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Budget strengthened health sector: Vardhan

Budget strengthened health sector: Vardhan

New Delhi: Putting public health on top of the priority list, the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has on Friday announced Rs 62,659.12 crore outlay for the health sector in 2019-2020 fiscal, which is highest in the last two financial years.

The health outlay for this financial year saw an increase of around 19 per cent over the 2018-2019 fiscal when it was Rs 52,800 crore. The budgetary allocation for the sector is Rs 60,908.22 crore, with Rs 6,400 crore earmarked for the centre's flagship health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (AB-PMJAY).

The AB-PMJAY is a flagship scheme of the union government that aims at providing annual health cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation to about 50 crore beneficiaries.

The government has also allocated Rs 249.96 crore for setting up Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres under the National Urban Health Mission to provide comprehensive primary care close to the community, while Rs 1,349.97 crore has been earmarked for setting up health and wellness centres under the National Rural Health Mission.

Hailing the budget, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said, "The budget is a reflection of the pragmatism and visionary governance of our Prime Minister Narendra Modiji. It is a development-oriented and people-centric budget. A landmark budget was presented today by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with the agenda of putting the nation first."

Vardhan also said that union budget has strengthened the health sector with 154.87 per cent increase for Ayushman Bharat and 18.67 per cent increase in overall outlay.

The allocation for the National Health Mission (NHM) for 2019-20 was raised to Rs 32,995 crore from the last budgetary allocation of Rs 30,129.61 crore. The Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY) which features under the NHM saw an allocation of Rs 156 crore, a decline of Rs 1,844 crore from the last fiscal.

The government allocated Rs 2,500 crore to its National AIDS and STD Control Programme an increase of Rs 400 crore from last budget's allocation of Rs 2,100 crore. The budgetary allocation for the AIIMS has been increased to Rs 3,599.65 crore from Rs 3,018 crore in the 2018-2019 fiscal.

The National Mental Health Programme saw a decline from Rs 50 crore to Rs 40 crore while the budgetary allocation for the National Programme for prevention and control of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke was reduced to Rs 175 crore from Rs 295 crore.

The total budgetary allocation for the tertiary care programmes saw a Rs 200 crore dip, from Rs 750 crore in 2018-19 to Rs 550 crore in this fiscal, while Rs 64 crore has been earmarked for upgrading and strengthening nursing services, Rs 5 crore for upgrading pharmacy schools and colleges, Rs 800 crore for upgrading district hospitals and state government medical colleges (post-graduate seats).

The government allocated Rs 2,000 crore for converting district hospitals into new medical colleges and Rs 1,361 crore for strengthening government medical

colleges (undergraduate) and central government health institutions.

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