In a significant development, Minister of State for Health Anupriya Patel said that the new health policy is based on the tenets of universal healthcare and it aims to provide free drugs and diagnostics to all. She said that the healthcare budget this year is Rs 48,878 crore, which is a significant jump over last year’s figure of Rs 38,879 crore. The minister asserted that the healthcare sector is expected to reach USD 280 billion by 2020, which will open up immense opportunities for the private sector. It will also provide an opportunity to the government to increase GDP allocation to healthcare to 2.5% from the existing 1.2%.
Patel reiterated that healthcare is among the top priorities for the government. She said that the additional funds allocated to healthcare in the Union Budget will be utilized towards promotive and preventive healthcare, rather than just focusing on the traditional concept of sick care. She also talked about the government’s plan to encourage research and innovation in healthcare by providing funding for startups and single window approval system for firms and individuals.