Emphasis on Swasth Bharat


Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 1

Wellness took centre stage in the first Budget of the Covid era with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman clubbing various heads to announce a record 137 per cent hike in allocation and opening up the insurance sector to benefit consumers.


Much-needed fillip to sector: Experts


Healthcare providers have hailed the Budget, saying it provides the much-needed fillip to the health sector and is a testimony to India’s commitment to not just fight back the pandemic, but also to build a stronger and resilient health system.

Listing health and wellness as the first among six pillars of the Budget, the FM said the outlay for health and wellbeing was Rs 2,23,846 crore for 2021-22 as against Rs 94,452 crore in 2020-21 — a 137 per cent hike.


Rs5.5 cr for CIC & RTI, down 44%

The government has provisioned Rs5.50 crore for the Central Information Commission and RTI, a drop of over 44 per cent from 2020-21. In addition, the CIC has been provisioned a portion of Rs31.25 crore under a separate head of ‘CIC and PESB’, which has seen a small increase from previous Budget allocation of Rs31.24 crore. PTI

Though the government has taken a wider view of health, which experts have welcomed, the Health Ministry’s standalone allocations remain modest, witnessing a 10 per cent rise over 2020 — from Rs 67,112 crore to Rs 73,932 crore. This raise is 62 per cent if Covid vaccine allocation of Rs 35,000 crore is factored in.


I&B Ministry gets Rs4,071 cr

An outlay of Rs4071.23 crore was announced for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for 2021-22, a decrease of Rs303 crore from last year. The allocation to Prasar Bharati has been reduced to Rs2,640.11 crore from Rs2,889.36 crore allotted to it in the last fiscal. However, the budget for Press Council of India and Films and Television Institute of India went up. PTI

The majority allocation of Rs 64,180 crore has gone to a new scheme — PM Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana. Spanning over six years, this scheme will inject funding to improve primary healthcare, new and emerging disease detection, emergency response and virology lab network.


Mission Poshan 2.0 launched

The supplementary nutrition programme and the Poshan Abhiyaan under the Women and Child Development Ministry has been merged to launch Mission Poshan 2.0 to strengthen nutritional content, delivery, outreach, and outcome. Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said the mission would focus on overall health-wellbeing of the beneficiaries. PTI

Major thrust areas will be support for 17,788 rural and 11,024 urban health and wellness centres under Ayushman Bharat Mission; new integrated public health labs in all districts and 3,382 new block public health units in 11 states; critical care hospital blocks in 602 districts and 12 central institutions; boost to apex disease detection lab National Centre for Disease Control, and linkage of all public health labs across states.

Starting 17 new public health units and strengthening 33 existing units at points of entry at 32 airports, 11 seaports and seven land crossings will also be undertaken. A significant announcement is about setting up National Institution for One Health, nine bio-safety level III laboratories and four regional national institutes of virology.

Two made in India Covid vaccines have received Rs 35,000 crore allocations for 2021-22 with the promise to deliver more when needed. An announcement was also made for rollout of made in India pneumococcal vaccine Pneumosil, manufactured by Serum Institute of India.


Leader speak

The all-inclusive Budget will pave the way for an Atmanirbhar Bharat, making India a $5 trillion economy and doubling farmers’ income. PM Modi has been devoted to the welfare of farmers — Amit Shah, union Home Minister

The allocation of Rs35,000 crore for vaccines and the commitment to provide further support will help end the pandemic and expedite economic recovery. The focus will be on preventive health and well-being — Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister

A forward-looking Budget. Multiple pluses: Increased govt spending in major sectors like infrastructure, agriculture and healthcare; opportunities for investments — Jyotiraditya Scindia, BJP leader

The people of the country had high hopes from this Budget that came amid pandemic, but it has led to a lot of disappointment. No provision has been made to provide relief to the common man. Years-old announcements have been repeated — Kamal Nath, MP Congress chief

This BJP reminds me of the garage mechanic who told his client, ‘I couldn’t fix your brakes, so I made your horn louder’. The Budget has failed in treating the ills affecting the nation — Shashi Tharoor, Senior Congress leader


Quick Notes

Rs73,000 cr allocated for rural job plan

The Centre’s push for rural development has not found reflection in proposal for fund allocation for the Department of Rural Development. It proposes an allocation of Rs1,31,519.08 crore against Rs 1,20,147.19 crore last year. The allocation for the MGNREGS appears to be the biggest among the sectoral heads for the department. Against last year’s allocation of Rs 61,500 crore, it got Rs 73,000 crore this year. TNS

Loan limit for debt recovery lowered to Rs20L

The government announced lowering the loan amount eligible under the SARFAESI Act for recovery to Rs20 lakh from Rs50 lakh for certain NBFCs, a move, the industry players said, would help strengthen the sector and recover dues. This will not only bring credit discipline but will also protect the interest of small borrowers, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said while presenting the Budget. PTI

Duty hike on compressors negligible: CEAMA

Increase in customs duty on imported compressors for refrigerators and air conditioners and parts of electronic appliances will increase the prices in the short term, but will boost local manufacturing in future, Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association (CEAMA) said. PTI

Special resolution framework for MSMEs

As India’s insolvency regime grows and evolves, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) are set to come under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a special framework for resolution of bankrupt MSMEs. She said to ensure faster resolution of cases, the NCLT framework would be strengthened, the e-court system should be implemented and alternative methods of debt resolution would be introduced. PTI



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