Calling for a transformation of Indian healthcare through his ‘Make in India’ platform, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a pitch on Saturday for manufacture of advanced medical equipment in India and for Foreign Direct Investment or FDI in such manufacturing.
Speaking at the inauguration of the recently refurbished Sir Harkisondas Nurrotamdas Reliance Foundation Hospital in South Mumbai, Modi said investment in manufacture of medical equipment would benefit the average Indian patient.
“It is not possible to bring sophisticated technology to general hospitals. Let us encourage FDI in manufacture of medical equipment in order to benefit rural areas,” he said, adding that telemedicine, to benefit patients in rural India, would be an important area of focus under the government’s Digital India campaign.
The prime minister also called for renewed focus on preventive healthcare, and a shift from “insurance to assurance”. Accompanied by Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, Reliance’s Mukesh and Nita Ambani on the dias, Modi was addressing the who’s who of Mumbai who gathered for the function, including industrialists Anand Mahindra, Gautam Adani, politicians NCP leader Praful Patel, BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis, Shaina NC and Vinod Tawde, bankers Deepak Kapoor, Chanda Kochhar, journalists Shekhar Gupta, Arnab Goswami, actors Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai, Rani Mukherjee, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Saif Ali Khan, cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Anil Kumble, Mahendra Singh Dhoni among others, present at the function.
i also spoke of simple steps such as providing safe drinking water and inculcating the habit of hand-washing, both keys to preventive healthcare.
Citing a report he read that said 40 per cent of child deaths in Pakistan were on account of absence of hand-washing, he said, “The roots of both the countries are the same and the situation is not very different in India.”
He also mentioned that he had proposed the introduction an international Yoga Day to the United Nations.
While feed from the event was provided to new channels, no journalists were allowed at the venue. Eager crowds were kept at bay by the hordes of policemen present at the venue, while residents of the Prarthana Samaj near the hospital cheered film stars and politicians from their windows and terraces.
“Welcome Narendrabhai Modi” posters by the Reliance Foundation covered all junctions near the hospital, while the main New Charni road, the Kolhatkar road and lanes 12, 13 and 14 of Khetwadi around the hospital were cordoned off for people and motorists. By 3pm, a slew of high-end luxury cars, Mercedes, Rolls Royce, Jaguars, BMWs, with tinted windows made their way into the lane next to the hospital, followed by the PM’s convoy.
While most of the shops that lined erstwhile Harkisondas hospital wall were bought over by Reliance while those that had retained their ownership were asked to close down around 3pm to reduce crowd.
The usually congested New Charni Road was rid of vehicles and got a makeover overnight, say residents. “All the parked vehicles were moved, new white lines were painted around the dividers and the area was swept. It takes a Narendra Modi visit to clean this area. Even the trees on the sidewalk along the hospital got grass cover overnight,” said KR Mehta, a resident of Khetwadi.