Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan | Photo: ANI
Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan | Photo: ANI
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New Delhi: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has sought an urgent status update from states and union territories on healthcare infrastructure projects that are part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship initiative, the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP).

The ministry has asked for regular status updates of all health infrastructure projects, with a special emphasis on those which are “marquee or signature projects” involving greater investment or national importance.

Under the NIP scheme, which was launched on Independence Day 2019, the government plans to invest Rs 100 lakh crore over the next five years, including on social and economic infrastructure projects.

The health ministry has instructed states and union territories to establish a robust project monitoring mechanism for the health projects under NIP.

“It may be noted that the updated status of the state projects included in NIP would be required in the first week of every month on a regular basis,” Dr Rajesh Bhushan, the health secretary, wrote to chief secretaries of states and UTs in a letter dated 14 August, accessed by ThePrint.

“You are requested to furnish the status of implementation of the infrastructure projects… Out of the projects for the year 2020-2021, marquee or signature projects of considerable size or of national importance may also be indicated,” Bhushan wrote.


Also read: Modi pins hopes on Rs 110 lakh crore National Infra Pipeline to ease Covid hit on economy


What is the NIP?  

The health secretary’s letter also gives a brief summary about the NIP initiative.

“As you may be aware, the Union government has taken up a major initiative for boosting investment in infrastructure in the country. Towards this end, the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, government of India has started work on the national infrastructure pipeline,” it states, adding that the intention is to capture “all infrastructure projects across the country costing Rs 100 crore each”.

State governments as well as industry and business associations were consulted, and based on this exercise, the NIP has been finalised covering a period from 2019-20 to 2024-25.

PM Modi had announced the plan in 2019 with an objective of achieving a GDP of $5 trillion by 2024-25, for which India needs to spend about $1.4 trillion (Rs 100 lakh crore) on infrastructure, according to the statement released by the Press Information Bureau.

“In the past decade (FY 2008-17), India invested about $1.1 trillion on infrastructure. The challenge is to step-up annual infrastructure investment so that lack of infrastructure does not become a binding constraint on the growth of the Indian economy,” the statement read.

The NIP, according to the government, “will enable a forward outlook on infrastructure projects which will create jobs, improve ease of living, and provide equitable access to infrastructure for all, thereby making growth more inclusive. NIP includes economic and social infrastructure projects”.

‘Appoint a nodal officer in every state’

On the issue of project monitoring mechanisms, Health Secretary Bhushan also instructed the states and UTs: “You may also consider establishing a robust review system in your state to facilitate close monitoring of the state’s projects, including projects under the various centrally sponsored schemes in the health sectors.”

The ministry has established a mechanism with the joint secretary of the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) as nodal officer to monitor progress of all projects, including the states’ projects. States and UTs are also expected to nominate a nodal officer for proper coordination, and give communication details to the ministry.


Also read: India’s crawling infrastructure projects to be delayed further by Covid and lockdown


 

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