Leading health sector players on Monday hailed the Union Budget 2021-22 for increased allocation to the sector and new schemes. Healthcare providers welcomed the announcements made by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to give a push to the health sector.
Apollo Hospitals Group Chairman Dr. Prathap C. Reddy said the ground-breaking focus on health will provide access to medical care for all in our country, fuel job creation and boost economic momentum.”The Covid-19 pandemic was an unprecedented medical crisis and it underlined the importance of building a resilient healthcare infrastructure. Today, the Finance Minister said health is her first pillar and her announcements to develop primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare systems, gladdened my heart,” he said
The allocation of Rs 35,000 crore for Covid-19 vaccines and more if required, makes our glorious nation stand tall as a model for the world, he added. Dr. Reddy called for looking at the next crisis of non-communicable diseases, which will be responsible for 80 per cent of deaths and cause a $3.8 trillion burden to the country by 2030.
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Apollo Group President Dr K. Hari Prasad said that the pandemic propelled health into the forefront and this is aptly reflected in the Budget. “The outlay towards prevention, treatment and wellness is welcome and should impact the health indices positively. Almost the entire budget is targeted at public healthcare infrastructure and facilities and talks about enhancing primary, secondary and tertiary care. This must improve public healthcare infrastructure and services which is a welcome phenomenon,” he said.
He, however, noted the budget has been silent on certain critical aspects of healthcare and hoped that the same will be addressed in due course. Health Insurance Premiums are increasing and increasing the premium amount for tax exemption would have been a great initiative to increase the number of people covered by health insurance, he said.
Global healthcare advisory firm Access Health International’s India Country Director Dr Krishna Reddy said that with 137 per cent increased allocation, health got the needed thrust to strengthen public health, preventive care, primary health care and emergency care. “Increased allocations to other social determinants of health- education, clean cooking gas, clean air, clean surroundings, clean drinking water to every household will have greater impact on health in addition to increased health outlays,” he said.
Gleneagles Global Hospitals Cluster COO Dr Mervin Leo welcomed the Budget and the allocations made to the health sector. “Finance Minister’s announcement to spend more on primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare over the next six years is much appreciated,” he said.
The Finance Minister announced that Rs 64,180 crore will be invested over six years to improve primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare. “Her focus on improving rural and urban health infrastructure in addition to the existing National Health Mission will certainly see many new initiatives coming up, which will help improve the health index of people in the country,” he said.
Prime Minister’s Atmanirbhar Swasthya Bharat Yojana (ANSBY) is a great step forward in these times to boost the rural health infrastructure, where public health is in dire need of funding, said Medicover Group of Hospitals Chairman and Managing Director, Dr Anil Krishna.
“The Rs 64,180 crore funding as part of ANSBY will also make the nation ready for the emergency handling of Covid-19 pandemic situations,” he said. “The government’s decision to increase the budgetary allocation towards health sector is a welcome move, and a much needed one for the times we are in,” Continental Hospitals CEO Dr. Riyaz Khan said.
He believes that increasing Foreign Direct Investment limits into the sector and the proposed IPO of Life Insurance Corporation will surely strengthen insurance sector in India, which is much needed to ensure world-class healthcare reaches maximum citizens. “Separate allocation towards Covid-19 vaccination for a six-year period is a compassionate move on part of the Finance Minister,” he said. SLG Hospitals ED D.V.S. Somaraju said the Budget announcements are likely to have a hugely positive impact in the short and long terms and provide the much-needed impetus to the health sector.
“Problems associated with Covid-19 pandemic will last for certain period, and the government needed to step up to mitigate the situation efficiently, and the Finance Minister, through her Budget proposals, tried doing the same to a certain extent. Indian healthcare is moving in the right direction; but needs government and investment support to speed up the process of providing best possible healthcare across the country,” he said. (IANS)