Gearing up to meet high standards of safety in blood transfusion, the Government has approved providing the four major metros with blood banks, which would also be centres of excellence for transfusion medicine. The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) cleared the setting up of the blood banks at a cost of INR 468 crores out of which INR 228 crores will be used for the ongoing National AIDS Control Programme-111. The centres would be located in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters after the CCEA meeting. Each centre will ensure 24-hour availability of blood and would be designed to meet the highest standards of safety. They will collect more than 100,000 units of blood annually which would be processed into three blood components resulting in generation of more than 300,000 units, he said. The centre would also be designed to handle any type of natural or man-made disasters or outbreaks like dengue, which often requires large volumes of blood transfusions at short notice and collect blood only from voluntary donors through state-of-art blood mobiles, qualitatively improving the system of blood collection. “Out of the INR 468 crores, INR 168 crores will be for building construction and equipment, INR 80 crores for manpower and INR 220 crores for consumables and other recurring expenditure,” he said. These centres would benefit in strengthening blood transfusion services in the country for access to safe and quality blood and blood products in metro cities as comparable to international standards, he added.