After a year of the pandemic, the Union Budget 2021-22 was tabled in the Parliament of India, which did not reflect any wisdom on the part of the Modi government. They had claimed that the health sector budget has been increased 137 per cent to 2.23 lakh crore for 2021-22 as against only 94.45 thousand crore in 2020-21. However, that amount brought forward is a boast actually veiled the real allocation announced for health sector. The outlay included budgets for even Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban), Swachch Bharat Mission, Clean Air programme, and many more.
We hope, this time Modi government will not resort to such hoodwinking of the people. Health budget must be focused on healthcare infrastructure, nurses, doctors, hospitals, other healthcare workers, equipments, medicines, medical and nursing colleges, and so on. Water, food, air, and countless other things do contribute in better health, but it would not be good on the part of the government to add all their budgets to health to show a big allocation.
The fact remains that contrary to claims being made by the Modi government regarding increased health expenditure in 2020 and 2021, India needs a substantial increase in the budget allocation to strengthen the entire healthcare system rather than simply focusing on meeting the emergency healthcare needs.
India needs a strong foundation on which the healthcare system can be restructured without which people’s health cannot be protected effectively, not only from the present COVID-19 threats from its emerging variants but also from the future threats. Additionally, Climate change issues are posing numerous other threats to our health, for which India needs to be prepared since it is one of the worst affected countries in the world.