India on Monday allocated a total of 223,846 crore Indian Rupees (around 30.6 billion U.S. dollars) for “health and wellbeing” in budgetary proposals for the financial year 2021-22.

This is as against the current year’s 94,452 crore Indian Rupees (around 13 billion U.S. dollars), which is an increase of 137 per cent.

Federal Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the budgetary proposals for the next financial year (April 2021-March 2022).

Sitharaman said that a new Centrally-sponsored scheme “PM AtmaNirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana (PM Self Reliance Healthy India Scheme)” would also be launched with an outlay of about 64,180 crore Indian Rupees (around 8.8 billion U.S. dollars), over the next six years.

“This will develop capacities of primary, secondary, and tertiary care Health Systems, strengthen existing national institutions.

“It will also create new institutions, to cater till detection and cure of new and emerging diseases. This will be in addition to the National Health Mission.’’

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She added that a separate fund of 35,000 crore Indian Rupees (around 4.8 billion U.S. dollars) would also be allocated for development of the COVID-19 vaccines during the next financial year.

“I am committed to provide further funds if required,’’ said the finance minister.

Presenting the country’s first paperless Budget, Nirmala Sitharaman said that the main interventions under the “PM Self Reliance Healthy India Scheme” are support for 17,788 rural and 11,024 urban health and wellness centres.

She said they were setting up integrated public health labs in all districts and 3,382 block public health units in 11 states, establishing critical care hospital blocks in 602 districts and 12 central institutions.

The minister added that it would also include operation of 17 new public health units and strengthen 33 existing public health units at points of entry.

It includes 32 airports, 11 seaports and 7 land crossings, setting up of 15 Health Emergency Operation Centres and two mobile hospitals.

[Xinhua/NAN]

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