The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government's flagship health scheme, the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) is set to get another lease of life with Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad claiming that the government will fund the project for another five years.
Speaking at a Ranbaxy drug launch on the occasion of World Malaria Day, Azad claimed that "due to our persuasion, the prime minister and Planning Commission have agreed to fund NRHM during the next Five Year Plan (2012-17)."
"Although health is a state subject, the central government has been funding the project and the funding was to stop at the end of the 11th Five Year Plan," he added.
However, the minister rued that the state governments were "not seizing this opportunity" and urged them to "properly utilize central funds being given under NRHM and strengthen the agencies for combating diseases like malaria."
NRHM got a higher allocation of Rs.20,822 crore ($4.14 billion) in the 2012-13 budget presented in March. The scheme is aimed at improving the availability and accessibility of quality healthcare in rural areas.