There is no dearth of funds for the health sector as was the situation earlier and the Centre has asked states to increase their expenditure on health and related infrastructure, the government informed the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
Replying to a question, Minister of Health and Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya said the government is spending Rs 64,000 crore under the Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission to strengthen the healthcare infrastructure in five years.
On average, Rs 100 crore would be spent in a district. It will create a special critical care unit at the block and district levels which will have a 100-bed hospital, ventilator facilities along with diagnostic facilities, he said.
"Earlier either the central government lacked funds or the health sector was neglected. But the situation has changed under the Modi government," he said.
This government does not believe in "tokenism" but in "totalism" and has stressed learning from past incidents. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the government realised the need to strengthen the health infrastructure in the country.
The minister said he holds meeting with states once every three months and conveys to them the government has enough funds for the health sector.
"Now we have to convince the state governments to increase their expenditure not only for health but for infrastructure also," Mandaviya said.
Recalling his days as a minister in the Gujarat government, Mandaviya said that they used to ask the Centre for funds then but it lacked funds or the health sector was neglected.
"But the situation has changed under the Modi government," he said.
The Centre is also providing financial assistance to the state governments to train manpower for the health sector, set up district hospitals, and purchase equipment. The aim is to ensure that everyone has access to health benefits, he added.
Replying to a supplementary question from Tamil Manila Congress (Moopanar) MP G K Vasan, the health minister said the country has more than 1.57 lakh health and wellness centres which are now connected with district hospitals.
"District hospitals or medical colleges are acting like hubs and 1.57 lakh health and wellness centres as spokes," he said, adding that through tele-consultation, they are treating poor patients.
According to the minister, daily, more than three lakh such teleconsultations are done and to date, the total tally of the beneficiaries is more than 54 crore.
Taking a dig at the opposition members who had walked out during the Question Hour demanding a debate on the situation in ethnic strife-torn Manipur, Mandaviya said the country would not benefit only from speeches, slogans, and walkouts from here.
"The poor get benefits, when you work with commitment, which the prime minister is doing," he said.
Replying to another question, Madaviya said now 12 types of screening facilities are available at the health and wellness centres. Besides, these have primary test facilities and conduct yoga sessions.
"These also have screening facilities for breast cancer, oral cancer, and cervical cancer for poor patients," he said.