Amid the growing demand for healthcare facilities in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the NITI Aayog has asked states to accelerate the process of setting up of medical colleges on PPP model and augmenting district hospital facilities with private partners.
In a communication to chief secretaries of all states, a NITI official has also advised them to use the facility of Viability Gap Funding (VGF), available for social sectors, for this purpose.
“As you are aware, to address the endemic shortage of qualified doctors across the country especially the Aspirational Districts, NITI Aayog developed and circulated the guidelines for setting up medical colleges through public private partnership,” the communication said.
“The model provides for Viability Gap Funding (VGF) requirement/premium as the bidding parameters. Where, depending on the viability of the project, a bidder may either seek grant from the government to support their capital investment and operational expenditure, or offer to pay a premium (in case of viable projects),” it said.
“The grant can be made available under the applicable VGF scheme of Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance. Whereby, for social infrastructure projects such as these, the Hon’ble Finance Minister, in ‘the fourth tranche of economic stimulus’, has announced the enhancement of the quantum of VGF to 30 % of the total project cost…”
The move comes a week after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced an outlay of Rs 8,100 crore for “boosting” private sector investment in social infrastructure through revised VGF scheme, as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat package.
NITI has also shared the final drafts of concession agreement and request for proposals with states. “For your immediate use and reference, these finalized draft of Request for Proposals (RfP) and concession agreement are enclosed herewith. These can be used as guiding principal for developing state/project specific concession bidding documents to accelerate scaling up of medical education and augmentation of district hospital facilities,” it said.
Earlier this year, Sitharaman had announced a proposal to set up VGF funding window for setting up hospitals in the PPP mode.