Impetus to healthcare sector missing in Budget

News Network
February 1, 2022

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Fresh impetus to the healthcare sector was missing in the Union Budget 2022-23 presented in the Parliament on Tuesday, healthcare sector players and experts said.

D.V.S. Soma Raju, Executive Director, SLG Hospital, feels that while the existing healthcare machinery in India stood up to the challenge posed by Covid-19 pandemic and did its best to keep a possible disaster under check, this sector needed a fresh impetus to enhance and strengthen the healthcare net across the country.

"The Finance Minister, in her Union Budget speech, announced levy of 'Health & Education cess' for the year 2022-23 but did not specify where this additional money would be utilised. I strongly feel the government must directly invest or encourage more private investments in the healthcare sector to ensure semi-urban and rural locations receive quality healthcare facilities," he said.

He was also of the view that the government must encourage digital health avenues to spread operations across the length and breadth of the country.

Dr Krishna Reddy Nallamalla President, InOrder and South Asia Regional Director, ACCESS Health International, said: "A 10 per cent increase in allocation to health is not in line with the health policy aspiration of public spending of 2.5 per cent of GDP. Increased allocation to other social sectors that have a bearing on health status of people is a saving grace."

Dr Gayatri Kamineni, COO, Kamineni Hospitals, is of the view that the Union Budget is a progressive one that holds the potential to tackle the economic challenges faced by the country in the post-Covid period.

"It is heartening to see Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's focus on sectors like health, including digital health ecosystem and mental health and wellbeing," she said.

She hailed the announcement of the National Digital Health Ecosystem. "The open platform that will consist of digital registries of health providers, health facilities, unique health identity and universal access to health facilities, will go a long way in providing quality and on-demand healthcare to the country's people."

"Realising the tremendous pressure piled on the minds of the people of India due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the FM's announcement of the National Tele Mental Health programme couldn't have come at a more opportune time," Kamineni added.

Vishal Bali, Executive Chairman, Asia Healthcare Holdings, pointed out that the Budget is silent on the increase in public expenditure on healthcare and the path to 2.5 per cent of GDP spent on healthcare which is the much-needed reform path for this sector and enablement of healthcare access to India.

"However, the focus on digital healthcare with the National Digital Health Ecosystem is a welcome move that will include digital registries of health professionals and facilities, a unique health identity, and help strengthen the foundation of universal access to health care facilities. The announcement of a national telemedicine-led mental health program with a network of 23 telemental health centers, with Nimhans serving as the nodal centres is also a step in the right direction," he said.

"However, reform in paramedical education for faster enablement of clinical/paraclinical talent is still not addressed. While the FM led Budget 21 made healthcare a central subject, Budget 22 does lack continuity of that vision," he added. 

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News Network
April 13,2024

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Mysuru, Apr 13: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will be visiting Mysuru on Sunday, is welcome in the state.

"Let him come and go. He is the PM. But he should tell people about what he has done to the people of Karnataka. Let him answer about the injustice done by the Union Government towards the state in terms of giving tax share, not releasing drought relief funds yet and also about the unemployment issue," he said.

The Chief Minister was speaking to media people near his residence at Sharadadevi Nagar in Mysuru on Saturday.

Reacting to a question on BJP's slogan, 'Teesri Baar Modi Sarkar, Ab Ki Baar Char Sau Paar' (Modi government for the third time with over 400 seats), CM Siddaramaiah said, "This slogan is only a strategy to divert the minds of people. Because, according to me, the NDA will not get an absolute majority/simple majority this time in the Parliament elections."

"I.N.D.I.A. bloc and the parties which are against BJP will get a majority in the Lok Sabha polls," he said.

Responding to the statement of BJP leaders that 'even if B R Ambedkar comes, the Indian Constitution cannot be changed', Siddaramaiah said, "BJP is always against the Indian Constitution. Savarkar and the second Chief of RSS M S Golwalkar both opposed the Indian Constitution written by Baba Saheb B R Ambedkar on January 26, 1950."

"When BJP MP Ananth Kumar Hegde spoke about changing the Indian Constitution twice, why wasn't he punished? Why wasn't he suspended from the party? Why didn't they drop him from the cabinet?"

"Hegde was not given a ticket for the LS polls, as he had not done any work in the five years and was only active for the last three-four months of his term. The reason Hegde was not given a ticket was because BJP had realised that he would lose the elections, and not because of his statement related to the Constitution" the Chief Minister said.

Meanwhile, regarding the nabbing of the two key suspects in the Rameshwaram Cafe blast case in Bengaluru, Siddaramaiah said, "I thank the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and also the Karnataka police for tracing and arresting the accused in the case, in Kolkata."

"They will be brought to Bengaluru and further information related to the case will be known after their interrogation," he said.

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News Network
April 5,2024

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Bengaluru: Actor-turned-politician and independent MP from Mandya in Karnataka Sumalatha Ambareesh on Friday joined the BJP.

Veteran BJP leader B S Yediyurappa, state President B Y Vijayendra, Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly R Ashoka, national General Secretary in-charge of elections in Karnataka Radha Mohan Das Agarwal and former Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda were among those who welcomed the 60-year-old into the party fold at its state headquarters here.

With BJP ceding Mandya seat to its alliance partner JD(S) in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, Sumalatha, after consulting her supporters and wellwishers in Mandya, on Wednesday announced her decision to opt out of the elections, and join the BJP.

The wife of popular film star M H Ambareesh, Sumalatha had earlier staked claim for BJP ticket for re-election from the Mandya seat that was represented by her late husband in the past. But the party convinced her and gave it to JD(S).

JD(S) state President and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy is now the alliance's joint candidate from Mandya.

Kumaraswamy on Sunday met Sumalatha, and sought her cooperation in the polls.

As an independent candidate, Sumalatha had won the seat in 2019 by defeating the then Chief Minister Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil Kumaraswamy of JD(S), by a margin of 1,25,876 votes, with the BJP's support.

It was a bitterly fought election back then. The JD(S) was in an alliance with the Congress at the time.

Sumalatha entered politics in 2019 and plunged into the poll arena as an independent, after the Congress, of which her late husband was a part, denied her the ticket, as the party had ceded the Mandya seat to its then alliance partner JD(S). Both parties were then running a coalition government under Kumaraswamy's Chief Ministership.

Late Ambareesh had served as MP, MLA and Minister in Karnataka and at the Centre in the Congress governments. He was also part of Janata Dal in the past.

In the 2019 polls, Sumalatha rode on a sympathy wave following the death of her husband, who was an icon of sorts in Mandya district.

Popular Kannada film stars like Darshan Thoogudeepa and Yash (Naveen Kumar Gowda), along with her son Abishek Ambareesh had extensively campaigned for her then. 

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News Network
April 9,2024

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Mangaluru/ Bengaluru, Apr 2: Karnataka’s coastal belt some of the neighbouring areas will celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr on April 10, while rest of the state will witness the festival on April 11 due confusion over moon sighting. 

Muslim religious heads in twin coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi on the night of April 9 declared the end of Ramadan and beginning of Shawwal following reports of sighting of crescent moon. 

With this Eid will be celebrated on April 10 in the above region. Similarly, Muslims in Bhatkal and neighbouring state of Kerala too will celebrate the festival on April 10. 

However, Muslims in other parts of Karnataka will continue to fast on April 10 and celebrate the Eid on the following day due to non-sighting of moon in their region. 

The Karnataka Moon Sighting Committee chairman Moulana Maqsood Imran formally announced that the Eid-ul-Fitr in Bengaluru and areas of Karnataka will be celebrated on Thursday April 11. 

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