearly 10.74 crore deprived families. Other key areas and schemes that got a minimal increase under the health ministry.
The proposed allocation for National Health Mission – one of the major Centrally sponsored schemes to take care of primary health care, planned health and wellness centers as well as programs like tobacco control – increased to Rs 32995 cr this year, up by 7.5% from Rs 30683.05 crore in 2018-19.
New AIIMS are set and allocations are made under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana, a marginally increment from Rs 3825 crore in the revised estimate of 2018-19 to Rs 4000 crore for 2019-20.
In the National AIDS and STD Control Programme, the government allocated Rs 2,500 crore with an increase of Rs 400 crore from the last budget’s allocation of Rs 2,100 crore.
Siddhartha Bhattacharya the NATHEALTH secretary-general said. “A healthy India will be a prerequisite to a 5 trillion dollar economy. We would like to underline the need for making healthcare an integrated part of the policy and fiscal planning with adequate investments to achieve this vision,”
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