Jaipur, Dec 13 (IANS) The Rajasthan government will launch the facility of free basic medical tests for patients here from April 7 next year, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced Thursday.
Addressing a press conference on completion of the Congress government's four years under his leadership, Gehlot said the free medicine scheme launched in October 2011 has benefited millions of people across the state.
"Distributing free medicines paved the way for a revolutionary change in the healthcare field in the state and it became one of the flagship programmes of our government. We want to take our priority of common men's welfare a step further by launching the free basic medical test scheme from April 7 next year," he said.
In the fist phase, the scheme will be launched at the government hospitals and other medical faculties in district headquarters.
"Government hospitals in each district and those associated with medical colleges would provide the facility for all the basic medical tests completely free of cost," Gehlot said.
He added that the scheme will be extended to community health centres and primary health centres in small towns and villages in the second phase.
The free medicine scheme launched by Gehlot on Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary Oct 2, 2011, had seen a footfall of 70 million people at the distribution centres within a year.
Senior medial and health department officers said that two lakh (200,000) people take advantage of this scheme every day. The patients are being given free essential medicines at 15,355 medicine distribution centres and in all the government hospitals.
Gehlot also announced an increase in the minimum wages for unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled and highly skilled workers to Rs.166, Rs.176, Rs.186 and Rs.236. Wages have been increased by Rs. 19 in every category.
He said the amount of pension for war widows will also be doubled.
"The state government will also provide cash reward of Rs.150,000 to sportspersons, selected authors, artists, musicians and theatre artists who are above the age of 62 years," said Gehlot.