Since assuming office in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spearheaded transformative initiatives in the healthcare sector, significantly reshaping the prospect of medical services in India. With a commitment to ensuring “Health for All,” the government has implemented a series of ambitious programs aimed at improving accessibility, affordability, and quality of healthcare services across the nation. Under the leadership of PM Modi, the healthcare sector has witnessed a paradigm shift, marked by a focus on preventive healthcare, robust infrastructure development, and innovative technology integration.
The PM Modi-led government has undertaken a series of impactful initiatives with the primary objective of alleviating out-of-pocket expenditure (OOPE) in the healthcare sector. These measures represent a strategic effort to enhance accessibility and affordability for citizens seeking medical services.
Here are some noteworthy initiatives implemented by the government:
- Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY): Launched in 2018, Ayushman Bharat is one of the flagship initiatives that seeks to provide financial protection to vulnerable families by offering health insurance coverage. PM-JAY, a key component of Ayushman Bharat, aims to cover more than 100 million families, providing them with a health insurance cover of up to INR 5 lakhs per family per year. This initiative is designed to reduce the financial burden on families during times of medical emergencies and thereby minimise out-of-pocket expenses. Till now more than 87,000 Cr. have been secured under the savings bracket of the Indian citizens along with 5 Cr. + hospital admissions.
- Expansion of health and wellness centers: The government has been working towards transforming existing primary health centres into Health and Wellness Centers (HWCs). These centres aim to provide comprehensive primary healthcare services, including preventive, promotive, and curative care. By strengthening the primary healthcare infrastructure, the government intends to address health issues at an early stage, preventing the need for costly treatments later on. As of 2023, Over 34.71 Crore Jan Aushadhi Suvidha Sanitary Pads sold, at ₹ 1 Per Pad, which has led to total savings of ₹ 218.45 Crores.
- Generic drug promotion: The government has actively promoted the use of generic drugs to make healthcare more affordable. The Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP), which comprises 1965 drugs and 293 surgical equipment, sold at retail shops at 50% to 90% cheaper than branded medicines, encouraged the sale of generic medicines at lower prices, has been expanded to increase accessibility to quality medications, thereby reducing the financial burden on patients. Since 2014, there has been a 100 times growth in the Janaushadhi Kendras. From nearly 80 in 2014, there are now 10,000.
- National Health Mission (NHM): The NHM, a key program under the Modi government, focuses on improving healthcare infrastructure, providing essential drugs and diagnostics, and strengthening human resource capabilities at the grassroots level. These initiatives are aimed at reducing the need for patients to seek expensive treatments outside their localities.
- Telemedicine and digital health: The government has emphasised the integration of technology in healthcare through initiatives like telemedicine and digital health platforms. This allows patients to access medical consultations remotely, reducing the need for physical visits to healthcare facilities and potentially lowering associated costs.
- Covid-19 vaccination drive: The government’s vaccination drive during the Covid-19 pandemic, which aimed to inoculate a significant portion of the population free of cost, contributed to preventing severe illness and reducing the economic burden associated with healthcare expenses related to the virus.
- Maternity benefits: The Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana provides financial assistance to pregnant and lactating women, ensuring proper nutrition and healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth.
The Prime Minister Modi-led government has made significant strides in enhancing medical education and healthcare infrastructure by taking on the responsibility of constructing new medical colleges and All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) across India. Under the leadership of PM Modi, a total of 692+ medical colleges have been constructed, complemented by the sanctioning of 22 new AIIMS institutions. During this period, the number of MBBS seats has experienced substantial growth, increasing from 51,348 in 2014 to 105,163 in 2023. Similarly, the number of PG seats has seen commendable progress, rising from 31,185 in 2014 to 66,898 in 2023. These achievements underscore the government’s commitment to bolstering the healthcare sector and nurturing a robust medical education system in the country.
As India continues its journey towards becoming a global healthcare hub, the initiatives undertaken under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership have set the foundation for a healthier and more resilient nation. The commitment to health and well-being is reflected not only in policies but also in the endeavour to create a future where every citizen can access quality healthcare services, irrespective of their socio-economic status. The government, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has employed comprehensive measures to address healthcare challenges in India, with a focus on reducing out-of-pocket expenditure, ensuring affordability, and providing healthcare for all. The initiation of programs such as Ayushman Bharat, the establishment and upgradation of medical colleges and AIIMS institutions, and the promotion of generic medicines through Jan Aushadhi centres have collectively contributed to making healthcare more accessible and affordable. While specific outcomes may vary, the government’s commitment to enhancing healthcare infrastructure and services is evident, reflecting its dedication to improving the health and well-being of the common man in India. As the country continues on its path toward achieving universal healthcare, ongoing efforts and strategic initiatives aim to create a more inclusive and sustainable healthcare system for all citizens. Narendra Modi