Indian doctors, economists and analysts lauded the Union Budget 2021 that included a ‘remarkable’ 137% increase for health and wellbeing sector. Experts not only noted that Sitharam introduced health and wellbeing as the first pillar of the economy but also said that the increase in the budget for the health sector will definitely strengthen health services.
Here are some reactions from Indian doctors, economists and analysts:
- Dr Prathap C Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group
The COVID-19 pandemic was an unprecedented medical crisis and it underlined the importance of building resilient healthcare infrastructure. Today, the Hon’ble Finance Minister’s said health was her first pillar and her announcements to develop primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare systems, greatly gladdened my heart. This ground-breaking focus on health which will provide access to medical care for all in our country, fuel job creation and boost economic momentum.
India’s efforts in managing the pandemic have been exemplary – our frontline workers and scientists have been working tirelessly to save lives and develop indigenous vaccines. Now the allocation of Rs 35,000 crores for COVID-19 vaccines and more if required, makes our glorious nation stand tall as a model for the world.
We must now look at the next crisis of Non-Communicable Diseases, which will be responsible for 80% of deaths and cause a 3.8 trillion USD burden to the country by 2030. It is important to focus on prevention, early detection and possible cure to protect Indian families from grief, financial burden and to help the GDP growth. India has proven its clinical excellence, should now focus on clinical trials, research, innovation and technology. There is potential for India to become the largest global health technology centre. As an additional opportunity, India can generate employment and be a healthcare service provider for the world.”
- Mr Amol Naikawadi, Joint Managing Director, Indus Health Plus
The 2021 Union Budget looks optimistic for the healthcare sector. With Aatma Nirbhar Health Yojana, the sector will get a boost from a public health infrastructure standpoint. The initiative will enhance the quality of healthcare and strengthen the national centre for diseases control in the country. In addition, due to this, most of the health needs of the low-income group in both urban and rural areas will be taken care of. Besides, Mission Poshan 2.0 and Jal Jeevan Mission will also help in improving public health and wellness. In my opinion, the budget should have also given some preference to private healthcare segment as well that has been a strong pillar of support during the pandemic. Apart from that, the focus should have been more on the prevention of NCDs, which are mostly asymptotic at the early stages but eventually treatment becomes difficult and expensive.
The further fortification by setting up additional 17,000 rural and 11,000 urban health and wellness centres along with integrated public health labs is also a good decision. However, emphasis on the preventive healthcare segment would have lowered the NCDs burden and the overall health expenses of the country.
- Dr (Prof) Deepak Agrawal, Senior Professor at AIIMS, New Delhi (Department of Neurosurgery, Neurosciences & Gamma Knife Centre)
After witnessing a health pandemic like never before, Union Budget 2021 -2022 had to be the most crucial one in terms of monetary allocations to the healthcare sector. We applaud the government’s approach of focusing on health and innovations which will play a key role in paving the way for advancements in the seamless delivery of preventive healthcare. The focus on developing capacities for the healthcare systems, robust infrastructures for detection and cure of new and emerging diseases will enable faster response system to prevent against any heath crisis and aid access to quality to healthcare across the lengths and breadths of our nation, thus reducing the gap of accessibility.
The extension on tax holidays for start-ups is again a welcome step in the course of making India ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’. By broadening the definition of start-ups, simplifying regulations, providing income tax exemption and allocating funds, the Union Budget has come as a big motivation and will act as thrust to innovations in the start-up ecosystem. Overall, It’s a PEOPLE’S BUDGET!