The Finance Minister has earmarked Rs 23,220 crore more for Public Health

Amid the second wave of the Covid pandemic, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has allocated Rs 50,000 crore as relief to the health sector.

The Finance Minister on Monday has announced a Rs 1.1 lakh crore loan guarantee scheme for COVID-affected sectors which is bifurcated into two parts, one is Rs 50,000 crore that has been allocated to the health sector and the other one is Rs 60,000 crore for other sectors.

The Rs 50,000 package for the health sector is aimed at scaling medical infrastructure targeting underserved areas.

The Finance Minister announced guarantee cover for expansion and new projects related to health/medical infrastructure in cities other than eight metropolitan cities.
Under this, a cover of 50% has been allocated for expansion and 75% for new projects.

Meanwhile, for aspirational districts, guarantee cover of 75% for both new projects and expansion. The maximum loan of Rs. 100 crore has been sanctioned with a duration of up to 3 years. The Interest rate is capped at 7.95%.

The finance minister has earmarked Rs 23,220 crore more for Public Health. This will be used as funding for short-term HR augmentation through medical students (interns, residents, final year) and nursing students, increase availability of ICU beds, oxygen supply at central, district and sub-district level, ensure adequate availability of equipment, medicines; access to tele-consultation and ambulance services.

The funding for public health will also be used to enhance testing capacity and supportive diagnostics, strengthen capacity for surveillance and genome sequencing.

According to the Finance Ministry, the Rs 15,000 Cr Emergency Health Systems Project (2020-21) led to 25-fold increase in COVID dedicated hospitals, setting up of 7,929 COVID health centres, 9,954 COVID care centres, 7.5 times increase in oxygen supported beds, 42 fold increase in isolation beds, 45 fold increase in ICU beds.