Showing posts from February, 2022

Budget’s missed healthcare opportunity

The Covid pandemic has amply demonstrated the health sector’s direct and indirect intersectoral impacts and its devastating power in creating disruption. It was, therefore, not surprising to see its imprint on the Economic Survey. Given the learnings of the pandemic, it was reasonable to expect a “health-centred” budget. That was not to be. The budget’s main focus is on increasing capital expenditures for expanding the economic infrastructure under the PM Gati Shakti scheme. TV discussions centred around the GDP, as if a 7.7 per cent or an 8.2 per cent recovery holds any meaning for the millions who have been impoverished by the pandemic-induced income losses, hunger, sickness and trauma. Inequalities have widened. An estimated Rs 70,000 crore have been spent by the people out-of-pocket in this short time for medical treatment that the government ought to have provided. Spending at a time when earnings were down, pushed millions below the poverty line and hunger has emerged as a major