Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that to take India forward, it is equally important to develop the health services in the country.
The Prime Minister was addressing a gathering after inaugurating the 300-bed Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre at Mullanpur in Punjab's Mohali district.
With Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Congress MP Manish Tewari and his cabinet colleague Jitendra Singh sharing the dais, Modi, who was given a rousing reception by party workers and supporters amid slogans of "Jai Shri Ram" and "Modi, Modi", said, "When the people of India will get modern hospitals and facilities for treatment, then they will get well sooner and their energy will be channelled in the right direction."
"Our government is working on six fronts -- promotion of preventive healthcare, opening small and modern hospitals in villages, opening medical colleges and big medical research institutes in cities to increase the number of doctors and paramedical staff across the country, to provide cheap medicines, cheap medical equipment to the patients and use of technology to reduce the difficulties faced by patients."
Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister inaugurated the state-of-the-art 2,600 bed Amrita hospital in Faridabad in Haryana that will be managed by Mata Amritanandamayi Math -- a charitable organisation spearheaded by its namesake Mata Amritanandamayi.
Saying that he understands the problems of the cancer patients, Modi said earlier the patients travelled long distances for treatment in specialty hospitals.
"Since the inception of Bilaspur AIIMS and Homi Bhabha Cancer Institute, this problem has been addressed and we are working towards reaching every corner of India to provide cancer treatment."
He said the Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre would help in providing improved healthcare services to people in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
This state-of-the-art facility at Mullanpur in New Chandigarh has been built by the Central government at an outlay of over Rs 660 crore.
The foundation stone of the cancer hospital, the first of its kind cancer care in north India, was laid by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on December 30, 2013. At that time Parkash Singh Badal was the Chief Minister of Punjab in a coalition of the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP government.
Modi said his government has decided to open around 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres. "In Punjab, 3,000 health and wellness centres are giving their services. Our government is making efforts to open one medical college in each district of the country. We have set up 40 cancer hospitals and most of them have already started functioning."
"Before 2014, there were less than 400 medical colleges, while in eight years, around 200 new medical colleges have been set up."
He said 3.5 crore people have got treatment under the Centre's Ayushman Bharat Scheme and added that treatment costing Rs 40,000 crore has been provided under this scheme.
On the occasion of dedicating the hospital to the nation, Chief Minister Mann honoured the Prime Minister with a momento of the holiest of Sikh shrines, Harmandir Sahib, popularly known as the Golden Temple.
In his address, Mann regretted the cancellation of the Prime Minister's visit to Ferozepur due to a security breach on January 5 during the Charanjit Singh Channi-led Congress government.
This hospital will function like a 'hub' of cancer care and treatment in the region, with the 100-bed hospital in Sangrur functioning like its 'spoke'.