• Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has said that health and education will be the key priorities of the 12th Five-year plan. He said that the public expenditure on health had been increased from less than one per cent of GDP in 2006-07 to an estimated 1.4 per cent of GDP by the end of the Eleventh Five-Year plan.
  • Dr. Singh stressed the need to work harder to achieve the goal of increasing public expenditure on health to two and a half per cent of GDP. 
  • Inaugurating the Polio Summit, 2012 in New Delhi today, Dr. Singh asserted to accelerate the efforts for providing universal access to healthcare.
  • Dr. Singh said there was a need to work towards hassle free and cash less outpatient care in public hospitals. The Prime Minister said the Government's massive effort to rid the country of the terrible scourge of Polio had shown result. Expressing satisfaction over the completion of one year without a single new case of polio in India, he said it had become possible because the Centre and the states had worked in close partnership.
  • He also lauded the work of NGOs and 23 lakh volunteers who repeatedly vaccinated children even in the remotest areas of the country.
  • Earlier, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad announced that World Health Organisation had taken India's name off the list of Polio endemic countries.
  • The Minister said it had been done in view of remarkable progress in containing new case of polio in the country and not a single polio case has been reported for more than past one year.
  • Azad said the Government was aware of the risks that persist not only on account of indigenous transmission but also importation from other endemic countries and a zero tolerance plan has been put in place across the country.
  • It is reported that there were four countries in the list including Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan. India will now have to remain Polio free for the next two years to achieve the Polio free status.