You may find this programme a little special. This time, we have decided to discuss in detail all the aspects that have been planned in the budget with different sectors that are directly concerned with the provisions of this budget so that when the new budget comes into force from April 1, all the schemes become applicable from the same day, are taken forward and the months of February and March are utilized for this preparation.
Now that we have preponedthe budget by about a month, we have two months' time. Therefore, we are constantly talking to the people of different sectors so as to get the maximum advantage. Earlier, we discussed with all those concerned with infrastructure and defence sectors. Today, I have got the opportunity to talk to the people of the health sector.
The budget allocated to the health sector in this year's budget is unprecedented and shows the government’s commitment to provide better healthcare to every citizen. In a way, last year was like a kind of ordeal for the country, for the world, for the whole of mankind, and especially for the health sector.
I am happy that all of us and the health sector of the country have succeeded in this ordeal. We have succeeded in saving the lives of many. Within a few months, the way country set up a network of about 2500 labsand reached a milestone of 21 crore tests from a mere dozen tests, all of which has been possible because of the cooperation between the government and the private sector.
Corona taught us a lesson that we not only have to fight the pandemic only today but also to prepare the country for any such situation in future. Therefore, it is equally necessary to strengthen every sector associated with healthcare.We have to focus on everything from medical equipment to medicines, from ventilators to vaccines, from scientific research to surveillance infrastructure, from doctors to epidemiologists so that the country is better prepared for any health disaster in future.
This is the inspiration behind the PM AatmaNirbharSwasth Bharat Scheme. Under this scheme, it has been decided that a modern ecosystem would be developed from research to testing and treatment in the country itself. The PM AatmaNirbharSwasth Bharat Schemewould enhance our capabilities in every spectrum. As per the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission, local bodies will get more than Rs 70,000 crore rupees keeping health services in mind. That is, the government's emphasis is not only on investment in health care but also to expand the health care access to far flung areas of the country. We also have to keep in mind that the investment in the health sectornot only improves health but also increases employment opportunities.
The world has taken note of India's robust health sector which has demonstrated its experience and ability during Corona. Today the prestige of India’s health sector and the trust in it has reached a new level all over the world. We have to make our preparations keeping this trust in mind also. It is because of this trust that the demand for Indian doctors is going to grow more in the world in the future. You write it down the demand for Indian nurses and paramedical staff will rise all over the world. In the meantime, Indian medicines and vaccines have gained a new trust. We also have to prepare for their growing demand. It is natural that people will take note of our medical education system and its trust will also increase. In the near future, students from other countries are also likely to come to study in India for medical education.We should also encourage it.
During the corona, we have developed expertise in the manufacture of ventilators and other medical equipment. India will also have to work expeditiously to meet their global demand. Can India dream of providing all the necessary medical equipment to the world in a cost effective manner? How can India become a global supplier? And I am sure the world will turn to India’s health sector if there is an affordable, sustainable mechanism and user friendly technology.
The government's budget is definitely a catalytic agent,but things will materialize only when we all work together.
Our government's approach to health is slightly different as against the earlier governments. After the budget, you would find us taking forward the issues of cleanliness, nutrition, wellness and health planning of Ayush together in a holistic approach. Earlier the health sector was seen in a fragmented manner and was handled accordingly.
Our government is approaching health issues in a holistic, integrated and focused manner rather than in a fragmented manner. Therefore, we are focusing on wellness and not just in treatment in the country. We have adopted an integrated approach from prevention to cure. We are working on a four-pronged strategy to keep India healthy.
The first front is the prevention of illness and promotion of wellness. Measures such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, focus on yoga, nutrition, timely care and treatment of pregnant women and children, ensuring clean drinking water are part of it.
The second one is to provide cheap and effective treatment to the poorest of the poor. Schemes like Ayushman Bharat and Pradhan Mantri Jan AushadhiKendras are working towards the same.
The third is to increase the quantity and quality of health infrastructure and health care professionals. Institutions like AIIMS are being expanded in the far-flung states for the past six years. Creating more and more medical colleges in the country is part of this approach.
The fourth is to work on mission mode and in a focused way to overcome obstacles in a timely manner. Mission Indradhanush has been extended to the tribal and far-flung areas of the country.
While the world has set 2030 as the target to eradicate TB, India has set 2025 as the target. And I would like to pay special attention to TB during this time because TB also spreads from droplets of the infected people. Wearing masks and early diagnosis and treatment are also important in prevention of TB.
If we use the experience that we have gained during Corona and apply the same practices in the fight against TB, it will be very easy for us to win the battle against TB.And, therefore, in the wake of the experience of corona, the resultantmass-awakening and the contribution of the people regarding prevention of this disease, we can realize the dream of TB-free India by 2025 if we tweak the same model with necessary changes and minor additions and alterations.
