NEW DELHI: India’s Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan inaugurated a Jan Aushadhi Centre at Deep Market, Ashok Vihar on the occasion of Jan Aushadhi Diwas today.
The Union Health Minister stated that on 7th March 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared that henceforth 7th March every year would be celebrated as Jan Aushadhi Diwas for promoting and increasing the outreach of generic medicines.
The theme of 3rd Jan Aushadhi Diwas this year is “Seva bhi- Rozgar Bhi” to highlight the meaningful employment to pharmacists along with assured access to quality medicines for all sections of the society.
Dr Harsh Vardhan informed that today is the culmination of the week-long celebration of the ‘Jan Aushadhi Week’. During the period from 1 – 6 March, 2021 various events like organizing medical camps, distribution of sanitary napkins, holding padayatra, bike rally etc., have been organized for creating awareness about Jan Aushadhi.
The Union Minister recollected having been satisfied at the availability of Jan Ausadhi at Mon in Nagaland in his recent trip. The district is one of the geographically remotest parts of North East.
Detailing Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP)’s journey so far, Dr Harsh Vardhan noted, “In the first six years of the scheme, i.e., from 2008 till the year 2014, only 86 stores were opened. In the next six years (up to 2020) the number of outlets have grown to 7,300. All the districts of the country have already been covered. Today, on March 7th, 2021, we have started the 7500th Kendra. We are committed to increasing the number of stores to 10,000 by the year 2024.”
Appreciating the impact of Jan Aushadhi Centres on people and its role as a source of income for many people, he noted, “Approximately 1.00 to 1.25 Crore people are taking medicines from Jan Aushadhi Kendra’s every month. The popularity of the Kendras can be judged from the fact that people refer these Kendras as ‘Pradhan Mantri Ji Ki Dukan’, ‘Modicine’ etc.
Besides providing quality, affordable generic medicines, the scheme has proved as a good source of employment to the educated unemployed youth of the country. More than 15,000 persons are directly employed at various levels in Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra’s (PMBJKs), with logistics partners like distributors, quality testing labs etc. It is also praiseworthy to note that more than 1,000 Kendras are run by women entrepreneurs/pharmacists.”
Reiterating the government’s commitment towards strengthening PMBJP during this year, the Union Minister said two initiatives have been taken in the new year. First is the Introduction of New Incentive Plan to make the scheme more attractive. Under this plan, the incentive provided to the Kendra owners has been enhanced from existing Rs. 2.50 lakh to Rs. 5.00 lakh, maximum at Rs. 15,000 per month.
Further, one time incentive of Rs. 2 lakhs for computer and furniture have been approved for stores opened by women, SC and ST & any entrepreneur in aspirational districts or North-Eastern States. The second initiative taken is the Inclusion of 75 Ayush medicines in the product basket of PMBJP to expand the utility of Kendras.
Dr Vardhan highlighted and appreciated the role of PMBJKs during COVID-19 pandemic. He said, “In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, PMBJKs have rendered essential services to the nation. All Kendras (PMBJKs) maintained their operations regularly and made medicines available to citizens. The sale of medicines in the stores increased during the nationwide lockdown.”
Dr. Harsh Vardhan concluded by pointing out that this initiative is just a brick in the government’s commitment to holistic health; AB-HWCs scans people for diabetes, hypertension and other grave diseases like cancer at more than 50,000 centres while more than 24,000 private hospitals provide free healthcare to them at the drop of a PM-JAY Card; Jal Jeevan Mission will provide potable water and weed out water borne diseases; Ujwala Scheme has provided gas cylinders to women and prevented lung diseases in them; New Budgetary provisions visualize NIV like institutes in all corners of the country to tackle novel diseases with potential to become a pandemic along with increase in specialized hospital capacity to treat them at all levels of healthcare.