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Guwahati, April 14 – Inaugurating the first All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) of the northeastern region in Guwahati, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday slammed the previous governments for doing precious little to uplift the healthcare infrastructure of the country.
Speaking on the occasion, Modi pointed out, “The first AIIMS was built in Delhi during the 1950s. People from all corners went to AIIMS Delhi for treatment, but no government understood the need of setting up AIIMS campuses all over the country.”
“It was the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government that took the initiative of building AIIMS in other cities,” he added.
Following the departure of Vajpayee’s government in 2004, Modi said the projects were stalled, and after 2014, when the BJP came to power at the Centre, the process of setting up AIIMS across the country got underway.
He said, “We started to build 15 AIIMS campuses, and today at least more than 50 per cent of them are functional. The teaching of medical courses and providing treatment began in those institutes.”
The Prime Minister also inaugurated three new medical colleges in Assam along with initiating the foundation work of a multidisciplinary, state-of-the-art hospital at IIT Guwahati.
Taking a potshot at the Opposition, Modi claimed that due to the erroneous principles of previous governments, the healthcare system took a beating.
According to him, the country experienced a huge shortage of medical professionals earlier.
“Prior to 2014, there were only 150 medical colleges in the country. In the last nine years, the BJP-led government has focused on that sector, and we have built 300 new medical colleges. Now, there are more than 1 lakh seats in MBBS courses. The PG seats also increased multiple times,” Modi mentioned.
He also said that work is on to further increase the number.
PM Modi claimed that reservations in medical seats and providing medical education in regional languages were introduced to facilitate people from marginal backgrounds studying healthcare courses.
Without naming the Congress, he alleged that due to the credit-hungry nature of others, the northeast was lacking in development for many years.
He said, “Now, wherever I go and talk about development. I can see a new illness among some people. They keep on complaining about why they were not given credit.”
Due to this credit-hungry nature, they (the opposition) earlier felt the northeast was too far. But, we do not need credit; rather, the BJP worked with ‘sewa-bhav’, and you can see the results. Today, anyone who comes to Assam and the northeast for the first time talks about the enormous development the region has witnessed in the last few years,” he claimed.
The Prime Minister also said, “Along with better connectivity, the northeast is now witnessing a change in the social sector too. The MBBS seats have been doubled here. A number of new medical colleges have been set up.”
He said that all these were possible due to a stable and strong government at the centre since 2014.
“I feel lucky to serve you. It is the love of the people of Assam that brings me here repeatedly,” Modi said.
Govt’s initiatives improved women’s overall health: PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that the initiatives taken by the BJP-led government at the Centre have proved to be effective in improving the overall health of women in the country.
PM Modi, dwelling at length on the impact of the measures taken in the field of healthcare on the welfare of women, said: “There has always been a traditional reluctance of women to spend on their health.”
“The increase in the number of toilets saved women 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,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister also mentioned that the Ayushman Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Scheme and National Nutrition Mission have improved the health indicators among women.
“When the government is sensitive and there is a feeling of service towards the poor, such work is done,” he added.
On Friday, PM Modi laid the foundation and dedicated to the nation various projects worth over Rs 3,400 crore in Guwahati.
The Prime Minister 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 the eligible beneficiaries.
The Prime Minister also conveyed his understanding of the plight of lack of financial resources for medical treatment for a poor family.
He talked about the Ayushman Yojana that provides free treatment up to Rs 5 lakh. Similarly, 9,000 Jan Aushadhi Kendras are providing affordable medicine.
He also mentioned ceilings on the cost of stents and knee implants and free dialysis centres in every district, adding that more than 1.5 lakh wellness centres are providing important tests for early diagnosis and better treatment.
PM Modi also spoke about the Pradhanmantri TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyan that is “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, he said.
Reflecting on the successes of the government schemes, the Prime Minister gave the example of Ayushman Bharat PM Jan Arogya Yojana, and said that it has become a support system for the poor, helping them save Rs 80,000 crore.
He credited the Jan Aushadhi Kendras with helping the middle class save Rs 20,000 crore.
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 crore.
The Prime Minister said that the campaign to hand over about 1 crore Ayushman Bharat Cards has also started in Assam.