Budget 2023: Healthcare sector expects increased spending on health infrastructure




By Shalini BhardwajNew Delhi [India], January 30 (ANI): A key expectation of the health care sector from the upcoming Budget 2023 is an increase in expenditure on healthcare infrastructure, said experts in this field.

The Budget 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 focused on the healthcare sector of the country.

During the Budget 2022-2023, the Centre in its Budget announced rolling out an open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem which consists of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity and universal access to health facilities.

Besides, Sitharaman also highlighted the launch of the National Tele Mental Health Programme, which included building a network of 23 telecentres to support the mental well-being of individuals, and families.

According to Dr Ashutosh Raghuvanshi, Senior Vice President, NATHEALTH and MDCEO, Fortis Healthcare, "India is amongst the most preferred destinations globally for medical tourism and therefore, increased policy support is required to encourage, facilitate medical value travel to India, develop MVT as an organized sector.""Another critical area is addressing the shortage of healthcare professionals — by identifying doctors, nurses and technical staff willing to work in Tier 2/3 cities and looking at non-traditional ways to double the number of doctors. We should look at best practices adopted in universities abroad (fall/summer admission pattern) to increase seats in existing medical colleges. Further, the sector needs lower-cost financing through tax incentives for both existing and new healthcare projects. For new projects, the Government should provide a tax holiday period of 15 years and for existing projects, tax relief for 10 years as re-investment support," Dr Ashutosh said.

"Declaring healthcare as a National Priority Sector and classifying it on the same lines as Agriculture (priority-sector lending), will give banks the flexibility to lend to private healthcare institutions, on longer tenures, at lower rates," he added.

Dr Shravan Subramanyam, Managing Director, Wipro GE Healthcare Pvt Ltd said, "From the coming budget, we expect the further strengthening of ABDM along with the implementation of cybersecurity and data protection policies in consultation with industry. Against the backdrop of India’s nationwide 5G rollout in 2022, key announcements on allocations and policies that can influence 5G deployment for faster and safer healthcare delivery are awaited.""With rising incidences of both communicable and non-communicable diseases post COVID-19, further strengthening of infrastructure and bridging human resource and skill deficiencies for care area deliveries across Tier 2- Tier3 cities, semi-urban and rural areas focusing on promotion, prevention, therapy and post care is expected from this year’s budget," Dr Subramanyam said.

"Over recent years, the government has spurred efforts to support local RD and manufacturing for the MedTech sector by setting up Medical Device Parks and implementing PLI schemes. We anticipate expansion of the PLI scheme for the MedTech Sector with adequate flexibility integrated into the scheme to address the ever-evolving market dynamics to make Indian domestic manufacturing, globally competitive truly. Rationalization of GST for the MedTech sector, extending zero rating and schemes like Remissions of Duties and Taxes on exported products (RODTEP) to Export Oriented Unit (EOU) /Electronic Hardware Technology Park (EHTP) will provide the needed impetus to local manufacturing for domestic use and exports." he added.

The Indian Medical Association(IMA) has recently submitted suggestions to the government of India for the Budget. The IMA has submitted overall twelve suggestions for the Budget.

Some of them include-- IMA feels the opportune time to do so has arrived. It is expected that GOI will be able to take this monumental step. Universal access to Health including safe water, sanitation, nutrition, primary education as well as eradication of poverty is a cornerstone in the path to the wellness of a society and nation. Conceptualizing good Governance to attain the wellness of a people could mean clubbing together these services (clinical, public health and social determinants) under one roof. At least drinking water, sanitation and poverty alleviation should be clubbed with Health as Ministry for wellness.

"Vision of UHC transcends the narrow, inadequate and often inequitable view of UHC as merely a health insurance system. UHC moves beyond ‘insurance’. The UHC is linked firmly to the Right to Health and converts an aspirational goal into an entitled provision," read the IMA statement.

"Country lost more than 2000 doctors during the pandemic. Unfortunately, most of the families of deceased doctors did not receive help other than from whatever little IMA could marshal. A special welfare fund for doctors in general and for COVID martyrs, in particular, has to be set up. The nation owes at least this gesture to the medical community," the statement added. (ANI)