Shri Prabhakar Ji, Shri Shivanand Ji, all the dignitaries present on the dias, all the senior multifaceted people associated with this academic field, all the students who will realize this dream of healthy India, I congratulate you all..! I would like to thank the eminent members of KLE Society, who gave me the opportunity to come here and welcomed me.
Friends, in life and society, in different casts and creeds, some or the other social activities keep getting organized and most of the society is constituted for political activities. In every corner of India, efforts are made to bring the society together, to have their trust and to bridge the social emotions for political growth. But a few great men are born, who are highly foresighted. When they start working, their contemporaries do not have any idea that their little efforts will become the reason for big revolution! I salute all those foresighted men who realized the potential of education and understood its importance 98 years back, and established this KLE so as to make education available to every sector of the society!
There is a Chinese proverb that the person, who plans for one year, sows grains, the one who plans for ten years, plants fruit-bearing trees, and the one who plans for generations, develops humans! The society like KLE has made an effort to develop human beings so that through education and culture, a strong nation, comprising of strong social structure and constituted of strong men is built, and generations can reap its benefits! When they would have started this, they would have faced many problems in the beginning. To establish an organization and keep it operational for 100 years is not a small endeavor! They would have faced various up and downs, blame games etc., but inspite of this, everyone would have worked together continuously for development and growth, and so every person who has contributed in this period, rightfully deserves a grand salute on this journey of 98 years and on the golden jubilee of J. N. medical college!
Belgaum, because of its education and especially because of the KLE society, has become a miniature of India. From every corner of India, since the past 5-6 decades or so, people of different languages and different food habits have been coming here and because of it, this academic abode has made its mark not only in Belgaum or Karnataka but in entire India and has developed a belief in people. If a society does not change itself with time and does not give importance to education, then it can’t ever grow. Education is the first sector that can sense the changes of the coming era. The way a businessman can predict the coming season or coming year, in the same way an academician can forecast the circumstances of generations to come. If he develops a system predicting them, then this becomes a major cause of change!
In China, English language was not introduced. When the world started moving in the direction of information technology and the age of global economy started, only then did China think of introducing English from primary schools, believing that if kids were to be made IT professionals and succeed in this world, then English must be taught to them. In a very short span of time, they have connected themselves to the global economy, while keeping their culture intact. 30 years back, there was a time when no university of China was known to the world, but in the last 30 years they have got 10 of their universities ranked in top universities of the world! Be it any government, it should have a strong wish and will, an aspiration that our country should be recognized globally in the field of education! We are the people who have always been devotees of knowledge. The concept of university education in the world is almost 2800 years old. There is a history of 2800 years of university education and in our own country universities like Nalanda, Takshashila and Valabhi have been renowned across the world. In this history of 2800 years, India has ruled this world of education for nearly 1600 years. At that time, centuries back, students of 80 nations used to study at a coastal area of Gujarat, Valabhi. However, we lost that status in the colonial era; we have become dependent in many ways. But, if just after independence, we would have focused on this particular field and would have strengthened it, then it is possible that in the post independence period of 50 years, we would have evolved as a great power in the education sector!
The world says that 21st century is the century of India. Whenever the world has entered the era of knowledge, India has always leaded it. 21st century is the century of knowledge. We are going to witness an age of unparalleled revolution in the education sector. We have been adorers of knowledge since Vedic era. ‘What can we give to the world in the century of science and technology’ - with this dream we will have to develop our education systems not in limited boundaries, but with a global vision and will have to try and reach new heights keeping in pace with the world!
Friends, today the health sector is a major cause of concern in the nation. Diseases are increasing, people are getting sick more often and the doctors are not available in the proportion in which they are needed. In the health sector, many services have developed like paramedical staff, but there is a huge scarcity in that area as well. Think of it, on one side 65% of our population is under the age of 35, which makes us the youngest country in the world, while on the other hand we do not have skilled manpower in paramedics! The need for paramedical staff is just as much as the need for doctors and the same is the need for health technology. Friends, even today we have to import many medical equipments from foreign countries. Isn’t the youth of this nation capable enough to develop them? The way we need human resource development, the same way we need this too. Technology has completely affected medical science; medical science cannot move a step ahead without technology, this is the scenario today. There was a time when the pulse rate was checked and medicines were given and people used to get better. But today 100 types of tests are conducted in the laboratory, and even a normal problem is diagnosed through tests. That is why we say that technology plays a vital role. But India is lagging behind in the research that should be conducted in this area!
We need human resource in the health sector. Whether it is a medical college or the paramedical staff, the country needs them in large numbers. Today, falling sick is the most-expensive for a poor man. Just a few days back, Hon. President mentioned that on an average 4 crore people take loans because of medical reasons. If someone in the family falls sick, then people have to take loans for their treatment. Their life gets stuck amidst medicines and loan. Why don’t we develop new systems for this! I have been asking one question to the insurance companies since many years now and have not got any answer till date. I am putting it forth here, so that if you meet someone from that industry, please ask him that if a car is insured and it meets an accident then every person sitting in the car is liable to have compensation, whether he is related to the car owner or not. If every person in the car is liable to be insured then in the same way, every bed in the hospitals should be insured, that whoever lies down on it gets insured! Insurance companies think that it will not earn them any profits, and so they do not answer me! Friends, Health Insurance is there but we will have to take guarantee and will have to think on Health Assurance. Only having Health Insurance is not sufficient, we will have to emphasize on Health Assurance!
