New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced Rs 35,000 crore for the COVID-19 vaccines in the country. The announcement came amid the presentation of the Union Budget 2021, which came amid the cascading effect of the coronavirus pandemic. 

"I have provided Rs 35,000 crore for COVID-19 vaccine in this year 2021-22. I'm committed to providing further funds if required", Nirmala Sitharaman said during her Budget presentation speech at the Parliament.

The Finance Minister further said that the Budget out outlay for health increased to Rs 2,23,846 crores in 2021-22, an increase of 137 per cent in comparison to the previous year's budget. Sitharaman also said that the government will also set up 15 health emergency centres across the country.

''The Budget outlay for health and well being is Rs 2.23 lakh crore in 2021-22 as against BE of Rs 94,452 crore and marks an increase of 137 per cent," she said while presenting 2021-22 Budget in the Lok Sabha.

Sitharaman also said that the Budget proposals will strengthen the 'Sankalp of Aatmanirbhar Bharat'. "The focus will be on six pillars, which include health and well-being, inclusive development, human capital, innovation and R&D," she said.

Nirmala Sitharaman further informed that the pneumococcal vaccine, limited to only 5 states at present, will be rolled out across the country. "This will avert more than 50,000 child deaths annually," she said.

She announced a new Centre-sponsored scheme with an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore to boost healthcare infrastructure across the country amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. She also said the Prime Minister Atmanirbhar Swasthya Bharat Yojana will develop the capacity for primary, secondary, and tertiary care health systems in the country.

India had started its inoculation drive against the coronavirus on January 16, aiming to vaccinate 3 crore healthcare workers in the first phase while around 27 crore frontline warriors will get inoculated in the second phase. India had earlier in January approved two vaccines -- Oxford's Covishield manufactured by SII and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin -- for restricted emergency use.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan