Millennium Post

It is a visionary Budget: Dr Harsh Vardhan

In an interview with Aaisha Sabir of Millennium Post, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan talked about the Union Budget and how the common man will benefit from it in the health sector. Excerpts:

What is in this budget for the common man?

The biggest thing about this Budget is that it is a visionary Budget which has been made keeping in mind the next 10 years. The basic needs –health and education –for which a good infrastructure is needed, have been highlighted in the Budget. With infrastructure being highlighted, it not only increases the infrastructure but also gives opportunities and jobs to people. Every department has been included in the Budget like, health, science and education and many more.

In health, 'TB Harega Desh Jeetega' is a programme for the ordinary man. This directly affects the common man. Eradicating TB by the year 2025 is not just a slogan for us but it is a commitment and you can see a reflection of it in the budget. We say the 12 preventable diseases vaccine will reach each and every child through the 'Mission Indradhanush' programme –for the common man –which has found its way in the Budget too. An average middle class family will find relief in the new Budget, look at the relief provided in income tax according to pay package.

How will the health sector benefit from the Budget?

The Budget estimates for the Health and Family Welfare Ministry show an increase of 3.75%, while there has been a 10% hike in allocation to the Department of Health Research. This indicates the strong focus of the government on the health sector. Overall, the health sector has been allocated Rs 69,000 crore. In addition, 6500 projects under National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) include projects of healthcare for all. The Budget has positioned health as a prime focus in the journey of development and growth of the country.

Which other departments have benefited from the Budget?

A National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications (NM-QTA) with a total budget of Rs 8000 crore for a period of five years under the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has been included in the Budget. Since quantum technology is opening up new frontiers in computing, communications, and cyber security, it is expected that lots of commercial applications will emerge in this area.

Aspirational districts which have requirements of hospitals and quality health services will now be given a boost by encouraging private hospitals to tie up with the government with assistance in funding from the government to deliver healthcare services to the poor in smaller regions.

Taxes have been increased on tobacco and other products. The increased tax money will go to the poor through healthcare. Similar steps have been taken in other departments like education and science too. Provisions for departments like scheduled caste and scheduled tribe have been improved. There is a proposal to strengthen the economy too.

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