Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday flayed the previous UPA regime for neglecting health care in the country. While inaugurating a new medical college and launching a new vaccination drive on his first visit to his hometown Vadnagar after becoming Prime Minister, Mr. Modi said his government has accorded top priority to the health care sector.
During its entire 10 year term, the UPA had failed to bring a health policy, which was last formulated during the previous NDA regime headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mr. Modi said.
‘No empathy for people’
“The last health policy was announced during Atalji’s regime around 15 years back. After that, such a government assumed power which used to hate development. It did not have any empathy for the people,” Mr. Modi said, referring to the UPA government’s 2004-2014 tenure. “As a result, a new health policy was introduced after almost 15 years by our government,” he said.
He added that the previous regime had not considered it necessary to increase seats in medical colleges in the country, which was facing a huge shortage of medical practitioners. “As a result, very few students could get into the medical field. Now, our government has taken up the task of opening a new medical college for every three to four parliamentary constituencies,” Mr. Modi said, inaugurating a medical college set up by the Gujarat government in Vadnagar.
Seats in PG courses
"Since we also need good professors and faculty members for new colleges, we have also increased 6,000 seats in PG medical courses in the last one year. Though some people criticised the move, we remained firm because we understand that we will need good professors for producing good doctors,” Mr. Modi added.
Besides opening new colleges, the Prime Minister said the government has focussed on bringing down medical costs to make health care more affordable.
“Earlier, the prices of stents were around ₹1.5 lakh to ₹2 lakh. Someone would get a heart attack by just hearing such a high price. We decided to reduce costs. So [we] called the manufacturers and asked them and today, stents are available at just 40% of its original price of three years ago.”
He added that similarly, the government has set up a chain of stores to sell generic medicines at subsidised rates to bring down the price of medicines.