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PM to launch Rs 64,180-crore health infrastructure scheme today

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday will launch the Pradhan Mantri Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana (PMASBY), worth ₹64,180 crore, to strengthen the health care infrastructure across the country.

According to a statement by the press information bureau, the Prime Minister will inaugurate the project from his parliamentary constituency Varanasi, during a visit to poll-bound Uttar Pradesh. Besides this, he will also inaugurate nine new medical colleges at Siddharth Nagar, the bureau added.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Uttar Pradesh on 25th October, 2021… at around 1.15 in Varanasi, the Prime Minister will launch PMASBY. It will be one of the largest pan-India schemes for strengthening healthcare infrastructure across the country. It will be in addition to the National Health Mission,” a note by the press information bureau said on Sunday.

“Modi will also inaugurate various development projects worth more than ₹5,200 crore for Varanasi,” it added.

The PMASBY scheme with an outlay of around ₹64,180 crore over six years (till financial year 2025-26) was announced by the Centre during the Budget session in February this year. This scheme will be in addition to the National Health Mission, the statement said.

The scheme focuses on developing capacities of health systems and institutions across the continuum of care at all levels — primary, secondary and tertiary — and on preparing health care systems for responding effectively to the current and future pandemics, and disasters, it added.

Under the scheme, government support will be provided to 17,788 rural health and wellness centres in 10 high-focus states. At least 11,024 urban health and wellness centres will be set up.

Besides these, critical care services will be available in districts having more than 500,000 population, through exclusive critical care hospital blocks, while the remaining districts will be covered through referral services.

“Under PMASBY, a National Institution for One Health, 4 New National Institutes for Virology, a Regional Research Platform for WHO South East Asia Region, 9 Biosafety Level III laboratories, 5 New Regional National Centre for Disease Control will be set up. PMASBY targets to build an IT enabled disease surveillance system by developing a network of surveillance laboratories at block, district, regional and national levels, in Metropolitan areas. Integrated Health Information Portal will be expanded to all States/UTs to connect all public health labs,” the statement said.

Experts believe it is time to strengthen the medical infrastructure at the ground level.

“In a country like India whatever efforts we make to improve the health care system, it will still be less because of the population; and inaccessibility and affordability is also an issue… This underutilised infrastructure in the pvt sector can be utilised either through Ayushman Bharat or any other schemes…,” said Dr MC Misra, former director, AIIMS, Delhi. Hindustan Times