PM Modi aims to increase healthcare share in GDP to 2.5 pc: Rajnath Singh
New Delhi, Apr 13 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set an aim to increase the share of healthcare sector in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to 2.5 per cent, Union minister Rajnath Singh said today.
In his address at the Founder’s Day celebrations of the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH) here, the home minister also asserted that the government considered the private sector as a “strategic partner” in its endeavour to achieve universal healthcare and health cover to all citizens.
“In a country of 125 crore people it is not an easy job to provide healthcare to all. There are various challenges which we have to meet…When it comes to government’s expenditure, our healthcare sector accounts for 1.16 per cent of the GDP.
“But, I want to assure you, and our prime minister also talks about it. And, the PM has aimed that the GDP share of the healthcare sector should be increased to 2.5 per cent, and for that expenditure can be made,” Singh said.
The minister, in his speech, also hailed Sir Ganga Ram and his legacy, saying he is remembered both in India and Pakistan for his contribution, despite the partition in 1947.
Highlighting the challenges in terms of number of doctors and nurses, and infrastructural needs, Singh said, the government wanted to “encourage investment in this field”.
“If one looks at the current scenario in India, we have 0.6 doctors per thousand of population and 0.8 nurses per thousand of population, while the number of beds per thousand stands at 1.5. And, the situation is not so good at global level too,” he said.
“So, we want to encourage investment in the preventive and promotive (healthcare) sector. We see the private sector as strategic partners in our endeavour to provide universal healthcare,” the minister said.
On the occasion, the home minister also inaugurated an 11-storeyed car parking facility and laid foundation stone of a radiotherapy and OPD block in the SGRH premises.
Singh also emphasised that everyone in the country must know that there is the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi as well as in Pakistan.
“Despite partition, both hospitals are functioning properly. It is a big achievement for the medical fraternity,” he said.
“By profession he was an engineer, but he took to the field of healthcare, because he had a broad mind with big imagination (‘bada mann tha unka’)… Your (medical) profession is not just a profession but a mission, to serve people.
“And, I believe the one with the broad mind is the true spiritual person, and not just those who go to worship places,” Singh said.
The home minister also urged that medical profession entails ethical and moral values, which must be adhered to.
“Four qualities I would say, doctors should have — empathy, honesty, compassion and steadfastness. Sympathy anyone can have, but only people with big heart and broad mind can have empathy for others.
Talking of his ministry, he said, “We don’t want any foreigner coming to our country to face problem, whether it is medical tourism or regular travellers.”
“The facility of e-visa has been extended to nationals of 161 countries and the maximum length of stay is now 60 days. For e-medical visa, we have made provision for triple entries,” the home minister said.
Dr D S Rana, Chairman, Board of Management, SGRH read out the annual hospital report on the occasion.
During the last financial year, 63,907 patients availed our emergency services.
“In addition to this, the hospital admitted 93,130 patients in the hospital, out of which 8,131 were from economically weaker sections of the society who were treated free of cost,” he said.
“About 30,500 surgeries were conducted during the year. The hospital spent about Rs 70.86 crore on various charitable activities during the last financial year which is 10 per cent more than the previous year,” Rana said.
Sir Ganga Ram, an engineer by profession, was born on April 13, 1851 in a village in Punjab province of British India.
He established the SGRH in 1920s in Lahore which still functions by the same name, even after partition. It is a 500-bed hospital attached to Fatima Jinnah Medical College.
The SGRH in Delhi was inaugurated in 1954 by then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.