The government on Wednesday extended the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) by two years till 2020 with a financial outlay of Rs 14,832, crore to strengthen healthcare infrastructure in the country including setting up of more AIIMS-like hospitals and upgrading the state-run hospitals.
"In a major boost to the expansion of healthcare infrastructure in the country, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the continuation of PMSSY beyond 12th Five Year Plan up to 2019-20," the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a note.
"The financial outlay for this purpose is Rs 14,832 crore," Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters while briefing on the cabinet decisions.
Under the Central sector scheme, new AIIMS are established and government medical colleges are upgraded, according to him.
"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.
The scheme aims at correcting imbalances in the availability of affordable tertiary healthcare facilities in different parts of the country in general, and augmenting facilities for quality medical education in the under-served states in particular, said the Health Ministry.
"Under this (PMSSY), we are going to set up 20 AIIMS in the country, of which 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 Modi government had announced setting up of four AIIMS-like hospitals in the 2014-15 budget, another seven in the 2016-17 budget and two more in the 2017-18 budget in the states of Gujarat and Jharkhand, taking the number to 20 since the start of PMSSY in 2003.
Further, the Modi government provided for the upgradation of 13 government medical colleges in the 2014-15 budget and two in the 2016-17 budget, pushing the number of upgradation projects to 73 since the launch of the the scheme.
"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 the statement.
The construction of the new AIIMS will be fully funded by the Central government. The Centre will also bear the operation and maintenance expenses of these facilities.
The upgradation programme broadly envisages improving health infrastructure through construction of super speciality blocks, trauma centres and others, according to the statement.
The procurement of medical equipment for the existing as well as the new facilities will be done on a sharing basis by both the Central and state governments.
"The construction activity for the creation of physical infrastructure for various new AIIMS and the upgradation projects for government medical colleges is also expected to generate substantial employment during the construction phase as well," it said.