New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday (July 1) launched the National Sickle Cell Anaemia Elimination Mission in Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh and distributed sickle cell genetic status cards to the beneficiaries. The Prime Minister also kickstarted the distribution of about 3.57 crore Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) cards in Madhya Pradesh. During the programme, the Prime Minister honoured Rani Durgavati, the ruling queen of Gondwana in the mid-16th century.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister paid tributes to Rani Durgavati and said that the National Sickle Cell Anaemia Elimination Mission inspired by her is being initiated today. He also mentioned that 1 crore Ayushman Cards are being issued to the people of Madhya Pradesh.
PM Modi underlined that the biggest beneficiaries of the two major efforts are the people of Gond, Bhil and other Adivasi societies. He congratulated the people and the double-engine government of Madhya Pradesh on the occasion. He said,
From the land of Shahdol, the nation is taking a big pledge of securing the lives of the people from the tribal communities, a resolution of freedom from Sickle Cell Anaemia and saving the lives of 2.5 lakh children and families that are affected by the disease. Recalling his personal experience with the tribal communities, the Prime Minister underlined the painful symptoms and genetic origin of Sickle Cell Anaemia.
The Prime Minister lamented the fact that no attention was paid towards the issue of Sickle Cell Anaemia for the past 70 years even though more than 50 per cent of Sickle Cell Anaemia cases in the world arise in India itself.
He highlighted the indifference of the past governments towards the Adivasi communities and stated that it was the present government that went on to find a solution for this.
For the present government, the Prime Minister said the Adivasi community is not just an electoral number but a matter of great sensitivity and emotion. He informed that he has been putting in efforts in this direction way before he first became the Chief Minister of Gujarat where he and the present Governor of Madhya Pradesh, Mangubhai C Patel would visit Adivasi communities and create awareness about Sickle Cell Anaemia.
He also recalled starting various campaigns in the state as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. He further informed about seeking help from a Nobel Prize-winning scientist during his visit to Japan as the Prime Minister of India.
The Prime Minister said that this campaign for elimination of Sickle Cell Anaemia will become a key mission of the Amrit Kaal. He expressed the determination to free the tribal communities and the country from the menace of Sickle Cell Anaemia by 2047.
He underlined the need for a coordinated approach of government, health personnel and tribals. He informed that blood banks are being established for the patients, arrangement for bone marrow transplant is being enhanced, and screening of Sickle Cell Anaemia is being revamped. He asked the people to come forward for screening.
The Prime Minister said that disease affects the entire family as disease pushes the family into the web of penury.
Referring to his own background of poverty, PM Modi said that the government knows this pain and is sensitive about helping the patients. These efforts have reduced the cases of TB and the country is working to eliminate TB completely by 2025. Giving facts about the incidence of various diseases, the Prime Minister said in 2013, there were 11,000 cases of Kala Azar, now they have been reduced to less than a thousand. In 2013 there were 10 lakh cases of Malaria which have now come down to less than 2 lakhs in 2022. Similarly, leprosy cases have come down from 1.25 lakh to 70-75 thousand.
“The present Government strives to not only reduce ailments but also minimize the expenses on any ailment,” the Prime Minister remarked as he highlighted the Ayushman Bharat Scheme which has significantly reduced the financial burden on the people due to medical expenses. He informed that 1 crore beneficiaries have been handed Ayushman cards today which will act as an ATM card worth Rs 5 lakh for the poor who have to pay a visit to the hospital.
Be it any part of India, you can show them this card and get free treatment worth Rs 5 lakh.
The Prime Minister informed that about 5 crore patients have availed free treatment under the Ayushman Scheme, in the entire country, saving more than one lakh crore rupees of patients. The Prime Minister said,
This Ayushman Card is the guarantee of eliminating the biggest worry of the poor. No one has given this guarantee of 5 lakh rupees in the past, it is this government, it is PM Modi, that has given this guarantee.
The Prime Minister warned about those who are offering false guarantees and asked the people to identify their shortcomings.
Referring to the guarantee of free electricity, the Prime Minister said that it implies that the cost of electricity will rise. Similarly, when a government is offering free rides, it means that the transport system of the state is about to be destroyed, when promises are made for higher pensions, it is a clear indication that the salaries of its employees would be delayed.
He also referred to cheap petrol prices on offer and said that it only means increased tax rates for the people. Upon guarantees of employment, the Prime Minister said it is a surety that the newly introduced policies will destroy the industries in the state.
Taking a sharp jibe at the opposition, the Prime Minister said,
The intention of some political parties is ‘Niyat mein Khot aur Gareeb par Chot’ (evil intentions and the tendency to hurt the poor). In the past 70 years, the previous governments could barely put food on the table for the poor, but the present government is turning the tables by providing a guarantee of free food grains to 80 crore families through Garib Kalyan Yojna
He also touched upon providing health security to 50 crore beneficiaries through Ayushman Yojna, free gas connections to 10 crore women beneficiaries of Ujjwala Yojna, and loans to 8.5 crore beneficiaries through the Mudra Yojna.
The Prime Minister also talked about the anti-tribal policies of the past. The Prime Minister said that the new National Education Policy has addressed the challenge of language before the tribal students.
He lamented the opposition to NEP by the people who gave false guarantees. He informed about more than 400 new Eklavya Schools that are providing residential schooling to tribal kids. 24,000 such students are getting education in Madhya Pradesh alone.
Continuing with honouring the tribal heritage, the Prime Minister talked about steps taken in the last 9 years. He listed steps like declaring 15 November, the birth anniversary of Bhagwan Birsa Munda as Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas and museums dedicated to various tribal freedom fighters.
The Prime Minister announced that the 500th birth anniversary of Rani Durgavati will be celebrated by the government of India at national level. A film will be made on her life and a commemorative coin and postal stamp will be issued.
Concluding the address, the Prime Minister asked for the cooperation and blessings of the people to continue these efforts even further. He expressed confidence that the blessings and inspiration of Rani Durgavati will enable Madhya Pradesh to soar to new heights of development and together realize the dream of a developed India.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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