New Delhi, Feb 9 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi had directed all cabinet ministers to not be involved in “blame-game” during the Covid pandemic even as opposition parties were “indulging in politics” over vaccine production, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Friday.
Addressing questions at the 'Sushasan Mahotsav 2024', the minister said that the prime minister was pained by the opposition parties' criticism and attacks on the government over its efforts to develop an indigenous vaccine to vaccinate the country’s people.
"First they asked when the vaccine will arrive, and when it did, they questioned its efficacy and asked why PM Modi was not taking it. When the country was going through the Covid crisis, opposition parties indulged in politics over vaccine production.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the time directed his ministers not to get into blame-game and continue working diligently towards protecting the people from the disease," Mandaviya said.
When Covid struck, the world doubted India's capability of handling the pandemic, he said.
PM Modi held meetings with scientists and encouraged them to develop indigenous vaccines besides putting in place a number of guidelines and protocols.
He said there was no dearth of “manpower and brainpower” in India and within a short period of time, two vaccines were available in India by January 2021 which is a "major success story of India's research".
He said that India sent medicines such as hydroxychlorine to 150 nations, including some developed countries, during the Covid crisis after fulfilling India's own requirement.
It is worth mentioning that pharma companies did not increase the price of medicines and the quality of medicines were not compromised," he said.
"For us health is not commerce but sewa," Mandaviya added.
Responding to a question about the achievements of the Modi government in the last 10 years when compared to all his predecessors, Mandaviya said the current government adopts a “holistic approach” in the health sector.
First, the government decided to make health accessible and affordable for which 1.64 lakh Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres were made operational, the health minister said.
MBBS seats have increased from 51,348 in 2014 to the current 1,08,940 and PG seats have risen from 31,185 in 2014 to 70,674 now, the minister said. Medical colleges have been doubled to have more doctors, he added.
Twenty-two new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) have been approved by the government – of which seven are fully functional while 12 are partially functional and the rest are at various stages of operationalisation, Mandaviya said.
Around 6.22 crore hospital admissions have been authorised under the Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), which aims to provide health cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation to 12 crore families, the minister said.
Over 20 crore teleconsultations have been completed under the e-health initiative of Union Ministry of Health, eSanjeevani, he said.
He said that organ donation has received a boost under the government and that a central registry of blood banks has also been created. Drones are now being used to transport organs by some AIIMS, he added.
Vaccine manufacturing capacity has also gone up, Mandaviya said. PTI PLB SKY SKY