"Health and education are two important pillars on which edifice of a strong nation rests. Our future prominence in the world hinges on these two vital ingredients of progress," Azad said at a function on health in Jammu University.
The minister said these two sectors are on top of UPA government's development strategy, and programmes like National Rural Health Mission and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan are being run by the Centre for the purpose.
He informed that UPA government has made "massive and unprecedented investments" to strengthen and expand health and educational infrastructure of the country.
Under NRHM alone, more than Rs 96,000 crore has been provided by the Central government for the revamping of rural heathcare, he said.
While many new initiatives like Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK), Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakaram (RBSK) have been rolled out to improve maternal and child health, vaccination programme has also been expanded by introducing Hepatitis-B and Pentavalent vaccines, Azad said.
He said JSSK has been implemented with a view to achieve the target of 100 per cent institutional delivery in the country.
Azad said six new institutes on the lines of AIIMS are soon going to come up at various places in the country and the work is at advanced stage.
The government is committed to upscale the expenditure on health during the 12th Plan, and strengthen the services to ensure an affordable and robust health care system, Azad said.
He said more than 10,000 experts have been empanelled across the country to spread awareness about health issues and so far, more than 17,000 editions of awareness programmes have been telecast across the country.