New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman presented the much-anticipated Union Budget 2023-24 in Parliament today. This year’s budget has come against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic‘s impact fading out in the country and the declining rates of daily COVID-19 infections. Similar conclusions can be drawn from the budgetary allocations made by the government. The healthcare budget has catered to a wide range of issues, likewise improving the medical infrastructure of the country and creating skilled human resources for futuristic medical technologies, the sickle cell anaemia elimination mission’, and investment in medical research as well.
Some of the key takeaways from the Healthcare Budget 2023-24:
As proposed by India, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has declared 2023 the International Year of Millets (IYM). Finance Minister has called for popularising millets to facilitate health benefits. With this budget, the government aims to make India a global hub for ‘Shree Anna’, the Indian Institute of Millet Research, Hyderabad will be supported as the Centre of Excellence for sharing best practices, research, and technologies at the international level.
The government plans to introduce new pharmaceutical programmes to promote research and innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. Specific priority areas would be identified, which the government would promote to attract private investment.
The centre aims to offer multidisciplinary courses on medical devices. That will be supported in existing institutions to ensure the availability of skilled manpower for futuristic medical technologies, high-end manufacturing, and research.
A mission to eliminate sickle cell anaemia by 2047 will be launched by the government. It will entail raising awareness, universal screening of seven crore people in the age group of 0–40 years in affected tribal areas, and counselling through collaborative efforts of central ministries and state governments.
One hundred and fifty-seven new nursing colleges will be established in co-location with the existing 157 medical colleges established since 2014 to boost the medical infrastructure of the country.
To realise the new range of opportunities, business models, and employment potential, 100 labs for developing applications using 5G services will be opened. The labs will cover healthcare applications among others.
Faculty from public and private medical colleges as well as R&D teams from the corporate sector will have access to facilities in a few ICMR labs to conduct research to promote joint research and innovation.
The Finance Minister, during her budget speech, announced a green credit scheme under the Environmental Protection Act to promote behavioural change. This will encourage ecologically responsible and responsive behaviour on the part of businesses, people, and local organisations while also helping these organisations mobilise more resources.
To promote alternative fertilisers and balanced use of chemical fertilisers, the PM programme for restoration, awareness, nourishment and amelioration of Mother Earth- PM PRANAAM will be introduced. The programme will incentivise states/UTs to promote balanced chemical fertiliser usage.
Sitharaman announced in her address that the government has conducted the COVID-19 vaccination drive on an unparallel scale accomplishing 220 crore vaccinations to 102 crore people in the 75th year of independence.