GS Paper - 2 (Infrastructure)

Prime Minister launched the Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission, one of the largest pan-India schemes for strengthening healthcare infrastructure, from his parliamentary constituency Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh on 25 October 2021. The prime minister also inaugurated various development projects worth more than Rs 5,200 crore for his constituency.

About the Mission

  1. The Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission is one of the largest pan-India schemes for strengthening healthcare infrastructure across the country. It is in addition to the National Health Mission.
  2. Its objective is to fill gaps in public health infrastructure, especially in critical care facilities and primary care in both urban and rural areas.
  3. It will provide support for 17,788 rural health and wellness centres in 10 high focus states. Further, 11,024 urban health and wellness centres will be established in all the states.
  4. Through this, critical care services will be available in all the districts of the country with more than five lakh population through exclusive critical care hospital blocks, while the remaining districts will be covered through referral services.
  5. People will have access to a full range of diagnostic services in the public healthcare system through a network of laboratories across the country, and integrated public health labs will be set up in all the districts.
  6. Under the scheme, a national institution for one health, four new national institutes for virology, a regional research platform for WHO South East Asia Region, nine biosafety level-III laboratories, and five new regional national centres for disease control will be set up.

Why is the scheme significant?

  1. India has long been in need of a ubiquitous healthcare system.
  2. A study (‘State of Democracy in South Asia (SDSA)–Round 3’) by Lokniti-CSDS in 2019 highlighted how access to public health care remained elusive to those living on the margins.
  3. The study found that 70 per cent of the locations have public healthcare services. However, availability was less in rural areas (65 per cent) compared to urban areas (87 per cent).
  4. The Prime Minister had recently launched another scheme, the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM), a flagship digital initiative involving the creation of not just a unique health ID for every citizen, but also a digital healthcare professionals and facilities registry.