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Recognising the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the Centre will be launching a National Tele Mental Health program.

"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," the finance minister said in her Budget 2022 speech at the Parliament today.

Further, the Finance Minister said that the National Tele Mental Health programme will include a network of 23 Tele mental health centres of excellence. Nimhans to be the nodal centre and IIIT Bangalore will provide technological support for the mental health programme.

FM Sitharaman on Tuesday unveiled the budget for fiscal 2022-23, which aims to boost growth amid continued disruption from COVID-19 and rising inflation.

FM Sitharaman announced more spending on roads, railways, and higher subsidies for affordable housing, amid public criticism over inadequate relief following the economic disruption after the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020.

The FM announced that the ‘Emergency credit line guarantee scheme’ for small and medium-sized businesses to be extended to March 2023. She said 480 billion was set aside for affordable housing in 2022-23. 

400 energy-efficient trains to be manufactured over next three years, she added. The FM said that Highways expansion would cost 200 billion in 2022-23.

All 1.5 lakh post offices in India will be connected to the core banking system that will enable people to access their accounts online and also transfer money within post office accounts and to other banks, Nirmala Sitharaman said.

The FM also proposed to set up a digital university to provide education that will be built on a hub and spoke model.

Recognising the importance of 'Nari Shakti', she said three schemes were launched to provide integrated development for women and children.

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