PM Modi's new Cabinet clears ₹23,132 crore package for Covid management
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new Cabinet met on Thursday and took a slew of measures regarding the health infrastructure of the country, amid the ongoing 2nd phase of the Covid-19 pandemic. In April 2020, the Cabinet had approved ₹15,000 crore package for Covid-19 emergency response, which was utilised to the maximum to upgrade the health infrastructure of the country, health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said.
"Now we know what challenges we faced during the second wave of the pandemic. So in the second phase, we are announcing a package of about ₹23,123 crore keeping the future in mind," the new health minister said.
All state governments will be consulted to chart out a future roadmap so that oxygen, beds, crucial medicines do not pose a challenge in front of the country. Out of this ₹23,000 crore, the Centre will give ₹15,000 crore and the state will give ₹8,000 crore, the minister said.
"Can we not use telemedicine? Can we not teleconsultation? All these have been incorporated into this new package. State governments can also use this fund to pool in nursing students to bolster the health infrastructure," the new minister said.
Special focus on child health care
The new health minister mentioned child health care as he announced the new package which includes provision for 20,000 new ICU beds.s About 20 per cent of it will be meant for children or be used for a hybrid purpose -- for both children and adults, the minister said. The package also has the provision for 736 district paediatric care units. The announcement comes amid apprehension that Covid 3rd wave, if it comes in India, might impact children
The package will be implemented within nine months, from July to March, next year, Mandaviya said. "The maximum deadline is of 9 months. We can do this even before the deadline according to the situation," the health minister said.
How will the new ₹23,000 crore package be utilised?
1. Integrated digital platform-- telemedicine, teleconsultation
2. 736 district paediatric care units
3. ₹1 crore for medicine buffer stock at state and district level
4. Pooling in medical interns, BSc nursing students at the state level
5. 10,000 litres oxygen storage at every district
6. Provision for setting up 2.4 lakh beds.
7. Provision for setting up 20,000 ICU beds, including 20% for children
8. Provision for 150-unit need-based field hospitals comprising 2,500 and 5,000 beds.
This was the first Cabinet meeting after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reshuffled his council of ministers and dropped several key faces of the council. Former minister Prakash Javadekar, who has been dropped from the ministry on Wednesday, used to brief Cabinet decisions after the meeting. After Thursday's meeting, new IB minister Anurag Thakur briefed the new decisions while agriculture minister Narendra Tomar and new health minister Mansukh Mandaviya elaborated on decisions of their respective departments.