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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit one of the top performing aspirational districts Bijapur in Chhattisgarh and open the first health centre under Ayushman Bharat Scheme on April 14, the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar, a top Niti Aayog official said on Friday.
Modi will be the first prime minister to visit tribal district Bijapur, one of the most backward regions of the country but has started doing well on various development parameters, said Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant in a press conference.
Bijapur along with Bahraich (Uttar Pradesh) and Mewat (Rajasthan) were among the 115 aspirational districts, which have shown noteworthy achievement in the last three months on three parameters - incremental performance, best action plan and best practices, he added.
"The prime minister would be interacting with people, local 'Champions of Change' including officials of the district administration, who despite all odds and being at the epicentre of Left Wing Extremism have performed very well, especially post the launch of Aspirational District programme on January 5, 2018," the Niti Aayog CEO said.
Modi in January this year had said that he will personally visit the aspirational district, which will show the most noteworthy performance on identified parameters.
The Centre has embarked upon a major policy initiative for rapid transformation of districts that are lagging on specific development parameters.
Senior government officials of the rank of additional secretary and joint secretary have been designated as officers in-charge to coordinate the efforts of the Centre and states in addressing the specific developmental needs of these districts.
Speaking at the same event, Niti Aayog member V K Paul said that under the first pillar of Ayushman Bharat Scheme, the government will open 1.5 lakh health and wellness centre by 2022, which will be equipped to provide medical treatment for diseases such as blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and old age illness.
Paul also said under the second pillar of Ayushman Bharat Scheme, the government has prepared the broad contour of the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) and the work is on to finalise parameters for identifying beneficiaries and hospital entitlement.
"The government plans to open 15,000 health and wellness centres in current fiscal year...We will also provide 6 months mid level service trainings to nurses and Ayush doctors and it will be a continuous process," Paul said.
Noting that the focus has for long been on insurance, Kant said now we will begin to look at comprehensive, affordable, preventive and primary care.
"It will reduce patients hardship and out of pocket expense," he said.
It may be mentioned that the Ayushman Bharat has twin missions.
First, creating a network of health and wellness centres to deliver comprehensive primary healthcare close to the community, and second, providing insurance cover to 40 per cent of India's population, that is most deprived, for secondary and tertiary care, including for instance, hospitalisation costs.
The assembly elections in Chhattisgarh are due later in the year.