BJP spokesperson says India needs to increase its health budget, maintains lockdown was a well-thought-out strategy
GN Bureau | November 19, 2020
Acknowledging that much needs to be done in the banking sector, BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra has said that the government was working on the nitty-gritties.
“As far as the Indian banking system is concerned, a lot is still to be done and rest assured work is under progress. The government is monitoring the nitty-gritties,” he said.
Patra was in live webinar with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, on Wednesday as part of the Visionary Talk series organised by the public policy and governance analysis platform.
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Patra said the recent merger of a slew of public sector banks and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) 2016 are some of the very important banking reforms and more reforms are being are brought to the fore gradually.
Speaking on prime minister Narendra Modi’s Atmanirbhar package and how it is going to help the MSME sector which has been badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the BJP leader said that the package is diligently dealing with the MSME sector. “Through the Governance Now webinar I would request all the participating audience [to] just be patient. We are moving in the right direction under the right leadership,” he said.
He said that with many manufacturing companies in the world looking to move out of China they are today coming to India which has now become the worlds’ green pasture and chosen destination. “We now need to facilitate this welcome change, particularly in the rural areas. The Rs 20 lakh crore Atmanirbhar package will prove to be a big impetus for infrastructure in rural and semi-urban areas and will, in turn, will bring in huge employment.”
Asked how India can ensure better health facilities to its people, Patra, who is also a general surgeon, acknowledged that India needs to increase its health budget. “Like the developed world, allocation of a good chunk of GDP to health infrastructure on the ground level only can improve health facilities in the country,” he said.
He hailed the Ayushman Bharat Yojana and said the scheme has insured 50 crore people across the country for free health treatment of up to Rs 5 lakh. He said that the number of medical seats and medical colleges, tertiary care centres like AIIMS and Jan Aushadhi Kendras have also been increased. Some of the most essential medicines are being made available at the village level through Jan Aushadhi Kendras. Costs of heart and knee transplants have come down by 90% and prices of diabetes, cancer, hypertension and essential medicines have been drastically cut down.
Asked if India’s “draconian” lockdown could have been implemented systematically, Patra said, “Initially you had to kill the 21-day cycle of pandemic and prepare for the resources because India is a resource-dearth country.
“When the country which never manufactured a single ventilator started manufacturing ventilators and became self-sufficient, when the country did not have a single Covid-19 testing laboratory, it is now doing 15 lakh tests daily, manufacturing 7-8 lakh N-95 masks per day and become self-sufficient and manufacturing and even exporting PPE kits now when it did not have any earlier… All this was done during the lockdown. It was well thought out. The lockdown was not planned by a single man but 11-12 experts groups consisting of medical, resources, manufacturing and others were part of the lockdown-and-unlock strategy. For that reason, despite the population density, India has the lowest mortality rate across the world," said Patra.
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