The coronavirus pandemic has accentuated mental health problems in people of all ages, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today while presenting the Union Budget 2022 in the second year of the pandemic.
Announcing a plan to set up a National Tele Mental Health program in India, the finance minister said 23 tele-mental health centers will be launched with the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) as the nodal center.
“The pandemic has accentuated mental health problems in people of all ages. To better the access to quality mental health counseling and care services, a National Tele Mental Health program will be launched,” Ms Sitharaman said.
The Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) Bangalore will provide tech support for the mental health programme, she added.
Nirmala Sitharaman is presenting her fourth Budget and the healthcare sector is a key element as it has been one of the most active sectors due to rising medical claims amid the pandemic.
The minister began her Budget speech today by expressing “empathy for those who had to bear adverse health and economic effects of the pandemic.”
She also said an open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem will be rolled out. “It will consist of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity and universal access to health facilities,” the minister added.
The Finance Minister said the country is expected to grow at 9.2 per cent in the current financial year, on the back of a sharp rebound in the economy.