The Union Budget 2021-22, presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today, rests on 6 core pillars. These include Health and well-being, Physical and financial capital and infrastructure, inclusive development for aspirational India, Reinvigorating human capital, Innovation and R&D and last but not the least, minimum government maximum governance. As India continues fight against Covid-19, the massive push to healthcare sector in Budget 2021-22 comes as an applaudable move.

In her opening remarks of the budget speech, FM Nirmala Sitharaman expressed that the budget has been prepared under circumstances like never before. What the country has endured with Covid-19 is Sui Generis. While India has 2 vaccines available and has started the process of safeguarding its own citizens and citizens of 100 and more countries, it is comforting to know that 2 and more vaccines are expected soon.

She added that India now has the lowest Covid-19 death rate of about 112 per million and one of the lowest active cases of about 130 per million, laying the foundation for an economic revival.

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Announcing the launch of a new healthcare centrally sponsored scheme ‘PM Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana with an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore over 6 years, FM further announced that the finance ministry has provided Rs 35,000 crore for Covid-19 vaccine in the year 2021-22 and is committed to provide even further if required. In addition to this, the Centre has also decided to roll out the pneumoccal vaccine across the country, which is currently limited to only 5 states as of now. The roll out is expected to avert more than 50,000 child deaths annually.