A nurse works in a general ward at a hospital in the Vanagaram area of Chennai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Budget 2019: Rs 62,398 Crore Outlay For Health Sector, Ayushman Bharat Gets Rs 6,400 Crore

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday announced Rs 62,659.12 crore outlay for the health sector in financial year 2019-20, the highest in the last two financial years.

The health outlay for this financial year saw an increase of around 19 percent over the 2018-19 fiscal when it was Rs 52,800 crore.

The budgetary allocation for the sector is Rs 60,908.22 crore, with Rs 6,400 crore earmarked for the centre's flagship health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna.

The AB-PMJAY is a flagship scheme of the union government that aims at providing annual health cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation to over 10.74 crore vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries).

Rs 249.96 crore has been allocated for setting up Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres under the National Urban Health Mission to provide comprehensive primary care close to the community, while Rs 1,349.97 crore has been earmarked for setting up health and wellness centres under the National Rural Health Mission.

Under the programme, nearly 1.5 lakh sub-centres and primary health centres will be transformed as health and wellness centres by 2022. These centre will be equipped to provide treatment for diseases such as blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and old age-related illness.

The allocation for the National Health Mission for 2019-20 was raised to Rs 32,995 crore from the last budgetary allocation of Rs 30,129.61 crore. The Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna which features under the NHM saw an allocation of Rs 156 crore, a decline of Rs 1,844 crore from the last fiscal.

The government allocated Rs 2,500 crore to its National AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases Control Programme, an increase of Rs 400 crore from last budget’s allocation of Rs 2,100 crore.

The budgetary allocation for the All India Institute of Medical Sciences has been increased to Rs 3,599.65 crore from Rs 3,018 crore in the 2018-19 fiscal.

The National Mental Health Programme saw a decline from Rs 50 crore to Rs 40 crore while the budgetary allocation for the National Programme for Prevention And Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardio-vascular Disease and Stroke was reduced to Rs 175 crore from Rs 295 crore.

The total budgetary allocation for the tertiary care programmes saw a Rs 200-crore dip, from Rs 750 crore in 2018-19 to Rs 550 crore in this fiscal.

Rs 64 crore has been earmarked for upgrading and strengthening nursing services, Rs 5 crore for upgrading pharmacy schools and colleges, Rs 800 crore for upgrading district hospitals and state government medical colleges (post-graduate seats).

The government allocated Rs 2,000 crore for converting district hospitals into new medical colleges and Rs 1,361 crore for strengthening government medical colleges (undergraduate) and central government health institutions and Rs 20 crore for setting up State Institutions of Paramedical Sciences in the states and for setting up colleges of para-medical education.

Also read: Budget 2019: Key Takeaways From Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget Speech

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