The Modi government has hiked the spending on health by around 18 per cent with allocation for the flagship `Ayushman Bharat` scheme, said to be one of the major reasons for people re-electing the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), jumping from Rs 2,400 crore to Rs 6,400 crore.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan welcomed the hike and said the health sector has been strengthened with an overall increase of 18.67 per cent. He said the hike in Ayushman Bharat has been 154.8 per cent.
But healthcare experts said there was no announcement of any benefits. “Surprisingly in the budget there was no mention of any benefits and plans for healthcare,” said Swati Deshpande, Director (Operations), Datar Cancer Genetics Limited.
“Easing of angel tax and relief from IT scrutiny for start-ups are great encouragement for the sector. While announcing large scale projects for electric cars, the government has completely ignored the bio-medical sector which has the potential to be a global research hub for fields like genetic research, bio-informatics and artificial intelligence,” she said.
The Budget also includes some important aspects such as increase in allocation for improvement of health services in north-eastern states which saw a rise of around 77.12 per cent.
As part of strengthening of the institutions, which form an integral pillar of health systems network in the country, the provision for infrastructure maintenance has been increased by 11.42 per cent, whereas for Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), an additional 4.58 per cent has been allocated.
In addition, Rs 3,000 crore will be raised through Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) for PMSSY projects during financial year 2019-20, said Harsh Vardhan.