The Finance Minister divided the budget of this time into six parts, and the first chapter of his budget focused on health and health facilities. He increased the budget of health and health related sectors by 137 percent as compared to the previous budget and announced that the government will spend 2 lakh 23 thousand 846 crore rupees on this area in the next financial year.
The government has also announced a new scheme ‘Prime Minister Self-sufficient Health India’ for the health sector and an amount of Rs 64180 crore has been set for it in the coming 6 years. Under this, health and wellness centers will be supported, coordinated public health laboratories will be established in all districts, critical care blocks will be built in hospitals and the National Center for Disease Control will be strengthened.
Disclosing the strategy to fight the Kovid epidemic, the Finance Minister said that two Kovid vaccines have come in the country and two more vaccines will be available in the coming days. For the vaccine program, the government has put an amount of Rs 35400 crore in the budget and said that it will be increased further if needed. Kovid vaccination will be the biggest challenge in the health sector in the coming days and for this, a proper provision of the budget has been made.
Announcing the new scheme of nutritional food, the Finance Minister said that the government has decided to conduct ‘Mission Nutrition 2.0’, combining the Supplementary Nutrition Program and Nutrition Campaign. With this, it has been decided to implement the pneumococcal vaccine in the entire country. Currently, this vaccine is applied in only five states of the country.
Integrating nutritional diet plans is a good step. Death of children due to malnutrition in India is still a matter of concern. It will have to be seen how the effect of this coordinated program can be achieved. Because despite the budget of thousands of crores of rupees in the field of nutrition, its misuse has been increasing. In a coordinated mission, the government will have to take effective steps to prevent leakage of budget due to corruption.
Similarly, expansion of pneumococcal vaccine will also help in preventing the death of children under five years of age. Presently the death rate of such children is 34 per thousand in India. In this also, the number of deaths from pneumonia is 7 per thousand. This vaccine was launched in 2017 in five states of India, Himachal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. It is now being implemented all over the country and the Finance Minister claims that it will prevent 50 thousand children from dying every year.
Underlining the relation between health and clean water, the Finance Minister said that the government is now going to implement the Water Life Mission in the urban area as well and it is proposed to spend Rs 2.87 lakh crore in the coming five years. Under this, 4378 urban bodies have the goal of creating a similar water supply system. With this, 2.86 crore families will be provided with tap water and sewage management facility can be developed in 500 Amrit cities.
Clean water has a deep connection with health. The per capita annual availability of potable water in India in the year 1951 was 5,177 cubic meters, which came down to about 1.368 cubic meters in the year 2019. In the year 2025, it is expected to fall further to 1,293 cubic meters. In such a situation, clean drinking water is going to emerge as a huge need. In 2019, the government announced the Jal Jeevan Mission with the aim of delivering water to rural areas of the country through tap water schemes. Now the same scheme is also being extended to urban areas. One more thing… by implementing the Nal water schemes, the agencies involved in the construction and development of infrastructure will also get economic support.
Including pollution in the health sector chapter itself, the Finance Minister announced that the government is announcing a new voluntary scheme to scrap old vehicles. Under this, private vehicles can be scraped after 15 years and commercial vehicles after 20 years. The government will release full details of this scheme separately.
There is an emphasis on health, prevention, treatment and research in the budget, but by adding a few different areas in it, the government has tried to expand the scope of health. Bringing old vehicles in the realm of health is a revolutionary step. This shows that the government has also considered pollution to be an important factor in the health sector. The air pollution caused by old and condom vehicles definitely affects the health of a large number of people. If there is something insignificant in the scrapping scheme of old vehicles, then not only will such vehicles be away from operating, but the purchase of new vehicles in their place will also boost the automobile sector. That is, the government has not only worried about the health of the people through health, but the measures related to it are being shaped in such a way that they also benefit the economy.
By giving so much importance to the health sector in the budget and increasing its amount by 137 percent to about 2.24 crores, it is clear that the government is worried about health in the post-Kovid period. The Kovid epidemic has told us that if the health of the people of the country is in danger, then it will affect the overall health of the whole country.
Overall, the concept that has been developed in this budget related to health and various fields related to it, it seems that the government has made an initiative to connect the health of the people with the health of the country. In his speech, the Finance Minister quoted lines from a poem by Rabindranath Tagore that said – Vishwas is a bird that feels light and starts singing before dawn, giving the message of light coming. It is to be hoped that this budget song will bring light to overcome the darkness of Kovid and the arrival of new dawn of new India. (Disclaimer: These are the personal views of the author.)