New Delhi: Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday sought to know from Health Minister J.P. Nadda the status of all the health schemes started during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) rule, including initiatives for mother and child and free drugs.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Azad in a veiled jibe also hoped that Nadda would continue in the ministry till the end of the NDA government’s term.
“I hope the current union health minister remains the minister for the full term. In two years tenure of NDA government, two ministers have been changed. This is such a ministry in which if there is no continuity or if there is no minister for full five years, then it doesn’t serve the purpose,” said Azad in the Rajya Sabha.
Harsh Vardhan was removed as health minister in November 2014, a few months after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government came to power.
Azad also sought to know from the minister the status of schemes started by UPA 1 and UPA 2.
“In UPA 1 and UPA 2, in 27,408 districts and sub-districts new community health centres, primary health centres and sub-centre were approved. Out of these, 14,881 were completed during our time. The rest around 13,000 were near completion. I would like to know the status of those from the minister,” said Azad.
He stressed on the initiatives for mother and child and free drugs.
“A new scheme was launched for mother and child during our time. A state-of-art facility only for mother and child will be built within the hospitals. About 470 such hospitals were approved in 2012-2013 and Rs.4,000 crore was sanctioned for it. I would like to know its progress from the minister.”
Azad said: “We also initiated a free drug scheme. I’ve also heard even you were talking about free drug initiative. In 2012-13 and 2013-14, we took the initiative of free drugs. The initiative was free from insurance and we wanted to make drugs available free of cost in the whole country in 4-5 years.”
“It was a two-fold scheme — one was in which some money will be given by the central and some by the state government. When we started the scheme, in the first year we gave Rs.15,000 crore and in the second year we gave Rs.2,000 crore. Along with it a five percent additional fund was also given. Around 28 states agreed with us in implementing the scheme. What is the latest status of it?” he asked.
He also raised issues pertaining to National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), an initiative started by the UPA government. He also said there were complaints with regard to incentives for the ASHA community health workers.
“When I left the ministry, the strength of Asha workers was 8 lakh 90 thousand, who were given incentives by the central government. Their work was to take care of pregnant women and provide medicines to pregnant women. I have got complaints that incentives are not being given to them in few places. I would also like to know its status from the minister,” said Azad.
“Under NRHM, 1 lakh 56 thousand doctors, specialists and nurses and 10,311 supporting staff were given money by the central government. I would also like to know its status,” he added.