Right to Health  

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the first-ever high-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage in New York that a healthy life is the right of every person.
  • He said, “Health does not simply mean freedom from diseases. A healthy life is everyone persons’ right.”


  • At the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly, PM Modi started by addressing the Climate Action Summit hosted by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
  • This was followed by his speech at the Universal Health Coverage meeting.
  • He told the world leaders and ministers at the summit that the global welfare begins with people’s welfare, and health is an important component of it and added that India has taken a holistic approach towards the health sector.
  • He added that India’s efforts on affordable healthcare are not limited to just its own boundaries.
  • “We have helped to provide access to affordable healthcare by way of telemedicine to several other countries especially African countries and we will continue to do so.
  • Our experience and our capabilities are available for use to all developing countries,” he said.

Four Pillars of Healthcare: Right to Health

In his speech, the Prime Minister outlined four main pillars of healthcare:

1.Preventive healthcare -

  • He said that India has laid special emphasis on yoga, Ayurveda and fitness and is building more than 125,000 wellness centres. This focus has helped in controlling lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure, and depression.
  • He also said that the craze for e-cigarettes is a matter of concern for everyone due to which India has banned the commodity to “save the youth from this very severe problem”.
  • India has also benefited from the Clean India Campaign that has contributed to saving millions
  • Regarding immunization, the government has also improved access to vaccination in far-flung areas apart from introducing new vaccines.

2.Affordable healthcare -

  • Government has started the world’s largest health insurance scheme — Ayushman Bharat
  • India has also opened more than 5000 special pharmacies where more than 800 varieties of vital medicines are available at affordable prices.
  • The cost of stents for heart patients has been slashed by 80% and the cost of knee implants has been cut down by 50 to 70 percent.
  • Hundreds of thousands of kidney patients in India are also taking advantage of the free dialysis services provided by the government.

3.Improvements on the supply side -

  • The government has taken several “historic steps” for quality medical education and medical infrastructure development.

4.Mission mode intervention -

  • Focusing on mothers and children's health, the government has started the National Nutrition initiative in mission mode.
  • While the United Nations has set a deadline of 2030 in its Sustainable Development Goals to ending the TB epidemic, India has set this target in a mission mode in 2025.
  • A campaign has also been started against diseases that spread due to air pollution and through animals.

Right to Health

  • The right to health is the economic, social, and cultural right to a universal minimum standard of health to which all individuals are entitled.
  • The concept of a right to health has been enumerated in international agreements which include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
  • Article 25 of the United Nations' 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care and necessary social services."

Also read: India pledges $200,000 for health emergency fund

NITI Aayog’s Health Index

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