The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved a plan to set up 20 All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) across the country, six of which have already been established, and to upgrade 73 medical colleges.
The decisions are part of the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), which has been extended by two years till 2020, with a financial outlay of Rs 14,832 crore, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters while briefing on the cabinet decisions.
"Under this (PMSSY), we are going to set up 20 AIIMS in the country, six have already been established, and would upgrade 73 medical colleges. This is a historic decision," said the Union Law and Information Technology Minister.
The decision to extend the PMSSY was aimed to meet the shortfall in healthcare professionals and facilities across the country.
"Setting up of new AIIMS would not only transform health education and training but also address the shortfall of healthcare professionals in the region... Setting up of new AIIMS in various states will lead to employment generation for nearly 3,000 people in various faculty and non-faculty posts in each of the AIIMS," said an official statement.
The construction of new AIIMS will be fully funded by the Central government. It will also bear the operations and maintenance expenses of these facilities.
The upgradation programme broadly envisages improving health infrastructure through construction of super specialty blocks, trauma centres and others, according to the statement.
The procurement of medical equipment for existing as well as new facilities will be done on sharing basis by both Central and state governments.
"PMSSY was started during the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee to provide quality healthcare in remote areas as it's not right to put all the pressure on AIIMS in Delhi. There were talks of setting up six AIIMS. But what happened in the next 10 years is for all to see," said Prasad.