Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the 12th Five Year Plan will enhance spending on health up to three times and that more medical and nursing colleges were needed to overcome a shortage of trained human resources in the sector.
Speaking at the foundation stone laying of the Lady Hardinge Medical College project in New Delhi, the prime minister also said that health indicators reflected a country's overall well-being.
"Recognising the need to provide for the complex challenges in the health sector, the allocation for health has been enhanced three times in the 12th Plan as compared with the 11th Plan allocation," he said.
He said the government was paying more attention to medical education. In the last three years, the number of MBBS seats in medical colleges rose by over 30% and the seats for post-graduate programmes by 51%.
"However, the availability of trained human resources remains a challenge. We need to set up more nursing and medical colleges to increase both undergraduate and postgraduate seats in the 12th Plan," he said.
The prime minister said that nutrition, drinking water, sanitation, housing and education, particularly of the girl child, were increasingly being underlined as the social determinants of health.
He added that generic drugs would be made available free in all public hospitals across the country to help the poor reduce their out of pocket expenditure on health.