COVID-19 impact: Budget 2021 to see considerable increase in health sector allocation

The 15th Finance Commission has reportedly recommended that India’s combined public health expenditure be increased to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product by 2023-24, which is nearly double of 1.26 percent health outlay by central and state governments in 2019-20, as per an assessment by Niti Aayog.

January 22, 2021 / 04:02 PM IST

As Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is set to present Budget 2021 in the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic, India’s combined public health expenditure would be increased to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2023-24 while the health outlay is set to see a considerable increase for FY22.

The 15th Finance Commission has recommended that India’s combined public health expenditure be increased to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product by 2023-24, nearly double of 1.26 percent health outlay by central and state governments in 2019-20, as per an assessment by Niti Aayog.

The Centre is also planning to considerably increase its own outlay in health for 2021-22, which would be separate from what the states would allot to the sector.

In its report for 2021-22 to 2024-25, the 15th Finance Commission has also likely recommended that governments move to a fiscal deficit target range rather than a fixed number, and the creation of a separate central cadre for doctors and medical professionals, to combat the issue of shortage of essential personnel.

Budget 2021 wishlist: What homebuyers want from FM Nirmala Sitharaman

Close

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

View more
How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

View more
Show

In Budget 2020-21, the central government made a total allocation of Rs 67,111.80 crore for the health sector, against Rs 64,559.12 crore in 2019-20 budget.

India ranks 184th out of 191 nations in terms of healthcare spending as percentage of GDP, as per the World Health Organization.

The one-time provisioning and additional expenditure on healthcare will impact the centre’s fiscal deficit. However, as FM Sitharaman has made it clear publicly, these considerations take a back seat compared to the need to ramp up public spending.

The team behind Union Budget 2021-22

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the vaccination drive with healthcare workers at the frontline of India's COVID-19 battle getting their first jabs on January 16.

A total of 9,99,065 beneficiaries have so far been vaccinated for COVID-19 through 18,159 sessions held till the evening of January 21, the sixth day of the immunisation drive, according to a provisional report of the Union Health Ministry.

India’s drug regulator has approved two vaccines - Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech and Covishield from the Oxford/AstraZeneca stable being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) -- for emergency use in the country.

According to the government, the shots will be offered first to an estimated one crore healthcare workers and around two crore frontline workers, and then to persons above 50 years of age, followed by persons younger than 50 years of age with associated comorbidities.
Kamalika Ghosh
first published: Jan 22, 2021 04:02 pm

stay updated

Get Daily News on your Browser
Sections