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Focus On Health In Budget Testimony To India’s Commitment To Fight COVID-19: WHO South-East Asia

Budget 2021: World Health Organisation (WHO) South-East Asia Regional Director Poonam Khetrapal Singh lauded India for focusing on health in Union Budget and said it shows India’s commitment to build stronger health systems

Focus On Health In Budget Testimony To India's Commitment To Fight COVID-19: WHO South-East Asia
Highlights
  • Union Budget 2021-22 was released on February 1 by FM Nirmala Sitharaman
  • Finance Minister announced a budget of Rs. 2.23 lakh crores for healthcare
  • FM Nirmala Sitharaman allocated Rs. 35,000 for COVID-19 vaccine development

New Delhi: Asserting that focus on health in 2021-22 Budget is a testimony to “India’s commitment” to fight COVID-19, World Health Organisation (WHO) South-East Asia Regional Director Poonam Khetrapal Singh on Monday (February 1) lauded New Delhi for pro-actively handling pandemic and for helping other countries of the Southeast Asian region with supplies and vaccine. Earlier in the day, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented Union Budget 2021-22 in the Parliament. Ms Sitharaman announced that the total budget outlay for healthcare is 2.23 lakh crores with Rs. 35,000 crores allocated for COVID-19 vaccine development.

Also Read: Budget 2021: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Announces Rs. 35,000 Crore For COVID-19 Vaccines

Focus on health in Budget is testimony to India’s commitment to fighting COVID. It also shows India’s commitment to build stronger health systems. Right from the beginning, India has been pro-actively handling pandemic, Ms Singh said.

“It has not only done this for its own country but it has also gone out of its way to support other countries of the Southeast Asian region with supplies and now vaccines so that those who are vulnerable, their needs are also addressed, ” she added.

Ms Sitharaman on Monday (February 1) informed that the budget outlay for health increased to Rs. 2,23,846 crores in 2021-22, an increase of 137 per cent in comparison to the previous year’s budget. The Minister further informed that the pneumococcal vaccine, limited to only 5 states at present, will be rolled out across the country.

This will avert more than 50,000 child deaths annually, she said.

India has gifted the COVID-19 vaccine to several countries including Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bahrain.

Also Read: Serum Institute Seeks Drugs Controller General Of India’s Nod For Clinical Trials Of COVID-19 Vaccine Covovax

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.

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