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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting the Union Budget 2021, stated that "healthcare and wellbeing" was the first and most important pillar to be focused on this year. She announced the launch of a special scheme to strengthen the health infrastructure in the country.
The 'Prime Minister Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana' will be launched with an investment of ₹64,180 crores to be implemented over six years. This will strengthen the National Centre for Disease Control. Besides this, the government will also set up 15 Health Emergency Centres. The announcement gains importance at a time when India's healthcare sector has been on the spotlight during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Sitharaman said that the budget was prepared under extraordinary circumstances. Since the country is facing its worst contraction since 1952, hence, the budget had been prepared accordingly.
The government will also provide ₹35,000 crores for COVID-19 vaccination in 2021-22, she said, adding that it is committed to providing more funds.
"Today, India has two vaccines available and has begun safeguarding not only her own citizens against COVID-19 but also those of 100 or more countries. It has added comfort to know that two more vaccines are expected soon," said Sitharaman in her Budget speech.
Additionally, an Urban Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0 will be launched with an outlay of ₹1.48 lakh crore over five years.
Physical and financial capital and infrastructure; inclusive development for aspirational India; innovation and R&D; reinvigorating human capital; minimum government and maximum governance along with healthcare have bee stated to be the budget's six pillars.
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