The Union Budget 2022 failed to cheer the healthcare sector with estimated allocation to the sector for 2022-23 just marginally higher at Rs 86,201 crore against the revised estimate for the previous year at Rs 86,000 crore.
Leading healthcare providers on Tuesday rued that the Budget has failed to address many of the long-pending demands of the industry.
Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI) Chairman Pavan Choudary told PTI that the pandemic has highlighted the scarcity of skilled healthcare workers at all levels. "We hope that through the plans to renovate National Skill Qualification Framework and launch a digital ecosystem for skilling, we will be able to bridge the skill gap," he said.
Choudhary said: "Though we still need to go through the fine print, the Budget has not addressed many of the issues highlighted by large parts of the healthcare industry like streamlining of GST and reduction of Customs duty."
Here's a look at how much the government has allocated to healthcare and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare:
However, Dr Krishna Reddy Nallamalla President, InOrder and South Asia Regional Director, ACCESS Health International told IANS, "A 10 per cent increase in allocation to health is not in line with the health policy aspiration of public spending of 2.5 per cent of GDP. Increased allocation to other social sectors that have a bearing on the health status of people is a saving grace."
Dr Gayatri Kamineni, COO, Kamineni Hospitals told the news agency that the Union Budget is a progressive one that holds the potential to tackle the economic challenges faced by the country in the post-Covid period.
"It is heartening to see Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's focus on sectors like health, including digital health ecosystem and mental health and wellbeing," she said.
However, Sitharaman in her Budget speech emphasised on a digital health ecosystem and focus on mental health to battle the effects of coronavirus. "The pandemic has accentuated mental health problems in people of all ages. To improve the access to quality mental health counselling and care services, a National Tele-Mental Health Programme will be launched," Sitharaman said in the Parliament.
She said that an open platform for the national digital health ecosystem will be rolled out. It will consist of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identities, consent framework and universal access to the health facilities.
(With agency inputs)
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