Proposals for healthcare infra, Covid-19 vaccine allocation promising: Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

BENGALURU: The government’s proposals for the healthcare sector in the Union Budget 2021-22 would encourage more research and development (R&D), while an allocation of Rs.35000 crore for Covid-19 vaccine is promising, said industry leaders.

Stating that the allocation for Covid-19 vaccination, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, executive chairperson,

, said the government should also involve the private sector to speed up distribution.

“The allocation of over Rs 35,000 crore towards Covid-19 vaccination is promising given the government’s strong focus on immunisation. We do not have a shortage of vaccines in India unlike many other countries globally, and the need of the hour is to deploy these vaccines with scale and speed. Therefore, the government should involve the private sector in the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines so that it reaches the maximum number of people at the shortest period of time,” said Mazumdar-Shaw.

She added that there has been a “huge boost in healthcare spending” and a “focus on monetization and privatization of public sector assets and even government land can spur a V-shaped growth recovery of the Indian economy after the pandemic”.

While the government has allocated Rs. 35000 crore for Covid-19 vaccine and assured more funds if necessary; it has announced a budget outlay of Rs. 2,23,846 crore for health and wellbeing.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has also proposed to set up a national institution for One Health, a Regional Research Platform for World Health Organisation South East Asia region, nine biosafety level (BSL) 3 laboratories and four regional National Institutes for Virology.

“Overall these announcements are rightly directed to support healthcare (sector) not only in terms of expenditure but also to support R&D. The BSL 3 labs are aimed to have high-end research infrastructure for airborne pathogen viruses and bacteria and making them available across different parts of the country. That is definitely a good announcement,” said Taslimarif Saiyed, chief executive officer and director, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP)

More national virology institutes would increase the capacity for development of diagnostics and during the lockdown the access was limited in absence of such institutes, added Saiyed.

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