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Atishi allocates Rs 8,685 crore to health sector, says saving every life is 'Ram Rajya'

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New Delhi, Mar 4 (PTI) The Delhi government has allocated Rs 8,685 crore for the health sector in its 2024-25 Budget with Finance Minister Atishi on Monday asserting that the national capital's healthcare system has moved from "helplessness to strength" in nine years under the Arvind Kejriwal dispensation.

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The city government allocated Rs 9,742 crore for the health sector in its 2023-24 Budget.

Atishi presented the 2024-25 Budget with an outlay of Rs 76,000 crore and said the government is trying to realise the dream of "Ram Rajya".

She said the second principle of "Ram Rajya" is curing every ailing person.

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The minister then quoted a couplet from Tulsidas' Ramcharitmanas and explained that it speaks for the good health of all.

"It is a matter of misfortune for our country that we are far away from this vision. Till 2014, even Delhi government-run hospitals were in a bad state. The filth at these hospitals would belie that even treatment could be offered there. It used to appear that if one went there with one disease, they would return with four diseases," Atishi said.

Sharing details, Atishi said, "For the financial year 2024-25, I propose a budgetary outlay of Rs 8,685 crore for the health sector." She also highlighted how Delhi has changed under the AAP government.

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Before the Kejriwal government assumed power, a family's hard-earned money would get exhausted on treatment of its members at private hospitals. Situations also arose where people had to mortgage their home and precious jewels, Atishi said.

"What inhumanity was it that a person was left helpless to save either a family member's life or ancestral assets?" she asked, quoting a National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) report to highlight her claim.

According to the NSSO's 2014 report, the expenditure incurred rose up to Rs 38,000 even for the treatment of an ordinary disease at a hospital. In 2014, the per capita income in Delhi was Rs 2.47 lakh, so about 15 per cent was spent on treatment and major diseases would lead to a family slipping into debt, Atishi said.

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"Then the Kejriwal government took a pledge that we would provide world-class health care to all people residing in Delhi, whether they be rich or poor. In nine years since the Kejriwal government assumed power, the healthcare system has made the journey from a state of 'majboori' to 'majbooti' and 'nirasha' to 'vishwas'," Atishi said.

She also said there are 38 hospitals under the Delhi government where more than 81,000 people are treated daily in out-patient departments (OPD) and over 65,000 people per month get treatment for free in in-patient departments (IPD).

In 2014-15, there were 9,523 beds in hospitals and that number has risen to 13,708 for the 2024-25 period, Atishi said, adding that about 1.5 times more patients are now being given health care.

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She also said that OPD counter timings have been extended, data entry operators employed and, in line with international standards, cleanliness and other services implemented in a new way.

A list of essential drugs was prepared and emergency medicine procurement strictly implemented so that there was no shortage at any hospital, the minister said.

Atishi also highlighted the contribution of former health minister Satyendar Jain and said the "mention of Delhi's health revolution is incomplete" without mentioning his name.

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Adding that Jain bolstered a crumbling health system during his tenure, she said, "On behalf of the people of Delhi, we thank him from the bottom of our hearts." Asserting that "saving every life is 'Ram Rajya'", Atishi said 22,000 lives have been saved till now under the government's Farishtey Dilli Ke scheme.

Launched in October 2019, the scheme encourages people to rescue those who have met with road accidents.

At present, there are 380 Centralised Accident and Trauma Services (CATS) ambulances and the average response time has come down from 55 minutes to 15 minutes in the last 10 years, the minister said.

Atishi also said there are 530 Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics, in line with the vision for "Ram Rajya", and 64,000 people get free medicines, treatment and tests done daily at these clinics.

More than seven crore OPD visits have been recorded at these clinics since their inception, she claimed.

"I propose a budget of Rs 6,215 crore for our hospitals to maintain good facilities and ensure that our hospitals remain world-class in the upcoming fiscal," Atishi said during her address.

Rs 719 crore is being allocated to LNJP Hospital, Rs 497 crore to GTB Hospital, Rs 490 crore to GB Pant Hospital, Rs 352 crore to DDU Hospital, Rs 350 crore to Maulana Azad Medical College and Rs 291 crore to BSA Hospital, she added.

She also proposed "a budget of Rs 212 crore to ensure that the people of Delhi continue to receive excellent medical treatment through mohalla clinics".

The minister also allocated Rs 400 crore for the construction of new hospitals and the expansion of existing ones through remodelling.

"I also propose an allocation of Rs 194 crore for the purchase of new ambulances for Centralised Accident and Trauma Services (CATS)," she added. PTI KND SZM

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