PM launches Rs. 64,000 crore health infrastructure scheme from Varanasi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday arrived in Uttar Pradesh to launch the Pradhan Mantri Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana (PMASBY). The Rs. 64,180 crore scheme is meant to support healthcare infrastructure across India. PM Modi also inaugurated nine new medical colleges from UP's Siddharthnagar earlier in the day. Here are more details on this.
Why does this story matter?
The central scheme assumes significance as India had witnessed a devastating COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year which killed tens of thousands across the country. The lack of medical staff and equipment had left the country's healthcare infrastructure overwhelmed. Modi's visit is also being seen as political as UP is set to hold Assembly elections in spring 2022.
What is PMASBY?
PMASBY was announced by the central government during the Budget Session of Parliament this February. The scheme is focused on developing health systems and institutions at various levels and responding effectively to current and future pandemics as well as disasters. The government will support 17,788 rural health centers and at least 11,024 urban health centers will be set up.
9 new medical colleges for UP
Joined by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Modi also inaugurated nine new medical colleges in the state. The colleges will come up in Siddharthanagar, Hardoi, Pratapgarh, Fatehpur, Ghazipur, Mirzapur, Jaunpur, Etah, and Deoria districts. The Siddharthanagar Medical College will be named after Jan Sangh leader Madhav Prasad Tripathi. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya was also present at Monday's event.
Colleges to create 5,000 jobs
"The nine medical colleges will fulfill the dreams of a healthy India. They are a gift to the people of the state," PM Modi said. The colleges will create over 5,000 jobs and around 2,500 hospital beds will be added, he announced.
'Medical hub of North India'
More than 5,000 new doctors and paramedics will now be available, Modi said. "Purvanchal will become a medical hub of Northern India," he said, adding that the projects launched in UP were worth "almost Rs. 75,000 crore." He also launched development projects amounting to Rs. 5,200 crore for Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency. Modi also criticized former governments for denying attention to healthcare.
UP to see electoral battle in 2022
Monday marks PM Modi's second visit to UP in a week. He is also expected to address the public in the state during the ongoing visit, which comes just ahead of Assembly polls in early next year. Notably, UP sends the largest number of legislators to Parliament and is hence a key state to capture for parties looking to be elected to the Centre.