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New Delhi : Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and profusely thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for moving health and well being to the centrestage of India’s governance as the country battles COVID and is also targeting to eliminate diseases like TB and immunise India’s children against twelve communicable diseases.

Dr Vardhan said, “Investment on Health Infrastructure in Budget 2021 has increased 2.37 times or 137%. The focus on strengthening three areas – Preventive health, curative health and well-being with Total Allocation to Health Sector being Rs 2,23,846 Crore will be of immense help to the country at this critical juncture.” He stated that the Government has once again under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi  fulfilled the commitment of not only providing relief in the times of COVID-19 but has also turned the crisis into an opportunity for further growth and development, according to a PIB release.

He also expressed his elation at the renewed focus on Jal Jeevan Mission, the second phase of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Urban) and the Clean Air Initiative which target the holistic health of India’s citizens as these schemes are designed to reduce the disease burden of communicable diseases by curbing their transmission and prevent those caused by pollution

Dr Vardhan lauded the Pradhan Mantri Aatma Nirbhar Swasthya Bharat Yojana. With an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore over 6 years, the scheme will develop capacities of primary, secondary and tertiary care, health care systems, develop institutions for detection and cure of new and emerging diseases and strengthen the existing National Health Mission independent of it, he stated.

“The scheme will strengthen 17,000 rural and 11,000 urban health and wellness centres, set up integrated public health labs in all districts, and 3,382 block public health units in 11 States, establish critical care hospital blocks in 602 districts and 12 central institutions,” Dr Vardhan added.

Remisncing the big role played by NCDC and other Public Health Institutions in containing the COVID pandemic, he continued, “The National Centre for Disease Control will now have 5 regional branches and 20 metropolitan health surveillance units. The experiences of the country’s year long fight with COVID have shaped the Union Budget. This will give a tremendous boost to India’s health infrastructure.”

Pointing out that WHO has repeatedly stressed on the importance of clean water, sanitation and clean environment as a prerequisite to achieve universal health, the Minister said, “The Union Budget has announced launch of the Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban).  It aims at universal water supply in all 4,378 Urban Local Bodies with 2.86 crore household tap connections as well as liquid waste management in 500 AMRUT cities. It will be implemented over 5 years with an outlay of Rs 2,87,000 crore.”