New Delhi: The Indian health budget Saturday saw a dip of 5.7 percent with the Narendra Modi government Saturday announcing an outlay of Rs.33,152 crore for the sector, giving special emphasis to the promotion and development of AYUSH, the country's traditional methods of medicines.
The ministry of ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy (AYUSH) was allotted Rs.1,214 crore. AYUSH till last year was a department under the health ministry, but was carved out as a separate ministry last year by the Modi government which believes in promoting India's ancient methods of treatment.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the union budget in the Lok Sabha said that the health sector has been allotted Rs. 33,152 crore.
The budgetary allocation decreased by 5.7 percent as in the last fiscal it stood at Rs. 35,163 crore.
The department of health research under the health ministry got a hike of 9.2 percent with Rs.1,018.17 crore allotted to it compared to last year's Rs.932 crore, whereas the department of health and family welfare got a hike of a mere two percent as Rs.29,653 crore earmarked this year as compared to Rs.29,042 crore last fiscal.
The department of AIDS control also got a hike of just 7.4 percent. It was allotted Rs.1,397 crore this fiscal compared to Rs.1,300 crore last year.
The government also proposed to set up six more AIIMS like institutes in the country to improve the public health system in the country.
"In the fiscal year 2015-16, I propose to set up All India Institutes of Medical Sciences in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Assam," Jaitley said.
"Keeping in view the need to augment medical sciences in Bihar, I propose to set up another AIIMS-like institution in these states," he added.
With six more AIIMS-like institutes, the number of such super specialty institutes has gone up to 14 in the country.
The institutes have been named after the Delhi-based All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), which became functional in 1956 as an autonomous institution through an act of parliament to serve as a nucleus for nurturing excellence in all aspects of health care.
With the major budget earmarked to AYUSH, the government said the objective is to develop and promote the Indian systems of medicines in an organised and scientific manner.
Terming the budget as balanced, progressive, pragmatic and pro-people, Health and Family Welfare minister J.P. Nadda said "the budget will lead to all around social and economic development that is inclusive and outcome oriented".
He said "the resolve to support the health sector in a big way has been shown by the outlay for health in the budget of Rs.33,150 crore".
"Moreover, announcement of five AIIMS in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Assam and Tamil Nadu and AIIMS-like institute in Bihar will provide a quantum jump in healthcare in these states and the neighbouring areas," he added.
He assured that the ministry will implement these in the shortest possible time.
The announcements of various mechanisms in expanding the healthcare insurance to the needy is a laudable step towards making healthcare affordable and accessible to all, he added.