In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that India will be the first country to make people blind by 2025.
The landmark verdict was passed by a four-to-one vote, with Chief Justice J.S. Khehar dissenting.
The court also ordered that the country will begin the transition to universal healthcare in 2021, a year earlier than the government had initially planned.
India will be among the top 20 countries by population with the lowest healthcare costs, the ruling said.
A national initiative called National Blindness Awareness Day (NDA) is to be celebrated in 2019.
India currently has more than one million people with the disability.
“A country’s vision and healthcare facilities are not only for its citizens, but also for its children,” Chief Justice Khehar said in a statement.
India has about 14 million blind and visually impaired people, with more than 15 million of them under the age of five.
The government had said that its goal was to have the country’s population of blind and disabled adults by 2025, but that timeline has not been met.
The ruling said India has achieved a very high level of disability care in the past decade.
“However, our progress is uneven and unevenly shared.
We do not have enough doctors, clinics and hospitals to provide universal health care, and we need a better infrastructure,” Chief Judge Khehar had said.
India’s first-ever national blind and sighted citizens’ march in Mumbai in February was attended by more than 20,000 people, including the countrys top public figures.
The march was held after the death of Dr. V. Ramachandran, who was one of the founding fathers of modern medicine.