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Dr Harsh Vardhan lauds General Budget 2019-20

Union Budget has strengthened the health sector with 154.87 per cent increase for Ayushman Bharat, and 18.67 per cent increase in overall outlay, says the minister

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“The General Budget 2019-20 is a reflection of the pragmatism and visionary governance of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is development-oriented and people-centric. A landmark budget was presented today by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with the agenda of “putting the nation first,” said Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare while welcoming the Union Budget for the year 2019-20. Thanking the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Finance Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan further said that this is an inclusive budget which is pro-poor, pro-farmer, pro-downtrodden and for the development of all the sectors and the country at large.

Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that the comprehensive Budget has taken care of all sectors be it agriculture, transport, infrastructure, the social sector, small and medium farmers, women and children, entrepreneurs, youth, senior citizens and safety of citizens. “It is focussed on the development of the rural areas while also ensuring that India looks towards the future with growth in the digital sector and start-up India,” he added.

Vardhan further stated that the budget for the Health Ministry shows an appreciable increase of more than 18.67 per cent in the total outlay. This reflects the importance accorded to the health sector in the country, he added. There is an additional Rs 9859.12 cr allocated in BE 2019-20 against BE 2018-19. The BE 2018-19 was Rs 52800 cr, whereas that of the current FY is Rs. 62659.12 cr, he said. The flagship programme, Ayushmman Bharat has seen an increase of 154.87 per cent (Rs. 4956 cr) which covers the two pillars of Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) and PMJAY. There has been an increase of 92.44 per cent (Rs. 402.06cr) over the previous year in the ASHA Benefit package, whereas an additional Rs. 450.01 (8.57 per cent increase) has been allocated for immunisation of women and children.

Vardhan also said that as part of the 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 PMSSY, an additional 4.58 per cent has been allocated in BE 2019-20 over the previous FY. Additionally, Rs 3000 cr will be raised through Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) for PMSSY Projects during FY 2019-20, he added. The allocation for the North Eastern Institutes increased by 77.12 per cent

Also, as part of the Union Budget announced today, there has been an increase of 154.24% for FSSAI for strengthening of food testing system in the country including the provision of Mobile Food Testing Labs. In addition, the basic excise duty has been imposed on Tobacco and Tobacco products, which will help tobacco control effort,

The Department incurred an expenditure of Rs 52959.56 cr (ie 100.3% of BE 2018-19) during the last financial year.

As Minister of Science & Technology, Dr Harsh Vardhan said the proposed National Research Foundation (NRF)is a grand step which shall provide an extraordinary direction for consolidation and expansion of research, technology development and technology-led innovation, and a new fillip for the fulfilment of the vision of Prime Minister’s New India. As stated in the Union Budget, NRF will ensure that overall research ecosystem in the country is strengthened with focus on identified thrust areas relevant to our national priorities and towards basic science without duplication of efforts and expenditure.

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