Total Allocation For Health Stands At 2.1 Per Cent Of GDP
The total allocation for health in the Budget 2023-24 stood at 2.1 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with a total allocation of 89,155 crore- 0.34 per cent higher than the last year allocation which was INR 86,200 cr.
While addressing the Parliament, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman came with a clear focus on encouraging research and development by the pharmaceuticals industry and promotion of medical research both by the private and public sectors.
Sitharaman also announced a programme for the elimination of sickle cell anaemia, with the universal screening of seven crore people in tribal areas where the disease is more common. “A mission to eliminate sickle cell anaemia by 2047 will be launched that will entail awareness creation and universal screening of 7 cr people in the 0-40 years in tribal areas along with counselling,” Sitharaman said in her speech. Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited disease where a person has misshapen haemoglobin, with less ability to carry oxygen.
The finance minister said that 157 new nursing colleges would be set up in core locations, along with the existing 157 medical colleges that have been established since 2014. She also pointed out that India has administered 220 crore Covid vaccines to 102 crore people since the vaccination drive started.
Included in this is the budget estimate for the department of health research — at INR 2980 crore — which is less than last year’s estimate of INR 3,200 crore, but slightly more than the 2022-23 revised estimate of INR 2775 crore.
The budget also hiked taxes on cigarettes by 16 per cent. “National Calamity Contingent Duty (NCCD) on specified cigarettes was last revised three years ago. This is proposed to be revised upwards by about 16 per cent,” Sitharaman said.
Addressing the health care announcements made by the minister, Dr. Tathagato Rai Dastidar stated, “The newly announced focus on screening and eradicating sickle cell anaemia in the country is a step in the right direction. Anaemias and other haematological disorders are endemic in tribal populations of the country. Use of advanced digital technologies can help vastly increase the scale of screening than what is possible today.”
He also added, “The proposed National Data Governance Policy, which provides access to anonymized data, will go a long way in supporting the stated mission of making AI work in India.”