Bengaluru, Apr 12 (PTI) Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu today said there could not be “two Indias” as he highlighted the “acute shortage” of doctors as also health care facilities in the rural areas when compared to cities.

“…as you all are aware; there is an acute shortage of doctors as also health care facilities in the rural areas.India has less than one doctor for every 1,000 population,” he said.

Naidu said the rural areas were much less covered as compared to urban areas.

“There is an urban-rural divide that needs urgent attention and action,” the Vice-President said in his convocation address at the 20th Annual Convocation of the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Science here.

He said, “We cannot have two Indias, with the cities having the state-of-the-art facilities and the rural areas lagging behind. There has to be a collaborative public-private partnership to remedy the situation.”

However, the private sector health facilities must not only be accessible to the needy and poor, but must also be affordable, he added.

Stating that the country was at a defining moment of its history,” Naidu said it was a moment of “formidable challenges” and also a moment of “widening opportunities”.

He said by 2030, the country was likely to be the youngest nation in the world with nearly 140 million people ready to enter institutions of higher education.

One in every four graduates in the world will most likely be a product of the Indian higher education system and the country can leverage the demographic dividend if the quality of education was improved.

Naidu noted that the demand for healthcare services in the country would undoubtedly be growing and the range of health care issues to be addressed would be “among the broadest” in the entire world.

He also said the country has a long history of ayurveda, yoga and a holistic approach to health and well being.

“You would do well to draw inspiration from some of these traditions and integrate them with your medical practice,” he told the graduating students.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.