Wednesday, May 23, 2018 | Last Update : 12:41 PM IST

Health start-ups, rural care likely to top Budget agenda

THE ASIAN AGE. | ANIMESH SINGH
Published : Jan 24, 2018, 1:16 am IST
Updated : Jan 24, 2018, 1:17 am IST

According to inputs received by the finance ministry from various stakeholders, the spending in the sector should be more than 2 per cent of the GDP.

 (Representational image)
  (Representational image)

New Delhi: Economic zones promoting start-ups in the health sector, along with an increased allocation for the key segment are likely to be announced in the Union Budget for 2018-19. Rural healthcare is also going to be a key focus area with a likelihood that diseases like hypertension could also be brought under the ambit of treatment in primary health centres.

There could also be a major upsurge in fund allocation for health. Currently, spending on it is only 1.4 per cent of the GDP. According to inputs received by the finance ministry from various stakeholders, the spending in the sector should be more than 2 per cent of the GDP.

On February 1, finance minister Arun Jaitley will present the last full- fledged budget of the NDA government before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections so the government is keen to promote entrepreneurship, jobs and innovation in the health sector, said sources privy to developments.

There is a likelihood that health economic zones could be announced in the budget with the aim of promoting start up incubators under them, they said.

The Narendra Modi-led government is bullish on innovation in various sectors as indicated by the setting up of the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) under the aegis of Niti Aayog to encourage new ideas. The proposed health economic zones could propel innovative ideas in the health sector, said sources.

Primary health centres located in rural areas, where only low-intensity diseases like fever, dysentery and mild infections are treated, are likely to be upgraded to handle high-intensity diseases like hypertension.

For this purpose, sources pointed out, a higher allocation will indeed be useful as larger number of doctors, support staff and equipments would be required in health centres.

The idea behind the plan is to provide access to high quality health facilities in villages and towns, instead of the rural poor seeking treatment in distant district hospitals, sources said.

The recently selected 115 backward districts (which are to be upgraded on various parameters like health, education and sanitation) are likely to be adequately funded for this purpose, sources said.

Tags: union budget, nda government, narendra modi, arun jaitley, primary health centres