'National Tele Mental Health' programme will be operated under a network of 23 mental health centres of excellence under National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences. (Representational Photo: DC)
NEW DELHI: With the pandemic affecting psychological and emotional health, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the roll-out of the national tele-mental health programme to improve access to quality mental health counselling.
Presenting the Budget for 2022-23, Sitharaman also announced an open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem, which will consist of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity, consent framework and universal access to health facilities.
In the budget, the government has proposed an allocation of Rs 86,200.65 crore to the health sector, a hike of 16 per cent over Rs 73,931 crore in 2021-22. Of this, Rs 83,000 crore have been allocated to the department of health and family welfare and Rs 3,200 crore to the department of health research.
The government has increased the budgetary allocation for central sector schemes and projects from Rs 10,566 crore to Rs 15,163 crore.
Among these Central sector schemes, the allocation for the Pardhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana has been raised from Rs 70,000 crore to Rs 10,000 crore.
The allocation for National Digital Health Mission has been hiked from Rs 30 crore to Rs 200 crore. For the National Health Mission, the proposed allocation has been increased from Rs 36,576 crore in 2021-22 to Rs 37,000 crore in 2022-23. The budget allocation for autonomous bodies has been increased from Rs 8,566 crore in 2021-22 to Rs 10,022 crore. The allocation for statutory and regulatory bodies has been slightly raised from Rs 315 crore in 2021-22 to Rs 335 crore.
In her budget speech, Sitharaman talked about the ongoing Omicron wave, saying that the speed of India's vaccination campaign has helped greatly and she was confident that with 'Sabka Prayaas', this wave shall overcome.
Sitharaman also said that 95 per cent of 112 aspirational districts had made significant progress in health and other parameters and that efforts would now be made to work on districts that were lagging.
On the 'National Tele Mental Health' programme, the finance minister said it will be operated under a network of twenty-three mental health centres of excellence under National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS). The International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore (IIT-B) will be providing technological support to the programme.
The centre for psychosocial support in disaster management at NIMHANS had launched a nationwide toll-free 24×7 helpline to address the mental health and psychosocial concerns of the public during the pandemic and lockdown. Currently, the government is also operating the SAMVEDNA tele-counselling service that offers psychological support to children to address their stress, anxiety, fear, and other issues during the pandemic.