The UP government has decided against changing the name of the 108 ambulance scheme an emergency medical transport system even though it is a prerequisite by the Centre for further fund release for the schemes implementation.
The scheme,implemented under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM),has been christened Samajwadi Swasthya Sewa by the state government. We have taken up the issue with the Centre. When the scheme was launched,there was no such instruction under the NRHM,Hence,we did not defy any norms. Now that the scheme has been launched,the name has a certain brand value, said Principal Secretary,Health,Praveer Kumar.
In the approval for Project Implementation Plan (PIP) of NRHM for UP for 2013-14,the Centre gave clear instructions that ambulances and Mobile Medical Units (MMU) run under NRHM are to be branded as National Ambulance Service and National Mobile Medical Unit,respectively.
The Centre also prepared guidelines regarding colour,design and logo for the two services,which the state government was asked to stick to. It has also kept the states proposals of approximately Rs 170 crore for ambulances and Rs 145 crore for MMU schemes pending,awaiting implementation of these guidelines.
The Principal Secretary said the state government bears around 76 per cent of the total funding of the ambulances,including its operational cost. The one-time cost of purchasing the ambulance was shared by the Centre and state government under the NRHM in a ratio of 80:20,he added.
The ambulances cost around Rs 7 lakh,whereas the cost for running the ambulance comes to around Rs 10 lakh,which is to be borne by the state government. The state government is also mulling over funding the ambulance scheme with its own budget if the Centre refuses to agree to the state governments request to keep the name.
The issue was also taken up during the State Health Mission meeting under Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav held last week. While sources said the CM made it clear that the name will not be changed and the state government might decide to fund the scheme with its own budget the Centre does not fund the scheme under NRHM,the Principal Secretary maintained that no such decision has been taken at the government level yet. The state government will only take a call on the issue if the Centre refuses to fund the scheme.
The issue is being taken up with the Centre. Let it say it in so many words that it will not fund the scheme and then the state government will take a call on it, said Kumar.