The Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1, 2021, announced a centrally sponsored scheme- Pradhan Mantri Aatmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana under Union Budget 2021. The scheme is with an outlay of Rs. 64,180 crores over the period of six years.
The Budget 2021 was the first to be presented in the Parliament, after the coronavirus outbreak. With major investments to strengthen healthcare, it saw an emphasis on the healthcare infrastructure along with research and on the establishment of hi-tech laboratories.
The Union Finance Minister before mentioning the scheme in the Parliament stated that the investment in health infrastructure has been increased in this budget substantially. She added that while taking a holistic approach to health, the government focuses on strengthening three areas- Preventive, Curative, and well-being.
PM Aatmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana aims at developing the capacities of the primary, secondary, and tertiary health sector.
The scheme will focus on strengthening the existing national institutions as well as create new institutions for detecting and curing new and emerging diseases. It will be an addition to NHM- National Health Mission.
As the budget 2021 majorly emphasized the health infrastructure, there has been an 82% increase in the health sector outlay over the budget of 2020-2021. The funds for the health and family welfare have been increased from Rs. 65,011.8 crores in 2020-21 to Rs. 71,268.77 crores in 2021-22. For the health research, on the other hand, the government investment has been increased from Rs. 2,100 crores to Rs. 2,663 crores.
While talking about the increased investment in the health sector, the Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan stated this step emphasizes the government’s commitment to enhance the health capacity of the country.
He added that when India started its fight against the Coronavirus pandemic, the country had only one laboratory, the National Institute of Virology, Pune, where tests can be conducted. But under the new Pradhan Mantri Aatmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana, four such regional NIVs will be established.