Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday expressed hope that the UPA-III would come to power after the 2014 elections and said the Congress-led alliance after forming government should introduce legislation to ensure access to free medical treatment for all.
"The time of UPA-II has gone. We are toiling hard towards formation of UPA-III. Inshallah, I want to say with confidence that there will be UPA-III government after (2014 Lok Sabha) elections," Omar said on the sidelines of a function here.
"UPA-II has given a lot to the people of the country, which nobody had thought of in the past. It was right to free and compulsory education and right to food," he said.
"But, the truth is that if we do not have health, these all are meaningless. If I do not have health, nothing is good for me," he said.
"After elections, when UPA-III will be formed, we should give a gift to the people of this country from UPA-III in the shape of `right to health`," he said.
Stressing that health was a basic requirement, Omar said the right to medical care should be recognised as a fundamental right so that people are legally empowered to seek the best available medical treatment free of cost in government health centres and hospitals across the country.
"The UPA-II government has enacted path-breaking and historic laws for declaring Right to Food and Right to Education as basic rights for every citizen of the country," he said.
"I hope the UPA-III will enact the necessary legislation in Parliament for making free medical treatment available to all the citizens of the country as a fundamental right," he said.
Omar inaugurated the Arogya Mela-2013 along with Union
Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad at Parade Ground here.
He said the health status of a society indicated its growth and development. "Without ensuring full health coverage to the citizens, we cannot claim comprehensive and holistic development," he said.
The Chief Minister said universalisation of healthcare facilities in a society should essentially be of the highest degree and medical institutions should deliver in the best manner.
Describing Jammu and Kashmir a state of medicinal plants, he said his government had taken various steps to harness this potential of the state and utilise it for both health and economic purposes.
He said awareness regarding the efficacy of the `Indian System of Medicine` needed a push. "The entire stakeholders in this field need to focus on this in a comprehensive manner," he said.
"Melas like Arogya Mela-2013 provide the opportunity to people to know about the medicines their ancestors used to treat different diseases since centuries.
They should take advantage of AYUSH to get various diseases treated effectively," he said and asked the Department of Indian System of Medicine to organise such fairs at other places in the state.