Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha, he said the government has drawn up an expansion plan within the available space at the RML Hospital.

A new emergency and private rooms as well as a super- speciality complex are being planned to be built in the hospital premises, he said, adding the bed strength will be increased by 40-50 percent.

To address the issue of shortage of doctors in rural healthcare centres, the minister said post-graduate medical students can be asked to do specific duration of their courses in rural areas.
Stating that health is a state subject, he said that undoubtedly there is a huge burden on hospitals and the Central government is providing assistance to the states to augment capacities.
"Although health is a state subject and the responsibility to provide the required infrastructure facilities in the government hospitals rests with the respective state governments, the Central government supplements their efforts by way of providing assistance for new construction renovation, setting up health centres, hospital strengthening," he said.
Asked about BJP's election promise of providing free medical care for all citizens, he said that the President's Address to the Joint Sitting of Parliament had highlighted the government's plan for universal health assurance and insurance.
"We have started working on our manifesto that every citizen particularly poor get free healthcare," he said.
Congress members were not satisfied by the reply and were up on their feet demanding a specific timeframe from the government for free health care for all.

Leader of the Opposition in Upper House Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the previous UPA government had initiated free-healthcare for all in phases in the past two year.
Under the programme, budgetary support was being provided to states providing free medicines, he said, adding about half a dozen states including Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Haryana were already part of the scheme.


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