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#Budget2019: Govt Boasts of 98% Rural Sanitation Coverage through Swachch Bharat Abhiyan Swachch Bharat Movement is not just a cleanliness drive anymore, it has transformed into a behavioural change movement

By Aastha Singal

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Amid the chants of Modi-Modi, Interim Finance Minister, Piyush Goyal announced the expected Budget for 2020 in the parliament today. Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley who is currently undergoing treatment has presented budget five times before for the Narendra Modi's government and this would be the party's last budget presentation before impending general elections scheduled in April-May this year.

Taking into account that the proposed Budget can't be considered as the Union Budget, the proposals made would only be accounted if NDA comes back to power. Post the elections, the new government will hold the power to made changes in the proposal while presenting the Union Budget. Goyal took the opportunity to highlight the initiatives taken by the government in the last four and a half years.

While he didn't forget to compare their achievements with that of the past government, Goyal announced a number of tax and budget allocation reforms. The interim budget had something to offer to every sector. From defence to real estate and agriculture along with business enterprises, almost every aspect of India's fundamental economy was considered during the presentation.

Healthcare was not left out either. A nation's health index sure has a great impact on its economy. To ensure the fitness of the nation, the government has taken multiple steps through the past years. Goyal stressed on the bests:

Ayushman Bharat Yojana

Promoting the agenda of Healthy India – Healthy society, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the world's largest healthcare programme to provide medical care to almost 50 crore people. The initiative has resulted in INR 3,000 crore savings by poor families.

Aimed at covering over 50 crore poor and vulnerable families by providing coverage of up to INR 5 lakh per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization, the scheme has helped in the treatment of over 10 lac beneficiaries so far.

Swachch Bharat Abhiyan

Launched on October 2, 2014, the nationwide campaign was initiated to clean the streets and infrastructure of Indian living. Through the construction of household-owned and community-owned toilets, the drive has helped in making over 5.45 lac villages open defecation free.

Thanking 1.3 billion citizens for transforming the cleanliness drive into a behavioural change movement, Goyal announced that the initiative was able to empower women sanitation too. "Over 90 per cent of the country has been covered under sanitation coverage," he said.

Facilities & Benefits

Ever since NDA came into power, 14 new AIIMS have been announced. A total of 21 AIIMS have been earlier announced, out of which 9 are currently functional and the government would be setting up the 22nd one in Haryana, Goyal confirmed during his address.

To benefit the patients in need of stents and knee implants, the government had slashed the prices of coronary stents by up to 85 per cent and total knee replacement systems and their individual components by almost 69 per cent.

AI Inclusion

The influx of technologies like artificial intelligence has benefitted the healthcare space too. In the last budget, FM Arun Jaitley had mandated the NITI Aayog to establish the national programme on AI to guide research and development in new and emerging technologies.

Addressing the nine priority areas during the interim budget presentation, Goyal highlighted that the government will soon launch a National Artificial Intelligence Portal to facilitate the development of healthcare, agriculture, education, smart cities and infrastructure and transportation. The initiative will be focused on the implementation of AI to serve societal needs.

"Healthcare is one of the key priority areas in the National Artificial Intelligence Program, which will help in evolving the ecosystem and create a larger talent pool of AI professionals and improved innovation in the industry," said Gaurav Gupta, Co-founder, Navia Life Care.

Aastha Singal

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Features Writer

A business journalist looking to find happiness in the world of startups, investments, MSMEs and more. Officially started her career as a news reporter for News World India, Aastha had short stints with NDTV and NewsX. A true optimist seeking to make a difference, she is a comic junkie who'd rather watch a typical Bollywood masala than a Hollywood blockbuster. 


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