Similarly, you would recall that thousands of children would die every year due to meningitis in places like Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh which is also known as Purvanchal. Parliament also used to discuss it. Once while taking part in the discussion on the subject, our present Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi ji broke down in view of the death of those children. But since he became the chief minister there, he adopted a focused approach. He put everything behind it and today we are getting very positive results. We stressed on preventing the spread of meningitis and increased the treatment facilities and its impact can be seen.
Our network of AYUSH has also done a great job during the Corona period. Our AYUSH infrastructure has also been of great help in the country regarding increasing immunity and scientific research besides human resources.
The world is experiencing the contribution of our ingredients and decoction along with India’s medicines and vaccines. Our traditional medicines have also created a special imprint on the mind of the world. All those who are associated with traditional medicines and Ayurvedic traditions should focus that their production is also global.
The way the world is welcoming yoga,it is turning towards holistic health care in the same way. The attention of the world has been drawn towards side-effects-free health care. India's traditional medicines can be of great use in this regard. The traditional medicines of India are mainly herbal based and can attract the fancy of the world. The people are convinced that it can cause no harm. Can we push it further? Can our health budget and the people working in this field do something together?
It is a matter of happiness for us after seeing the strength of our traditional medicines during the coronaand it is a matter of pride for all those who believe in traditional medicinesof Ayurveda and those associated with medical profession that the World Health Organisation (WHO) is going to launch its Global Centre of Traditional Medicine in India. It has already made the announcement. The Government of India is also doing the necessary work in this regard. It is our responsibility to see that this honour reaches the world also.
This is the opportune moment to take the accessibility and affordability of the health sector to its next level. Therefore, the use of modern technology is being enhanced in the health sector. The Digital Health Mission would help the common people to get timely and effective treatment as per their convenience.
One more thing has been expedited to change the approach of the past years. These changes are very much important for AtmaNirbhar Bharat. Though we take pride in being the pharmacy of the world, we are still dependent on imports of raw materials for many products.
We have seen how bad the experience has been for our industry to depend on the raw materials for medicines and medical devices. This is not right. It also causes immense difficulty in providing affordable medicines and equipment to the poor. We have to find a way. We have to make India self-reliant in these areas. Four special schemes have been launched in this regard recently. It is also mentioned in the Budget, you must have studied it.
Under this, production linked incentives are being offered for the production of raw material of medicines and medical equipment in the country itself. Similarly, the construction of mega parks for the manufacture of medicines and medical devicesis also getting good response.
The country does not just want last mile health access; it should be available to each corner of the country and the far-flung areas. As it happens during elections and we also read reports that a polling booth was set up to facilitate voting for a single voter. Similarly, the same approach is needed in both the health and education sectors that we will reach till the last person. This should be our attitude and we have to insist on it and give our best. Therefore, we need to focus on access to health in all the regions. The country needs wellness centres, district hospitals, critical care units, health surveillance infrastructure, modern labs and telemedicine facilities. We have to work at every level, promote every level.
We have to ensure that the people of the country, whether they are the poorest of the poor, whether they live in remote areas, get the timely and best treatment possible. And, when the central government, all the state governments, the local bodies and the private sector of the country work together, there will be better results.
The private sector can also support PPP models in building a network of public health laboratories along with a stake in PM-JAY. There may also be a partnership in the National Digital Health Mission, citizens' digital health records and other cutting edge technologies.
I am confident that we will all be able to find ways for a strong partnership and self-reliant solutions for a healthy and capable India. The budget has come. But it is my request to all the stakeholders and the people who are experts in this field with whom we are discussing to share their expectations. Not all of your expectations might have found a place in the budget, but this is not the last budget. We can consider it in the next budget. What is important is now to see how fast we can implement the budget proposals and develop systems to help us reach the common man. We discuss the nuances of the budget in parliament, but your experience and your suggestions are equally important. We are discussing the budget with the concerned people for the first time. When we hold pre-budget discussions, they revolve around suggestions, but when we hold post-budget discussions, it is all about finding solutions.
So, let us together find the solutions, and move forward rapidly. The government and you are not isolated. The government is also yours and you are also for the country. Keeping in mind the poorest of the poor people of the country, let us together build a bright future for the health sector and the healthy India. You have taken out your time. Your guidance will be very handy. Your active participation will be of great use.
I once again thank you for your time and your valued suggestions will help us in moving forward. You will continue to suggest and be a partner as well. You will also have expectations, but you will also take responsibility. With this belief, many thanks!