India-assisted emergency ambulance service was launched in Sri Lanka by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi through video conferencing from New Delhi on July 21, 2018.
The inaugural function was held in Jaffna of the Northern Province, in the presence of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and several other dignitaries.
• The service was earlier introduced in two provinces of Sri Lanka with grant assistance from India and it will now be expanded to the remaining seven provinces.
• In total, India has given a grant of $22.8 million- $7.6 million for the first phase and $15.2 million for the country-wide expansion.
• Under the first phase, 88 ambulances were purchased for the two provinces while another 209 ambulances will be provided to cover all districts in the country.
• This is the largest Indian grant project in Sri Lanka after Indian housing project.
• Besides providing ambulances, the grant covers training of manpower in India and meeting operational costs for one year.
• India launched the emergency ambulance service in July, 2016 for western and southern provinces of Sri Lanka through an outright grant of USD 7.6 million to uplift and improve medical facilities in the island.
• An agreement was signed for the same between the Indian entity, GVK EMRI Lanka Pvt Ltd and the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine.
• The request for assistance for setting up the emergency ambulance service in Sri Lanka was received during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country in March 2015.
• After the visit, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe wrote to Modi for support for setting up of an emergency ambulance service and its operations for the first year.
• The decision was fully formalised in September 2015 during the visit of Wickremesinghe to India.
• The project is another milestone in the wide-ranging development partnership between India and Sri Lanka.
• Overall, India's development portfolio in Sri Lanka is nearly USD 2.6 billion, out of which USD 436 million is pure grants.
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