Budget 2021 could allot upto Rs 80,000 crore for Covid-related expenditures
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is expected to present the Union Budget on February 1, 2021.
The Union Budget 2020-21 is likely to make a one-time provision for the procurement, storage, transportation and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, and filling certain gaps in India's public healthcare system which the pandemic has exposed.
According to a top official, the provisioning could be as high as Rs 80,000 crore. This will just be from the centre, with states and the private sector also budgeting their own expenditure as India prepares for a vaccination drive that could be the largest in the world.
Additionally, the Modi government is learnt to have accepted the recommendations of the Fifteenth Finance Commission (15th FC) on the health sector. The recommendations, which will be made public along with the budget, likely include nearly doubling India's combined public health expenditure as percentage of GDP, and creating a dedicated central cadre of medical professionals.