Bharat Biotech, SII Welcome FM’s Emphasis on Health in Budget 2021

The Finance Minister named health as amongst six pillars of the budget, saying the COVID fight will continue in 2021

2 min read
Serum Institute of India was founded in 1966 while Bharat Biotech started in 1996 by Krishna M Ella and his wife. 

Announcing the Union Budget 2021-22, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman spoke about the role India will play in providing coronavirus vaccines to 100 plus countries, as she announced an additional vaccine fund of Rs 35,000 crore.

The finance minister said that the fight against COVID will continue well into 2021 and identified health and well-being as one of the six pillars of the Budget.

Welcoming this news, Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute of India, said, "Globally, spending on healthcare infrastructure and vaccine have given countries and their economies the best bang for their buck. Investments in these areas have prevented hospitalisations and resulted in a healthier and more productive workforce, thereby leading to an efficient economy.”

“Therefore we welcome the FM's emphasis on healthcare spending, and immunisation especially for COVID-19 and the pneumococcal vaccines as this will help India recover rapidly from this pandemic. Hopefully, this will also encourage more innovation and expansion in the sector,” added Poonawalla.

Serum Institute’s vaccine candidate, ‘Covishield’, is one amongst two in India which has emergency use authorisation. The other one is Bharat Biotech’s ‘Covaxin.’

Dr Krishna Ella, chairman & managing director, Bharat Biotech, found the budget announcement to be a great step ahead. “The finance minister’s commitment, to provide more funds in order to contain the coronavirus pandemic and ensure an effective, smooth path for the vaccination scheme, will help contain, and lead our nation towards accomplishing a COVID-19 free Bharat.”

The move to focus on preventive, curative health and well-being is very reassuring, Dr Ella added.

FY 2021-22 outlay for health and well-being is up by nearly 137 percent at Rs 2,23,846 crore from last year, said Finance Minister Sitharaman. The lay out plan, of ₹64,180 crore, will be invested over a period of six years to improve primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare and is over and above the National Health Mission.

Suchitra Ella, joint managing director, Bharat Biotech, called the new health schemes a “fiscal medicine to contain the pandemic, reduce disease burden for the population and the economy.”

“It’s encouraging to note the creation of 9 Bio Safety Lab-III (BSL-3) in this Budget, that will boost research & scientific discoveries. With this landmark budget, the Government of India has signalled its intention to make health a cornerstone of the future success of our country. The allocation to vaccines signals a shift to preventive healthcare, a validation of the fact that vaccines are the most cost effective healthcare interventions,” she added.

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