Union minister Jitendra Singh on Sunday said Rs 190 crore has been sanctioned for augmentation of healthcare facilities in the eight Northeastern states, especially for the management of infectious diseases like COVID-19.
This was disclosed by Singh while reviewing the coronavirus situation and healthcare facility in 'aspirational districts' with a special focus on the Northeast.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) has decided to sanction Rs 190 crore for augmentation of healthcare facilities in the eight Northeastern states, particularly for developing infrastructure for management of infectious diseases, Singh said in a statement.
Addressing the virtual meeting, attended by health secretaries as well as deputy commissioners and health department officials of the 14 'aspirational districts' of the Northeast, Singh said the concept of 'aspirational district' was based on 49 key indicators, of which the status of healthcare was an important component.
Through a scientifically designed mechanism, each 'aspirational district' was to focus on improving these key indicators and raise its rating viz-a-viz the best performing district of the state and the best performing district of the country in the given indicators, he said.
An important experience from the COVID-19 pandemic, the DoNER minister said, is that in future, pre-emptive preparedness for epidemic and infection was imperative for optimum healthcare.
Considering this, he said, the Ministry of DoNER has given the Northeastern states the option to send proposals for health-related projects to be funded from Rs 500 crore under the North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NEISDS).
Accordingly, he said, proposals have been received from Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Sikkim, Mizoram and Nagaland, while the proposal from Tripura was awaited.
Singh recalled that long before the lockdown, in the very early stage of impending coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of DoNER had promptly released Rs 25 crore as an immediate assistance for gap-funding.
This was later followed by the option to avail from over Rs 500 crore North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NEISDS) fund.
The minister also complemented Assam's 'aspirational districts' Goalpara and Dhubri for having achieved Ayushman Bharat coverage of nearly 100 per cent and 85 per cent respectively.
In addition, Goalpara has within six months raised its rating from the 68th position to 16 in the all-India list of 150 ''aspirational districts''.
In spite of the issues of connectivity, Singh said the Northeastern states have performed fairly well in managing the coronavirus crisis.
He said certain issues were brought to his notice like inadequacies in the list of potential beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat and the cost of the 'Golden Card' which, he added, shall be taken up with appropriate authorities.
Secretary of the Ministry of DoNER and other senior officials of the ministry as well as senior officials of all the eight Northeastern states offered their inputs, based on the experience of healthcare management in the last two months.
Launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the 'Transformation of Aspirational Districts' programme aims to quickly and effectively transform backward districts of the country.