Health and family welfare minister Ahmed Hasan on Thursday assured his central counterpart Ghulam Nabi Azad that there would be no repeat of the national rural health mission (NRHM) scam in Uttar Pradesh.
During a meeting in New Delhi, Hasan also said the money released by the Centre would be used to strengthen health facilities in UP and provide basic health services to the poor.
The meeting was held to discuss the central aid to the state as well as to review the progress of the NRHM. In April, the Centre had assured the state government that Rs. 4,600 crore would be sanctioned for the implementation of the NRHM programme in the financial year 2012-13. There was a rider that funds would be released only when there were no irregularities in the purchase of medicines, equipment or construction of hospitals.
Sources said the union health and family welfare ministry had delayed the release of money in August-September as it wanted the state government to submit a utilisation certificate. The delay hit the national health programmes, including those for blindness control, leprosy control, immunisation, TB control and family planning. The state government's drive to prevent the deaths of children in districts affected by Japanese Encephalitis (JE)/ Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) was also hit.
To convince Azad, Hasan presented records of the utilisation of money under the NRHM since the Samajwadi Party government came to power in March.
Talking to HT on the phone, Hasan said, "I told the union health and family welfare minister that the state government had launched several programmes for below poverty line patients. No fee was charged for indoor admission in government hospitals and a free ambulance service had been launched."
"I urged the union minister to permit the state government to hire doctors and staff on contract under the NRHM to tide over the crisis of doctors and paramedical staff. I also urged Azad to sanction funds for the purchase of 1,000 extra ambulances," he said.