Union budget gives boost to AYUSH sector

Grants-in-aid to state governments hiked to Rs 920 crore

Representative image Representative image

As the Covid-19 pandemic left people grappling with doctors and hospitals, traditional medicine got a new lease of life as it helped counter the symptoms of the deadly disease. This change in people's mindsets created a huge demand for ayurvedic and homoeopathic products. As a result, the government has given a boost to the Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) sector in this year's budget.

In the budget estimate for 2023-2024, the grants-in-aid to state governments under the Ministry of AYUSH is Rs 920 crore as compared to Rs 507.50 crore (revised estimate) in 2022-2023. Whereas, the grants-in-aid to UT governments is Rs 96 crore this year in comparison to last year's Rs 52.50 crore.

Apart from it, the budget for setting up of nation-wide network of laboratories for managing epidemics and national calamities has witnessed a fall of Rs 10 crore. It is Rs 60 crore this year. Previously, it was Rs 70 crore.

The National Pharmacovigilance Programme also witnessed a fall from Rs 10 crore to Rs 8.53 crore. It provides for a Central Sector Scheme with the objective to collect Adverse Drug Reaction (ADR) to commonly-prescribed medicines in India; and enables the maintenance of a database on the efficacy and safety of new drugs after their introduction in the country.

Establishment and strengthening of NCDC branches and health initiatives inter-sectoral coordination for preparation and control of zoonotic diseases and other neglected tropical diseases surveillance of viral hepatitis anti-microbial resistance also saw a rise of about Rs 3 crore. Earlier, it was Rs 52.46 crore; this year, it is Rs 55.54 crore.

The budget has also got a special focus for the National Tele Mental Health Programme with an allocation of Rs 133.73 crore. Last time, this amount was Rs 121 crore. The programme aims to provide universal access to equitable, accessible, affordable and quality mental health care through 24x7 tele-mental health counselling services as a digital component of the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) across all states and Uts.

Further, the budget for Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, has also increased from Rs 1,850 crore to Rs 1,923.10 crore.

The government has given a push to the National Digital Health Mission, which has been allocated Rs 341.02 crore in comparison to Rs 140 crore. It provides for creating a national digital health ecosystem that supports universal health coverage in an efficient, accessible, inclusive, affordable, timely and safe manner through provision of a wide range of data, information and infrastructure services, duly leveraging, open, interoperable, standards-based digital systems, and ensuring the security, confidentiality and privacy of health-related personal information.