Health is the greatest gift…..librated mind is the greatest bliss
While health is the most important asset that one can possess, it has been generally neglected by the people and the government alike—former think healthcare means doctors, tests and medicines and the latter think of opening more medical colleges and hospitals….in any case it does not create vote banks. How far are the views of both sides from the truth? Recently GOI has talked of Swacchhta, yoga and fit India! Good but not adequate! Punjab came out with a scheme that appears definitely more comprehensive but is ill defined for implementation. They have started holding medical camps, tree plantation, chalaning vehicles for not possessing pollution certificates, holding coaching camps for various games, talking about food safety , drinking water, air quality, environment, disposal of Plastic/e-Waste and Bio-medical waste and several other sundry matters. That the mission would be run jointly by the various departments of the state government namely Health, Water Supply and sanitation, local government, Transport, Environment, Agriculture, Cooperation, Forest, Sports, Water Resources, Public Health and Rural Development & Panchayats etc is heartening but lacks transparency. Since they claim that its focus is on awareness and preventive health aspects, it is more inclusive. But like other Govt schemes in the past, it may not turn out to be a slogan? An illustrative example is a “green” image of Punjab, which has a forest cover of just 3.52 per cent against a recommended 33 per cent cover as per the National Forest Policy. However, if Punjab succeeds in its mission to inculcate healthy lifestyle, the state can show a path to other states.
What are the salient features of Tandrust Punjab? The role and responsibilities of different departments would be as per the notification issued by the government for various departments.
- i) Making people aware about the food safety concerns and effective implementation of Food Safety Act especially ensuring the prescribed quality of Milk and Milk Products;ii) Preventing sate of spurious and unauthorized medicines as well as sale by unlicensed chemists; iii) Creating awareness about Communicable and Non-Communicable diseases and stressing upon preventive health aspects; iv) Effective Implementation of School Health Programme v) Free health screening of all citizens above the age of 30 years and vi) Inculcating good habits for healthy living and mental well-being.
Water Supply & Sanitation
- i) Ensuring adequate safe potable drinking water availability in rural areas ii) Testing water quality from time to time to ensure that physical, biological and chemical parameters are within prescribed limits; iii) Eliminating open defecation to reduce disease burden on individual households.
- i) Ensuring adequate safe potable drinking water availability in urban areas ii) Ensuring Open Defecation Free cities/ towns to reduce disease burden on individual households iii) Municipal Solid Waste Management including segregation, transportation and waste processing on scientific lines iv) Sewerage Treatment: Installing STPs for management of total waste water being generated, ensuring their operation and maintenance on regular basis and taking steps to reduce waste water generation
- i) Regular drives for Vehicular Pollution Check ii) Making all PUC centers functional and effective iii) Promoting car-pooling in urban areas and also to work towards moving towards electric and non-polluting vehicles.
- i) Punjab Pollution Board will be the Nodal agency for implementation and monitoring the activities under the Mission ii) Laying protocols for safe water in rural and urban areas iii) Regular monitoring and ensuring ambient air quality iv) Creating awareness against crop residue burning and implementing NGT order in this regard v) Checking industrial pollution and ensuring effluents/emissions within laid down norms vi) Disposal of Plastic/e-Waste and Bio-medical waste as per the prescribed rules.
Agriculture and Horticulture
- i) Ensuring quality control of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and weedicides ii) Check sale of spurious and unauthorized seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and weedicides iii) Launching a campaign for optimal utilization of fertilizers and agro-chemicals iv) Checking unscientific fruit ripening v) Discouraging long residue toxic agro-chemicals for vegetable production vi) Organizing training camps for the farmers to explain them the ill effects of crop residue burning like degradation in soil quality due to loss of organic matter and resultant air pollution vii) Arranging Happy Seeders, Bailers and other equipment/ machinery for crop residue management.
- i) Equipping PACS for in-situ crop residue management ii) Creating awareness and mobilizing opinion amongst the society members for optimal use of fertilizers and agro-chemicals and against crop residue burning.
- i) Road-side plantation using native timber and fruit species consistent with agro-climatic conditions in various regions of the State ii) Plantation of one fruit tree/ medicinal tree in each household of the State iii) Generating awareness in collaboration with various departments especially School and Higher Education, Panchayats, Local Bodies, NGOs, etc.
- i) Promoting sports as a healthy way of life and creating necessary infrastructure for the same ii) Equipping Youth Clubs with daily fitness requirements such as Gyms etc.iii) Organizing games and other physical activities in all schools to improve physical fitness and creating a culture of healthy living.
Alleviating the problem of dust during construction works.
- i) Preparation and implementation of a comprehensive action plan to clean three rivers of the State, namely Ravi, Beas and Sutlej ii) Mobilization of river based communities to check and control pollution of rivers in the State.
Rural Development and Panchayats
- i) Cleaning and remodeling of village ponds ii) Mobilization of rural communities to check water pollution and promote water conservation.
The dream of Tandrust Bharat can be fulfilled, if health is separated from disease care on the pattern of Punjab mission. If there is a paradigm shift from disease to wellness and fitness, 80% people who now have to visit hospitals, need not go there. This will create more jobs in the healthcare sector and also enhance productivity.