01 June 2016 Current Affairs: The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has signed an agreement with the Government of India to provide a loan of ₹1,548 crore to improve the quality of urban health care services in Tamil Nadu.
The Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan will be provided at 0.3 per cent interest rate for a period of 40 years (including 10 years of grace period). The assistance will be utilised for increasing the capacity of key hospitals, upgrading facilities and equipment and human resources with the focus on non-communicable diseases.
It will be implemented in 17 cities in Tamil Nadu with focus on upgrading tertiary hospitals, strengthening referral and secondary care hospitals, improving hospital management and primary health care. The cities include Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Trichy, Salem, Tirunelveli, Erode, Vellore, Tiruppur, Thoothukudi, Nagercoil, Thanjavur, Cuddalore, Dindigul, Pudukottai, Krishnagiri and Periyakulam.
Under this project, hybrid operation theatre with advanced medical imaging equipment such as digital subtraction angiography system with CT scanner will be provided. Training to improve the skills of health personnel will also be covered under this project.
JICA has given ₹19,870 crore through ODA loans since 1981 for comprehensive development in Tamil Nadu. Few of the initiatives facilitated through the ODA loans include Chennai Metro project, water supply enhancement and fluorosis mitigation in Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts, enhancement of Chennai port operations and biodiversity conservation and greening across the states.