NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone and dedicated to the nation various projects worth more than Rs. 3,400 crores in Guwahati, Assam. The PM dedicated AIIMS Guwahati and three other medical colleges to the nation. He also laid the foundation stone of Assam Advanced Health Care Innovation Institute (AAHII) and launched ‘Aapke Dwar Ayushman’ campaign by distributing Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) cards to eligible beneficiaries.
Addressing the gathering, the PM greeted the people on the auspicious occasion of Rongali Bihu. He remarked that the health infrastructure of Assam and the North East has found new strength as the Northeast gets its first AIIMS and the state of Assam gets three new medical colleges. He underlined that the foundation stone for a 500-bed super speciality hospital has also been laid for advanced research in collaboration with IIT Guwahati. He also noted that work is underway in mission mode to distribute Ayushman Cards to millions of citizens of Assam. The citizens, the Prime Minister continued, from the neighbouring states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur and Mizoram will also reap the benefits of today’s development projects. The Prime Minister congratulated everyone for today’s projects.
PM Modi mentioned the efforts to enhance connectivity in the Northeast and visible improvement in the road, rail and airport infrastructure in the last 8-9 years. He said along with physical infrastructure, social infrastructure also received a massive boost in the region as education and health facilities have been expanded in an unprecedented manner. The PM had presented a number of medical colleges during his last visit and today he presented AIIMS and three medical colleges. The Prime Minister also underlined the support to medical facilities and in turn to patients from ever-improving rail-road connectivity in the region.
The PM recalled how the hunger for taking credit and a sense of lording over the masses in the previous regimes made the nation helpless, the Prime Minister interjected as he pointed out that the general public is a form of God. He said that the previous governments had created a feeling of alienation towards the Northeast and deemed it too far from the mainland. But the present government, the Prime Minister explained, comes with a service-oriented belief which makes the Northeast very approachable and the feeling of proximity never ceases.
He expressed happiness that the people of the Northeast have taken charge of their destiny and development. “We are moving forward with the mantra of India’s development through the development of the Northeast. In this movement of development, the central government is accompanying as a friend and servant,” he added.
Referring to the long-festering challenges of the region, PM Modi said that development becomes impossible when the politics of dynasty, regionalism, corruption and instability start to dominate. This, the Prime Minister remarked, happened with our healthcare system. He illustrated this by giving an example of AIIMS which was established in the 50s and no effort was made to open AIIMS in other parts of the country. Despite the initiation of the process during the time of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Prime Minister said that efforts did not move in subsequent years, and only after 2014, these issues were addressed by the present government. He informed that in recent years the government started work on 15 AIIMS and treatments and courses have already begun in most of them. “AIIMS Guwahati too is an example of the fact that our government fulfills all the resolutions”, he said.
The PM reiterated that the policies of the previous governments created a scarcity of doctors and medical professionals in the nation and erected a wall before quality health service. In the last 9 years, the Prime Minister has announced that the government has worked on a huge scale to boost medical infrastructure and medical professionals in the country. Highlighting the developments in the field of medical infrastructure, the Prime Minister informed that approximately 300 medical colleges became functional in the last 9 years when compared to only 150 medical colleges a decade before 2014. He also added that the number of MBBS seats in the country doubled to around 1 lakh in the last 9 years, while the PG seats have seen a rise of 110 percent. With the establishment of the National Medical Commission for the expansion of medical education in the country, the Prime Minister underlined that reservations have also been ensured so that youth from backward families can fulfill their dreams of becoming doctors. PM Modi informed that more than 150 nursing colleges have also been declared as part of this year’s Budget.
In the Northeast, the PM said, the number of medical colleges in the region along with the number of seats have doubled in the last 9 years while work is underway for several new ones.
The PM credited the solid work in the medical and healthcare field to a strong and stable government at the center. He said in BJP governments policy, intentions and commitment are not driven by self-interest but by the spirit of ‘nation first – countrymen first’. That is why, he said, the focus of the government was not on vote bank but on reducing the problems of the citizens. The Prime Minister conveyed his understanding of the plight of lack of financial resources for medical treatment for a poor family and talked about the Ayushman Yojana that provides free treatment up to 5 lakh rupees. Similarly, 9000 Jan Aushadhi Kendras are providing affordable medicines. He also mentioned ceilings on the cost of stents and knee implants and free dialysis centers in every district. More than 1.5 lakh Wellness centers are providing important tests for early diagnosis and better treatment. Pradhanmantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyan is also addressing a key medical challenge of the country and the poor. Preventive health care focus via cleanliness, Yoga and Ayurveda will improve wellness and prevent disease.
Reflecting on the successes of the Government schemes, the PM said that he feels blessed on getting the opportunity to serve the people. He gave the example of Ayushman Bharat PM Jan Arogya Yojna Yojna and said that it has become a support system for the poor helping them save Rs 80,000 crores. He credited the Jan Aushadhi Kendras with helping the middle class save Rs 20,000 crores. He further added that the poor and middle class are saving Rs 13,000 crore every year due to the reduction in the cost of stents and knee implants, while the facility of free dialysis has helped poor kidney patients save Rs 500 crores. He also noted that the campaign to hand over about 1 crore Ayushman Bharat Cards has also begun in Assam which will further help them save more money.
The PM dwelled at length on the impact of the measures taken in the field of healthcare on the welfare of women. He noted the traditional reluctance of women to spend on their health. He said that the propagation of toilets saved them from many ailments and Ujjwala connections saved them from smoke-related problems. Jal Jeevan Mission helped with waterborne diseases and Mission Indradhanush saved them by free vaccination for serious diseases. Ayushman Bharat, Pradhanmantri Matru Vandana Scheme and National Nutrition Mission improved health indicators among women. “When the government is sensitive and there is a feeling of service towards the poor, then such work is done,” he added.
PM Modi said, “Our government is also modernizing India’s health sector according to the needs of the 21st century.” He listed Ayushman Bharat Digital Health Mission and Digital Health ID which will make health records of the citizens with one click and will improve hospital services. He expressed happiness that so far, 38 crore health IDs have been issued and more than 2 lakh health facilities and 1.5 lakh health professionals have been verified. Noting the growing popularity of e-Sanjeevini, the Prime Minister mentioned the feat of completing 10 crore e-consultation through the scheme.
“The biggest basis for change in India’s healthcare system is Sabka Prayas (everyone’s effort),” he said. He recalled the spirit of Sabka Prayas during the crisis of Coronavirus and noted that the entire world is praising the world’s biggest, fastest, and most effective Covid vaccination campaign. He noted the contributions of Asha workers, Anganwadi workers, primary healthcare workers and the pharmaceutical sector in delivering Made in India vaccines to even the remotest of places within a very short time. “Such a big Mahayagya becomes successful only when there is Sabka Prayas (everyone’s effort) and Sabka Vishwas (everyone’s faith)”, the Prime Minister said. He concluded the address by urging everyone to move forward with the spirit of Sabka Prayas and take the mission of Healthy India, Prosperous India to new heights.
Image courtesy – PBS