New Delhi [India], February 1 (ANI): Asserting that focus on health in 2021-22 Budget is a testimony to "India's commitment" to fight COVID-19, World Health Organisation (WHO) South-East Asia Regional Director Poonam Khetrapal Singh on Monday lauded New Delhi for pro-actively handling pandemic and for helping other countries of the Southeast Asian region with supplies and vaccine.
Earlier in the day, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented Union Budget 2021-22 in the Parliament. Sitharaman announced that the total budget outlay for healthcare is 2.23 lakh crores with Rs 35,000 crores allocated for COVID-19 vaccine development.
"Focus on health in Budget is testimony to India's commitment to fighting COVID. It also shows India's commitment to build stronger health systems. Right from the beginning, India has been pro-actively handling pandemic," Singh said.
"It has not only done this for its own country but it has also gone out of its way to support other countries of the Southeast Asian region with supplies and now vaccines so that those who are vulnerable, their needs are also addressed, " she added.
Sitharaman on Monday informed that the budget outlay for health increased to Rs 2,23,846 crores in 2021-22, an increase of 137 per cent in comparison to the previous year's budget.
The Minister further informed that the pneumococcal vaccine, limited to only 5 states at present, will be rolled out across the country. "This will avert more than 50,000 child deaths annually," she said.
India has gifted the COVID-19 vaccine to several countries including Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bahrain. (ANI)
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