Health top priority for Budget 2021

New Delhi, Dec 19 (UNI) Health and investment in the sector are high on the government’s priority list as it is seeking big ideas and inputs for Budget 2021-22 and help the pandemic- hit economy emerge as the engine of global growth, indicated Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The minister on Saturday held her 10th Pre-Budget consultations with leading economists in connection with the forthcoming Budget that she has said to be a “never before” Budget.

On Friday. she had consultations with captains of industry, services and trade.

Addressing the Partnership Summit 2020, organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry in collaboration with the Department for Promotion of Industry during the day, Sitharaman said growth-inducing ideas and inputs derived from introspection by industry would be used for creating a “Budget as never before” and help India’s economic resurgence that will help the world to recover.

Speaking on ‘Partnerships for Lives, Livelihood and Growth’, the theme of the Summit, she said the three key words have engaged the attention of policy planners across the world and there was need to build synergies between these elements.

The minister alluded that health and investment in health would be the top priority for the government in near future.

This would entail more funding not only for buildings and infrastructure but also for creating capacities for frontline workers such as doctors, technology and skills for use of telemedicine, among others. The Budget would take note of all the inputs received from the health sector to take this forward.

She further said that India was fortunate to have the facility and capacity to not only produce the vaccine but also export the same for humanity’s sake.

She invited private participation to help the health sector scale up, by investing in medicinal R&D, biotech, and pharma R&D, among others.

The minister maintained that there would be a new canvas for addressing livelihood issues in the post-pandemic era. Newer systems such as work from home, new technology adoption, etc would become a part of emerging work culture for which the workers would need to be provided right skills and training. The government is engaging with stakeholders so that jobs are defined better and there is scope for a new crop of workers, women, and youth in employment.

On growth, the finance minister said that while the pandemic created significant stress across the spectrum, the disruption was much less in rural India which showed its resilience. Future policies would need to address the right engines of growth, according to her.


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