GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)

The Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a USD 300 million loan to strengthen and improve access to comprehensive primary healthcare in urban areas of 13 states benefiting over 256 million urban dwellers, including 51 million from slum areas, a statement said by the Health Ministry on 24 November 2021.


  1. The agreement signed for strengthening comprehensive primary healthcare and pandemic preparedness in urban areas programme.
  2. The programme supports Government of India's key health initiatives by expanding availability and access to quality primary healthcare services particularly for vulnerable populations in urban areas.
  3. It supports initiatives like Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWC) and Pradhan Mantri Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana (PM-ASBY), which has been renamed Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM).
  4. The Ayushman Bharat programme, launched in 2018, aims to improve access to comprehensive primary healthcare as a key strategy to achieve universal health coverage in India.
  5. The government launched PM-ASBY in October 2021 to adopt a long-term approach to system strengthening to prepare for future pandemics and other emergencies.
  6. The programme complements the government's efforts to bridge healthcare gaps by strengthening institutional capacity, operation, and management of urban health and wellness centres at central, state, and municipal levels.


  1. The programme will be implemented in urban areas across Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and West Bengal.
  2. The programme promotes increased utilisation of urban HWCs with provision of comprehensive primary healthcare packages, including noncommunicable diseases and community outreach services such as awareness raising activities on healthcare options, particularly for women.
  3. The programme is supported by a USD 2 million technical assistance grant from ADB's Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction to provide support for programme implementation and coordination, capacity building, innovation, knowledge sharing and application of scalable best practices across the healthcare system.