NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hailed the contribution of doctors in saving lives from coronavirus and asserted that his government gave paramount importance to augmenting healthcare infrastructure to combat the pandemic.
While stressing that losing even one life is saddening, Modi said India saved the lives of lakhs of its people and a big credit for that goes to doctors, healthcare and frontline workers.
Addressing doctors on the occasion of National Doctors' Day, he also highlighted "limitations" of the kind of medical infrastructure that was created in the country over several decades and how medical infrastructure was neglected in earlier times.
"In our country, the population pressure makes this challenge even more difficult. But despite this, India's per lakh population rate of infection and death rate has still been manageable compared with more developed countries," Modi said.
"Losing the life of even one person is very saddening but India has also saved the lives of lakhs of its people from coronavirus. A big credit for it goes to our hard working doctors, healthcare workers and front line workers," he said.
Noting that the virus is new and is mutating, the prime minister said India's doctors, with their knowledge and experience, are fighting the challenges posed by the virus.
"Our government has given paramount priority to healthcare. Last year, during the 1st wave, we had allotted Rs 15,000 crore to improve our health infrastructure. This year, allocation of budget for healthcare is over Rs 2 lakh crore," Modi said.
Till 2014, where there were only six AIIMS in the country, work on 15 new AIIMS has already started in the last seven years, he pointed out.
The number of medical colleges has also increased by about one and a half times, he said.
Now, the government has come up with a Credit Guarantee Scheme of Rs 50,000 crore to strengthen the health infrastructure in such areas where there is a lack of health facilities, Modi said.
"Our government is committed to safeguarding our doctors. Last year, we brought in several provisions against crimes against doctors," he said.
We are also providing free insurance cover to our COVID warriors, Modi added.
The way our doctors have served the country is an inspiration in itself, he said and expressed gratitude to all doctors on behalf of 130 crore Indians.
Today, when the country is fighting such a big war against Corona, doctors have saved millions of lives by working hard day and night, he said.
Modi also paid tributes to doctors who lost their lives while combating the covid pandemic and expressed condolences to their families.
Doctors' Day is observed in the honour of noted doctor and former West Bengal chief minister Bidhan Chandra Roy, whose birth and death anniversaries fall on July 1.