AGENCY New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Friday announced Rs 62,659.12 crore outlay for the health sector in the 2019-2020 fiscal, the highest in the last two financial years. The budgetary allocation of Rs 6,400 crore was earmarked for the centre’s flagship health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (AB-PMJAY). The health outlay this fiscal saw an increase of around 15.38 per cent over the revised estimates of 2018-2019 fiscal when it was Rs 54,302.50 crore. This is an increase of more than 18.67 per cent compared to the proposed budget of Rs 52,800 crore during the last financial year. The government has assigned Rs 249.96 crore for setting up Ayushman Bharat health and wellness centres under the National Urban Health Mission to provide comprehensive primary care to the community, while Rs 1,349.97 crore has been earmarked for setting up health and wellness centres under the National Rural Health Mission. Under the programme, nearly 1.5 lakh sub-centres and primary health centres will be transformed as health and wellness centres by 2022. These centre will be equipped to provide treatment for diseases such as blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and old age-related illness. Terming it as a “landmark” budget, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said it is a reflection of the pragmatism and visionary governance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “It (Budget) is development-oriented and people-centric. It is an inclusive budget which is pro-poor, pro-farmer, pro-downtrodden and for the development of all the sectors in the country. “The budget for the Health Ministry shows an appreciable increase of more than 18.67 per cent in the total outlay. This reflects the importance accorded to the health sector in the country,” Vardhan said. There is an additional Rs 9,859.12 crore allocated in the Budget estimates of 2019-20 against the Budget estimates of 2018-19. There has been an increase of 92.44 per cent (Rs 402.06 crore) over previous year in the ASHA Benefit package, whereas an additional Rs 450.01 crore (8.57 per cent increase) has been allocated for immunisation, women and children. Vardhan said that as part of strengthening of the institutions, which form an integral pillar of health systems network, the provision for infrastructure maintenance has been increased by 11.42 per cent whereas for Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), an additional 4.58 per cent has been allocated in the budget estimates of 2019-20. As part of the Union Budget announced today, there has been an increase in allocation of 154.24 per cent for Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to strengthen food testing system including provision of Mobile Food Testing Labs. In addition, a basic excise duty has been imposed on Tobacco and Tobacco products, which will help tobacco control efforts, Vardhan said. The department incurred an expenditure of Rs 52,959.56 crore during the last financial year, he added. According to the budget, the allocation for the National Health Mission (NHM) for 2019-20 was raised to Rs 32,995 crore from the last budgetary allocation of Rs 30,129.61 crore. However, the budget estimates of 2018-19 were later revised to Rs 30,683.05 crore. The Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY), which features under the NHM, saw an allocation of Rs 156 crore. The budget allocation for this scheme in 2018-19 was Rs 2,000 crore but the revised estimates were later reduced to Rs 300 crore. The budgetary allocation for AIIMS has been increased to Rs 3,599.65 crore from the revised estimates of Rs 3,298 crore in the 2018-2019. The government has allocated Rs 2,500 crore to the National AIDS and STD Control Programme. The last budget’s allocation for the programme was Rs 2,100 crore and the revised estimates stood at Rs 1,925 crore. The National Mental Health Programme saw an allocation of Rs 40 crore in this year’s budget. The government had allocated Rs 50 crore for 2018-19 fiscal, but the revised estimates for the programme were reduced to Rs 5.50 crore. The budgetary allocation for the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardio-vascular Disease and Stroke was reduced to Rs 175 crore this year from Rs 295 crore. The total budgetary allocation for the tertiary care programmes saw a Rs 200 crore dip, from Rs 750 crore in 2018-19 to Rs 550 crore in this fiscal. The revised estimates for the programme in the last fiscal was Rs 345 crore. An amount of Rs 64 crore has been earmarked for upgrading and strengthening nursing services, Rs 5 crore for upgrading pharmacy schools and colleges, Rs 800 crore for upgrading district hospitals and state government medical colleges (post-graduate seats). The government also allocated Rs 2,000 crore for converting district hospitals into new medical colleges and Rs 1,361 crore for strengthening government medical colleges (undergraduate) and central government health institutions. An amount of Rs 20 crore was allocated for setting up State Institutions of Paramedical Sciences and for setting up colleges of para-medical education. The allocation for the Department of Health Research for 2018-19 was raised to Rs 1,900 crore from the last budget’s allocation of Rs 1,800 crore, an increase of Rs 100 crore.
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