Budget is to create a future-ready healthcare system, says minister

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 15, 2021

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Vaccination of people above the age of 50 from next month

The Budget for 2021-22, presented in a year that saw Covid-19 pandemic ravaging the world, makes an attempt to build an India future-ready to deal with any health emergency that can come from new infections, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Monday.

“When we were passing through such a difficult phase, our scientists and healthcare professionals showed us the way. Whatever the learnings that we had during this period need to be implemented at the lowest possible ground. This Budget hopes to do that by strengthening disease surveillance, preventive care and diagnostic equipment at block levels as well as setting bio-safety facilities and regional virology institutes,” Vardhan said during a briefing.

He said by bringing drinking water, nutrition and sanitation into broad healthcare fold, the Budget has sought to look at health care sector holistically. Besides, there is substantial increase in the budgetary allocation for the sector too, the Minister said.

From just one lab for testing Covid-19 to over 2,500 labs in shortest possible time, Indians showed how capable they are. Similarly, in no time the scientific community and entrepreneurs came forward and worked together to manufacture PPE kits, ventilators, N-95 masks and diagnostic kits, Vardhan said.

When asked how the government plans to use the ₹35,000 crore that the Budget has set aside for the Covid-19 vaccination, the Minister said a decision on this would be taken by the experts. He also said the vaccination of people above the age of 50 would commence from next month.

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Published on February 15, 2021
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