The government is likely to consider a proposal to set up a network of laboratories for managing epidemics and natural calamities across the country, particularly in the wake of threat of disease outbreak looming large over flood-ravaged Uttarakhand.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has proposed to establish such laboratories in medical colleges, states and different regions to help in increased medical research in view of spread of unknown viral diseases in the country.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) is likely to decide on the proposal in its meeting scheduled for on Thursday.
The Rs. 647-crore proposal will entail an expenditure of Rs. 485 crore by the Centre and the remaining around Rs. 162 crore as states' contribution in such laboratories.
The Department of Health Research under the health ministry has proposed a three-tier structure for such labs with establishment of 120 of them in government medical colleges where the teachers will be involved in innovation and research and another 30 at the state-level.
The state-level labs will have a 75% contribution from the Centre and 25% from states, except for Jammu and Kashmir and hill states, besides northeastern states which will have only 10% contribution.
The Department of Health research also proposes to set up 10 national level labs at the regional level across the country to help tackle disease control and research. These will be fully funded by the Centre and will have permanent structure and staff.
"The plan is to step up national surveillance for integrated disease control and increase the health research in the country, especially in the field of research," Secretary, Medical Research, V M Katoch told PTI.
At present, there are only two national level labs which handle disease outbreak and research - the National Centre for Disease Control in Delhi and the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune.