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AIR spotlight: Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY)


AIR spotlight: Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) 




Prime minister laid the foundation stone for All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Gorakhpur in eastern Uttar Pradesh. The state where medical care is very poor. AIIMS will provide tertiary care for the people. Gorakhpur is a significant area, but always in news for one bad reason that is the Japanese encephalitis which takes many lives.

Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY)

  • The Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) was announced in 2003 with objectives of correcting regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/ reliable tertiary healthcare services and also to augment facilities for quality medical education in the country.
  • Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana was approved in March 2006. The first phase in the PMSSY has two components – setting up of six institutions in the line of AIIMS; and up gradation of 13 existing Government medical college institutions.

Importance of AIIMS

  • Health care is a very important dimension of Good Governance. Quality health care has been lacking in Gorakhpur region. Having AIIMS in those area is to take the AIIMS level of quality to those places where previously people from all parts of the country use to come to AIIMS in Delhi.
  • AIIMS was considered the best in terms of what government can provide in terms of public health care. Today medical sciences have made lot of improvements and advancements. When it comes to availability to the people, it is the urban people who benefit invariably.
  • So the new project is very important in terms of providing high quality medical facilities to those places where there is no medical attention.
  • We have schemes for Ambulance services, primary health care etc. Having AIIMS in Gorakhpur is important for access to specialist services.
  • Sometimes there are complicated health cases. Providing specialist care along with basic health care facilities is very important. For specialists and diagnostics, people are forced to come to cities for treatment.
  • It is very difficult for poor villagers to come to city and stay for the purpose of availing medical treatment. So having a super speciality hospital with areas of excellence will benefit the people of Gorakhpur.
  • The basic idea of setting up AIIMS at various places was to provide quality and affordable care. Along with this quality medical education is also created.

State of Health care in India

  • In India 10 lakh people die every year due to lack of medical care facilities and 70 crore have no access to medical specialists. 80% specialists are in urban areas.
  • The world average is 3.96 hospitals per 1000 population. In India it is 0.7 hospital beds. 70% of state’s budget goes in paying salaries and wages. This is very dismal situation.
  • Life expectancy has gone up to 66 years as compared to 32 years when India got independence. Health care is going to be more significant aspect. In a country where social welfare and social development indices are yet to grow, the new project shows some kind of commitment by the government for the welfare of the people.
  • The public funding for health care is 22%, while 78% is going to private hospitals. The share of the richest 20% of the population gets 31% of the total public subsidies. The real intended portion of benefits is not reaching the lower end of the ladder of population. This is a very grim picture.
  • The available medical facilities are not reaching the people who badly need them. In government hospitals there is apathy in terms of attending to patients, availability of facilities and availability of modern technology.
  • India has 0.7 doctors per 1000 population. In the present scenario even 7 doctors per 1000 population may not be sufficient, by looking at the lifestyle diseases (Non Communicable Diseases). The diseases we normally thought would affect only a particular section of the population like obesity is prevalent among low income people. The diseases are striking at every strata of the society. How people cope up with it is a big question.
  • According to Lancent report of 2015, in India 25,300 public health centres have no doctors, 80% of the community health centres do not have a specialist/ surgeon, 76% don’t have access to gynaecologist and 82% don’t have a paediatrician. At one hand we are expanding medical services, while the real staff to treat or diagnose and support staff, we have a long way to go.    

Need of the Hour

  • The private health care can fill up that space. In recent times there are issues about quality health care provided by private sector. So government cannot leave healthcare completely to private sector.
  • Private healthcare is equally important because government alone cannot provide health services to the citizens. The government must supplement the services available by creating the centres of excellence.
  • 80% of the medical doctors work in urban centres. Government has tried to correct it by making rural service as compulsory. But things haven’t improved. The other side is doctors find it difficult to stay or have a hospitable living in area where they can move and stay with their family. The facilities for the doctors to stay in rural areas have to be created by the government.
  • In terms of developed countries, the quality medical facility we get in any part of that country is equal to what they get in the bigger cities. India should also aim for the similar system where the super speciality services are available at least at the district level.
  • India has 0.7 doctors per 1000 population, china has 1.5 and Pakistan has 0.8. Recently health minister said India need 7.5 lakh doctors where as the intake of medical colleges are 50,000 students. There is a huge gap in terms of availability of doctors and the need to provide quality medical care. This is to be addressed.


We need to have quality medical facilities at all places. They have to be at affordable prices. Only the government can make the high quality medical care affordable to the people.

38,000 to 45,000 doctors pass out every year. But in terms of post MBBS super specialisation there are not more than 17,000 seats. There is a need to fill this gap. The Medical Council of India and the Government of India have been looking at the issue. The foundation stone of AIIMS at Gorakhpur is a step in the right direction.