Our journey to a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25, the vision of which was laid down in the pre-COVID budget in 2019, was rudely interrupted by the pandemic. The two budgets since then, in 2020 and 2021, endeavoured to address the health emergency, while minimising the impact on economy. Those efforts have borne results, with the nation dealing with the Omicron wave in a measured manner, while all GDP forecasts for 2021-22 and 2022-23 have indicated that India will be the fastest growing nation in the world. Macro-economic indicators are positive too — growth in revenue receipts and capex, merchandise imports and exports rebounding, and high foreign exchange reserves.
Against this backdrop, the Union Budget 2022 has signalled that mere recovery is not enough — India is aspirational, hungry for growth and ready for a quantum leap. To support that leap, the Budget has put in place a blueprint for the next two and a half decades. In that sense, this Budget is an articulation of ambition.
That ambition is quite formidable — the extent to which infrastructure and logistics aspects were addressed, water and agriculture were focused on, manufacturing was accelerated, MSMEs were supported, sunrise sectors were identified, clean energy was incentivised, urban spaces were reimagined and the digital dividend was harnessed, all this demonstrated that the future of India will be built on twin pillars — strengthening our traditional backbone and building the models of the future.
The past two years have seen a spotlight on healthcare sector, and it is truly to our credit as a nation, that all stakeholders have worked together to fight the pandemic. The fact that we have vaccinated over 1.5 billion people, is now our shield against any future risks.
However, we truly have a long way to go in building Health Resilience. The open platform digital backbone of the National Digital Health Mission, will enable universal access for all — and it will genuinely revolutionise health delivery. A healthy and productive workforce will be the life force of all our plans to build the India of the future. It is going to be a decade of transformation, one that will have a multiplier effect on the economy, and make India future-ready!
Suneeta Reddy is Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group