Budget 2021: Finance Minister announces the launch of Aatmanirbhar Swastha Bharat Yojana with an outlay of Rs 64,180 Cr

While announcing the Union Budget 2021, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman allocated Rs 2,83,846 lakh crore for the healthcare and wellness sector, marking a 137 percent increase

With 2020 being one of the most challenging years for the country due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that health and wellbeing is one of the six pillars for Budget 2021.

While presenting the Union Budget 2021 on Monday, Nirmala Sitharaman announced the launch of Aatmanirbhar Swastha Bharat Yojana, with an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore.

She said these funds will be used for developing primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare over a period of six years. The finance minister clarified that this initiative will be an addition to the National Health Mission. The investment has been proposed to develop capacities of healthcare systems, develop institutions for detection and cure of new and emerging diseases.

“The investment in health infrastructure in Budget 2021 has increased substantially. Three areas including preventive health, curative health, and well-being will be strengthened,” said the Finance Minister. 

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Addressing the Lok Sabha, she said that the focus will be on setting up 17,000 rural and 11,000 urban health and wellness centres. She also proposed the setting up of integrated public health labs in each district and 3,382 block public health units in 11 states.

While announcing the first Budget of this decade, the minister revealed that allocation for the healthcare and wellness sector has been increased by 137 percent this year, with Rs 2,83,846 lakh crore, including Rs 35,000 crore for COVID-19 vaccines.

"I have provided Rs 35,000 crore for COVID-19 vaccine for 2021-22. I'm committed to providing further funds if required. The Budget outlay for health and well-being is Rs 2.23 lakh crore in 2021-22 as against Budget estimate of Rs 94,452 crore, and marks an increase of 137 percent," she said.

The startup ecosystem welcomed healthcare allocations announced by the Finance Minister. Speaking on the Budget announcements, Harshit Jain MD, CEO and Founder of Doceree, said,

"The announcement of the centrally funded scheme - Aatmanirbhar Health Yojana - with an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore over six years in addition to National Health Mission is a welcome step towards strengthening primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare in the country. Setting up of 15 health emergency centres shows the government’s intent to be future-ready to address any healthcare crises. It is commendable that the government has put healthcare on the forefront, putting a focus on curative and preventive health and wellbeing."

While presenting the first digital Budget in history, the finance minister also said that two India-made COVID-19 vaccines are now available and are being provided to not only Indians but also in other countries. Apart from this, two more vaccines are expected soon, she added.

Earlier, in January, India approved two vaccines, Oxford's Covishield manufactured by SII and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, for restricted emergency use. The COVID-19 vaccination drive was launched on January 16. Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the vaccine drive as the world's largest inoculation programme with priority to be given to nearly three crore healthcare and frontline workers.

Apart from this, the Budget also proposed to merge India’s Supplementary Nutrition Programme & POSHAN Abhiyaan and launch Mission POSHAN 2.0 with an aim to strengthen nutritional content, nutrition delivery, and outcome.

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For YourStory's multimedia coverage of Budget 2021, visit YourStory's Budget 2021 page or budget.yourstory.com

Edited by Megha Reddy