While addressing the joint the joint session of the Parliament, marking the start of the Budget session, President Pratibha Patil announced many new initiatives for providing universal healthcare. The Government of India plans to convert the National Rural Health Mission into a National Health Mission in 12the Five Year Plan to provide health care to the urban people also.Besides it also plans to provide free generic essential medicines to the needy people through public health institutions in a phased and time bound manner.
The President said, “People need to be healthy if they have to learn, earn and lead a productive and fulfilling life. Our National Rural Health Mission has started making a difference as reflected in the health indicators. The Infant Mortality Rate has declined from 58 per thousand live births in 2005 to 47 in 2010 and Maternal Mortality Ratio has declined from 254 per one lakh deliveries in 2004-2006 to 212 in 2007-2009. The Janani Suraksha Yojana registered impressive gains with 1.13 crore women benefitting during 2010-11. Polio has been almost eradicated from the country. The World Health Organisation has decided to take India off the list of countries with active endemic wild poliovirus transmission.”
Pointing out that in spite of increased investment in the health sector over the last 7 years, public expenditure on healthcare continues to be low, the President said the government would strengthen district hospitals to provide advanced level secondary care under the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases & Stroke and The National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly.
While speaking on the subject of e-Governance, the President said, “Efficient and automated delivery of public services with minimum human intervention is one of the keys to reducing corruption. Under the National e-Governance programme, more than 97,000 Common Service Centres have been established across the country for making public services conveniently available to citizens. Departments responsible for Income Tax, Passports, Central Excise, and Corporate Affairs have started delivering online services. New e-Governance projects in education, health, public distribution and postal services will be launched.”
The ADHAAR initiative launched by the government also had a mention. The President said, “To reach the millions of underprivileged people, my Government has launched a unique ADHAAR scheme which would help improve service delivery, accountability and transparency in social sector programmes and lead to their financial inclusion.”