NEW DELHI : The healthcare industry on Saturday welcomed the initiatives announced by the government in Budget 2020-21 to improve the access to medical care across the nation.
“Budget 2020 is a definitive step forward in the Government of India’s commitment to making India healthier and a model for the world to emulate,” Apollo Hospitals Group Chairman Prathap C Reddy said.
In addition to initiatives announced to improve access to medical care across the nation and boost human health resources, it was encouraging that vital determinant of good health which includes wellness, nutrition, clean drinking water, and sanitation were at the forefront of this Budget, he added.
Calling it a farsighted budget, Reddy said the Finance Minister has announced “innovative initiatives that will enhance ease of living, improve the health quotient and boost opportunities for education and job creation, for all sections of our society and meet the expectations of an aspirational India.”
In similar vein, NATHEALTH President H Sudarshan Ballal said the budget accorded priority on capacity building by improving health infrastructure in Tier II & III cities and rural areas.
“Setting up hospitals on private public partnership with the provision of viability gap funding in 112 Aspirational Districts in the country go a long way in creating a robust health infrastructure especially in areas where Ayushman Bharat benefits have not yet reached especially to the weaker section,” he added.
Calling it a directionally sound Budget, Biocon Chairperson & MD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said: “I am happy to see the government’s focus on reviving economic growth.”
The proposed amendments to the Companies Act for removing criminal action in case of tax disputes is a step towards infusing trust among India Inc, she added.
The use of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence for preventive healthcare along with increasing the number of Jan Aushadhi Kendras will take forward the government’s agenda of healthcare for all, she added.
“The measures announced in this Budget can give returns in the medium to long-term. However, we need to make sure they are implemented fast to have immediate impact. Overall a satisfactory budget,” Mazumdar-Shaw said.
Highlighting that budget was prepared in difficult Economic scenario , Aster DM Healthcare founder chairman Azad Moopen said the Union Budget has managed to create opportunities for growth within limited resources.
“Eradication of tuberculosis in the country by the year 2025 is a great step towards healthier India,” he added.
“There is proposal for viability fund gap support for hospitals in Tier 2 and 3 cities for meeting the requirement for Ayushman Bharat. This will give more accessibility to the people in the smaller cities and villages,” Moopen said.
However, it is unfortunate that the allocation of Rs69,000 crore for the sector is only just 1 per cent of GDP which will be highly inadequate for any major leap forward in the sector, he added.
Applauding the announcement providing boost to the domestic medcial device sector, Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMeD) Forum Coordinator Rajiv Nath said: “Finally we may have something to help address over Rs38,837 crore, 80-90% import dependent Indian Medical Devices Sector.”
It’s an excellent idea to tax imports of medical devices to fund the capacity building of healthcare delivery in public healthcare and with twin advantage of accelerating medical devices manufacturing as a Make in India enabler so that Indian national healthcare security concerns are addressed, he added.
Deloitte India, Partner, Lead- Life Science and Health Care Charu Sehgal said “the budget 2020 has continued with the healthcare themes announced in 2018 but has not made any significant increase in allocation or incentives.”
The overall allocation has increased marginally to Rs69,000 crore from 63,000 crore last year. “We will be nowhere closer to the long awaited target of 2.5% of GDP,” she added.
“The budget is focused on the holistic vision of healthcare, which proposes to provide Rs69,000 crore that includes Rs35,600 crore for nutrition related programs for 2020-21, and the same will enable to reduce pre-term death and malnutrition in society,” Paras Healthcare COO Shankar Narang said.