With health assurance, also comes the issue of prevention. If people get pure water then most of the diseases are prevented, but today this is a challenge to the nation! I will share an experience of Gujarat with you, many of you would have seen Ahmedabad, there is a river called Sabarmati there, it is mentioned many times because of Mahatma Gandhi. Till a few years back, if a kid was asked to write an essay on Sabarmati then he used to write that there are piles of sand in the river, cricket is played there and circuses are performed. This is because he never saw water there in the river. Friends, we gridded the river, got the water of Narmada in Sabarmati and gave life to the river. Now when you go there, it is worth seeing! Now the world thinks that we have adorned the city by getting the water of Narmada into Sabarmati, the river flows on both the sides, it gives pleasure! But through this small effort all the water levels came up. Earlier the water of TCF level 2500-3000 was drunk, but now because of higher water levels, pure drinking water is available. Quality of water has changed, TCF has gone down, and water as that in Bislery bottles is being provided through pipelines, and because of this the electricity bill of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation reduced by 15 crore annually! But in the monsoon, when it rained continuously for 5-7 days, the hospitals got over crammed. People used to fall sick, while the doctors would consider it as a good season. People were falling sick and the doctors would feel happy! But, because of the pure water supply, there has been no epidemic in the past 8-9 years. Thus, when the importance of prevention is laid down, along with personal hygiene, the importance of social hygiene will also increase!
A few days back a report came from Pakistan that out of the children who die there, around 40% of them die because of eating food without washing their hands! It is a small thing, but our habits are also similar. We have been residents of the same land, so our shortcomings are also similar! But if this habit is there in the family then the life of small children can be changed, they can be protected! In our country infant mortality rate, IMR and MMR are discussed quite frequently. Can we find out ways or not? We started a scheme in Gujarat which has won many awards worldwide, it is called Chiranjeevi Yojana! For the first time we adopted the Public Private Partnership model in the health sector. In this model we connected with the doctors and said that if any pregnant woman from a poor family comes, then we will make the payments, and she should be given the right treatment. Because of this scheme, the lives of many mothers and their children were saved! Earlier, the institutional delivery in our state was around 40-45% which today has reached upto 96%! Understanding the need of the hour, if we look for ways to take forward the Public Private Partnership model by governments, if we motivate the doctors to reach out to villages, if we try to make the network of mobile hospitals more effective, if we pay attention to this then we can contribute a lot by dreaming of a healthy India!
Friends, after 5 years, it would be 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi Ji. Gandhi Ji throughout his life insisted on one thing - hygiene and sanitation! Gandhi Ji, in his Ashram or wherever he went, would always speak on hygiene very emphatically. Can India in these 5 years, with a mission ‘Gandhi 150’ emphasize on hygiene and sanitation in the entire nation! This is the biggest factor in health that brings about a change. In 2022, it will be 75 years of our freedom; we are going to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of our independence. Can we develop schemes for healthy India in 2022 from now? There can’t be a better inspiration that there is Gandhi on one end and 75 years of independence on the other! We can move ahead with this dream!
Friends, there are small efforts that bring about gigantic changes. In Gujarat we have tried a new concept of animal hostels. It is unique! In our country there are hostels for students, in Gujarat we started a concept of animal hostel. We set up a hostel outside the village and kept all the 900 cattle of that village in it and appointed some people to mange and take care of it. In our villages, every house has 3-4 animals in their courtyard. There is less space and because of this the animals become filthy and this could further lead to the spread of diseases. But the people of villages have become used to living like this. We wanted to bring a change in that. Because of the animal hostel, the village became clean and hygienic. People of the family go to the hostels for a couple of hours, feed the animals and take care of them, while during the rest of the time employees of the hostel take care of them. The result was that because of the animals living in the hostel, because of availability of doctors and because of their care in a scientific manner, their milk production went up by 20%. Another benefit of this was that the women who used to spend most of their time taking care of the cattle, were now looking after their kids. Some women started doing handicraft work, got associated with economical activity, started taking interest in studying and in this way the lifestyle of villagers changed and also did change their life in the context of health!
Friends, I believe that in the coming times, many new initiatives will have to be taken for health prevention. For this, if people associated with the medical field, social workers and people of the educated society join hands with the society and emphasize on this, then I believe that we can realize the dream of a healthy India! I believe that the students here who, in the coming days will take care of the health of society and the health of India, will pay attention to this! Today, in our country, the medical profession is treated as a service, and service is taken as the ultimate duty of serving the poor and needy. With this pious feeling, the medical students from here will pass out and contribute to make India a healthier place! All my good wishes for you! I am highly thankful to you all for having provided me an opportunity of coming here! Thanks a lot!