Anil Vij (61) may be a first-time minister, but is already on the move, travelling to hospitals and sports schools to gather first-hand information about the state of affairs there. Unmarried and unwavering, the five-time MLA from Ambala Cantonment appears determined to show that he means business. “The health of the health department is not well; even the health budget allocated by the previous Congress regime was the second lowest in the country,” Vij tells
Conceding gross mismatch in manpower and equipment in state health institutions, he promises improvement. Excerpts from the interview:
Q: Your observations about the government health sector in the state?
It was the most neglected department of the previous governments. In fact, I was shocked to see that the previous Congress government had earmarked only 2% of its budget, the second lowest in the country, for health. A state like Uttar Pradesh has about 12% of its budget for health sector. Inadequacies? The truth is that even common people do not want to take treatment at government health centres. They do not find doctors, nurses, para-medics, equipment or medicines. The doctors also do not prefer to join government services due to inadequate salaries etc. I am looking into all these issues and would strive to enhance the health budget and make the government doctor’s job lucrative. Swasth Haryana, Swachh Haryana is our motto.
Q: There were complaints of favouritism and corruption against the Congress regime. Will the BJP government be any different?
Our team has zero tolerance to corruption. If there is any error, no one, whosoever he or she may be, would be spared.
Q: How do you plan to cut down extravagance and unfruitful expenditure?
It is just the opposite. The health institutions need more we want our hospitals to be better swept, washed and cleansed like some in the private sector, we will have to spend more. The same goes for better treatment and better results on all fronts.
Q: Which are the priority areas you intend to focus on?
I would first focus on what we have and try to make a better use of the same. Likewise, I would also focus on what we do not have. For example, in a recent random inspection of general hospital at Kurukshetra, I found four or more women admitted for delivery or gynecological treatment on one bed. We need more rooms and beds. At the same time, there are doctors and equipment at places where they are underused. We will have to address these issues.
The most immediate challenge is to develop a proper work culture in the department. Because of the poor governance in the past, people, doctors and health officials have lost faith in the system. I am in constant touch with doctors, officials and technical staff, and would continue to take their suggestions. I have also told senior officials that they would have to go to the field to know the reality and effectiveness of health system. Our team has zero tolerance to corruption. If there is any error, no one, whosoever he or she may be, would be spared. It is just the opposite. The health institutions need more money. If we want our hospitals to be better swept, washed and cleansed like some in the private sector, we will have to spend more. The same goes for better treatment and better results on all fronts.
Q: Any other plans on your mind?
I also wish to promote other disciplines of treatment such as yoga, ayurveda in a big way. I would seek guidance from yoga gurus like Baba Ramdev. Also, there is a need to make online record of hospitals’ functioning etc.