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Rs 5.38 lakh cr needed for primary healthcare: Government

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Projecting a Rs 5.38 lakh crore requirement over the next five years for providing primary health care, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has said it will help deal with 90 per cent of the healthcare demands.

In a presentation to 15th Finance Commission, the Ministry said investment in primary healthcare could reduce the need for more costly and complex care by preventing illness and promoting general health.

There had been a lack of focus on health promotion and healthy lifestyle, causing high incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), it noted.

Four major NCDs — cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and respiratory diseases — account for nearly 62 per cent of all mortality among men and 52 per cent among women. Of this, 56 per cent is premature.

Noting the need for strengthening the primary healthcare system, the Ministry said public investment was the need of hour.

People end up spending more on secondary and tertiary healthcare due to lack of high-quality primary healthcare facilities. Over 70 per cent of out-of-pocket expenditure is on non-hospital care and nearly two-thirds of this goes towards buying medicines.

Dr Shakti Gupta, Medical Superintendent of RP Centre at AIIMS, said strengthening primary health centres and district hospitals was key to improving the system.

“If the primary healthcare centres and district hospitals are strengthened in terms of infrastructure, equipments and trained manpower, no one will have to rush to medical colleges and big cities for common health issues,” Dr Gupta told IANS. “We spend more on tertiary care and less on primary healthcare,” he said.

There is a huge shortfall in the primary healthcare infrastructure and professionals.

Around Rs 1.88 lakh crore would be needed to address the shortage of healthcare professionals, and Rs 90,336 crore to bridge the infrastructure gap, according to the Health Ministry.

The Finance Commission, headed by N.K. Singh, has asked the Ministry to come up with revised proposals on the optimum use of funds in respect of sector-specific grants.

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Business

Israel launches $70.8 mn programme to boost hi-tech in Arab sector

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Israel has launched a 225-million-shekel ($70.8 million) programme to boost high-tech developments in the Arab sector in the country.

The five-year plan, announced by the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) and the Ministry for Social Equality, on Wednesday, is set to encourage entrepreneurship and hi-tech employment in the Arab communities, Xinhua news agency reported.

The programme includes the setup of entrepreneurship centers, technological accelerators to advance new ideas, angel clubs to recruit investors, and a technological incubator to promote Arab entrepreneurship.

“Incorporating high-tech employees from the Arab sector is a highly important social, financial, and strategic need,” said Orit Farkash-Hacohen, Israel’s minister for innovation, science and technology.

In 2019, only one percent of high-tech employees in Israel were from the Arab society, said a report published by the Bank of Israel.

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Tesla saw a breakthrough 2021 with $5.5 bn net income: Musk

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Elon Musk has said that 2021 was a breakthrough year for Tesla and for electric vehicles in general, as the EV maker ended last year with $5.5 billion in net income, compared to $721 million in 2020.

Tesla produced 305,840 vehicles in the fourth quarter, a 70 per cent increase over the previous year.

For the full year 2021, the company delivered 936,172 vehicles, just short of the promised 1 million vehicles but still an increase of 87 per cent over the previous year.

“While we battled, as everyone did, with supply chain challenges through the year, we managed to grow our volumes by nearly 90 percent last year,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in an earnings call late on Wednesday.

Tesla said its first Model Y vehicles to be made at its new Austin, Texas factory were nearing completion.

“If we were to introduce new vehicles, our total vehicle output will decrease; We will not be introducing new vehicle models this year. It wouldn’t make sense,” said Musk.

According to him, 2022 is the year “we will be looking at factory locations to see what makes the most sense with possibly some announcement by the end of this year”.

Tesla also highlighted its controversial Full Self-Driving product as “a primary area of focus.”

“There are several profound improvements to the FSD stack that are coming in the next few months,” he said.

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Equities settle high after crash on Monday; Sensex up over 350 pts

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After a bloodbath in the Indian equity segment on Monday due to continued selling-off pressure by foreign institutional investors, the market on Tuesday recovered its losses, though marginally.

Sensex settled 0.6 per cent or by 366 points higher at 57,858 points, whereas Nifty is 0.8 per cent up or by 128 at 17,277 points.

Barring Nifty IT index, all the others traded in the green during the intra-day trade. Nifty bank, auto, media, PSU bank, and realty indices rose the most, NSE data showed.

On the stocks front, Maruti Suzuki India, Axis Bank, SBI, Indusind Bank, and UPL were the top five gainers, rising 7.4 per cent, 6.5 per cent, 3.9 per cent, 3.6 per cent, and 3.5 per cent, respectively. Wipro, Bajaj Finserv, Titan, Ultratech Cement, Tech Mahindra were the top five losers during the session.

“After a week-long consolidation, domestic indices took a breather supported by low-level buying. Western markets also supported staging recovery following correction in oil markets, and as uncertainties over Fed policy and geopolitical tensions eased,” said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.

“However, volatility is expected to linger as investors await the Fed’s final policy statement, providing clarity on the timeline of rate hikes. If the statement is as hawkish as anticipated, we cannot ignore a bounce in the market.”

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