Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday laid the foundation stone for an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), to come up at Thoppur near Madurai at a cost of ₹1,264 crore.
During an event, he inaugurated three super-specialty hospitals, which were built on the premises of government medical colleges in Madurai, Tirunelveli and Thanjavur at a total cost of ₹450 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY). This apart, he launched 12 Post Office Passport Seva Kendras in the State.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Modi appreciated the Tamil Nadu government for the progress it had made in eradicating tuberculosis.
While the Union government was targeting the eradication of tuberculosis from the country by 2025, the Prime Minister said he was happy to note that Tamil Nadu was targeting the eradication of the disease by 2023 itself, through initiatives like ‘TB-free Chennai’.
Stating that the National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre was prioritising the health sector to ensure universal and affordable healthcare, he highlighted schemes like PMSSY, Ayushman Bharat and the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), which were being implemented for this purpose. He said 1.57 crore people from T.N. were covered under the PMJAY insurance scheme, of which 89,000 had made claims to the tune of ₹200 crore in the last three months alone.
Noting that the AIIMS in Delhi had cultivated a brand name for itself in healthcare, he said the AIIMS in Madurai will benefit the entire population of Tamil Nadu.
Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami appealed to the PM to sanction in the ensuing budget a government medical college in the ‘historically backward’ and ‘geographically remote’ Ramanathapuram district, which had already been chosen by the Union government for the Aspirational Districts Programme.
He highlighted how Tamil Nadu stood as an example to other States in healthcare by pointing to the schemes implemented in the State and the progress made in organ transplantation and control of infant and maternal mortality rates.
Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, who delivered the welcome address, thanked the PM for bringing AIIMS to Madurai. Pointing out that the jallikattu season was on in the State, he thanked Mr. Modi for helping lift the ban on the sport in 2017.
Both the CM and his deputy spoke in Tamil and English at the event. While Mr. Panneerselvam repeated almost his entire speech in English, Mr. Palaniswami made the appeal for a medical college in Ramanathapuram alone in English.
Despite it being a government function with the participation of the PM, the CM and the Governor, neither the Tamil Thai Vazhthu nor the national anthem was played during the event.