Is the Healthcare Industry happy with Union Budget 2019-20?
Here’s what industry leaders think of Union Budget 2019-20
Dr. Vivek Desai, Managing Director, Hosmac India Pvt. Ltd.
Overall budget is towards better fiscal control and management. One has to decode the budget accordingly and how it facilitates growth and consolidates gains made.
Regards health, there is 150% hike in Ayushman Bharat which is a positive as government wants to be a payor than a provider. But there is urgent need to look into prescribed rates of packages as private sector participation has been poor in the scheme.
Allocation to certain focused areas like trauma care and infrastructure management is laudable as India needs better infrastructure to manage trauma.
Overall increase in health budget to 62500 cr from 52,650cr is of 18.6% which is not bad, though could have been better. If the government is looking at encouraging private sector to partner, then there could have been some announcement on PPP front.
NRF is a step in right direction to bring multi-disciplinary efforts for research which lacks badly in India. IIT Kharagpur has set up a medical college within its campus to encourage inter disciplinary research and same could be scaled up by others.
Increasing health insurance premium limits for tax deduction is welcome step. Some special scheme for senior citizens could have been good as they are a vulnerable group.
Col Hemraj Singh Parmar, Group CEO, BR Life Hospitals
The Union Budget 2019 presented by Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman has concentrated more on the vision for the growth and welfare of the country. Although the healthcare sector has not been discussed much during the Budget, sanitation, hygiene, potable water have been given importance in order to create a cleaner and healthier society. The Government, through Ayushman Bharath Yojana, aims to concentrate more on the all-round nourishment of women and children and wants our citizens to consider taking care of their health in a more serious way. Preventive healthcare is a major issue that is mostly ignored by people, who end up visiting clinicians only when diagnosed with a medical disorder. Therefore, in order to make people consider investing on their health and personal welfare, the Government has increased the tax deduction of medical insurance from Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000.
Dr. Alok Roy, Chairman, Medica Group of Hospitals
The Government has rightfully focused on bringing in several key structural reforms for the nation moving towards the goal. We would like to congratulate the Government for displaying commitment and concern towards improvement in Public Healthcare aiming to create a healthy India, with comprehensive wellness derived environment for all.
We are happy to see that the government has proposed to expand Swachh Bharat Mission to undertake sustainable solid waste management in every village of the country. Rural health hygiene has definitely improved. Citizens are expected to be less vulnerable to communicable diseases in open defecation free villages. I believe the Swacch Bharat Mission is an ideal holistic mass initiative and has been effective and successful in changing the mind-set of people in the country.
100% FDI in insurance intermediaries is a push for the insurance sector. Going forward we expect more people will be under the insurance coverage net and the transactions in hospitals will be faster. This will increase health security at the same time and create more opportunities in the sector. Additionally, the deduction limit for medical insurance that has been increased from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 25,000 and for senior citizens, till Rs. 50,000, will augur well for individuals.
The industry was intently looking forward for further announcements regarding Ayushman Bharat taking the right partnership approach to a more inclusive participation. Some relief on imported medical equipment could have been provided which would have benefitted the sector.
Dr. Deepak Balani, Chief— Medical Services, Sakra World Hospital Bengaluru
This budget does not seem to have addressed the healthcare sector directly. Opening up of the insurance sector to FDI may benefit healthcare. The fine print may have something though. Else, status quo it is!
Mr. Rahul Paith, CEO, DocOnline
Overall the budget announcements look positive and people friendly. The new reforms like funds raised by start-ups will not require scrutiny of tax department is a positive move for start-ups apart from special programs that will be aired on Doordarshan for start-ups by start-ups will help in educating and motivating the budding entrepreneurs in semi urban and rural regions. I personally laud the move for an additional fund allocation at 2% interest for loans taken by MSMEs and this is a great move by the government.
Across the world crowd funding platforms are known but Electronic fundraising platform (social stock exchange) for listing social enterprises is a breakthrough move by the government for organizations working in social sector, although speed of its implementation is going to be critical.
Mr. Arindam Haldar, CEO, SRL Diagnostics
We congratulate the government on presenting a holistic budget for the common man and it’s encouraging to see that the government has taken initiatives to deliver on its promise of excellence in healthcare.
The government has identified ‘healthcare’ as one of the key delivery outcome priorities for a healthy society. SRL Diagnostics has always encouraged the adoption of a preventive, rather than curative, attitude towards health. The government’s vision aligns with our mission of bringing good-quality, accessible primary healthcare services to the masses.
Once again, the government has shown its commitment to the healthy well-being of more than 130 crore citizens of the nations. The impetus on increasing foreign direct investments (FDIs) offers hope for renewed interests by investors which will help to drive growth for both the public and private healthcare institutions.
The government has put forward a progressive budget with a strong vision to take India’s social, economic and overall well being to greater heights.
Mr. Satish Reddy, Chairman, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd
The expectations from the Union Budget 2019 were that of a bold reformist budget, however, it turned out to be an incremental budget at best. The emphasis on start-ups and on the education sector is a good move. However, there was nothing to fuel growth in the healthcare and pharma sectors, which is disappointing. I was particularly keen on seeing a change in the weighted deduction for R&D which did not happen. A positive policy move of this kind would have spurred R&D and innovation in pharma and other sectors.
Mr. Vazirani, CMD, Transasia Bio-Medicals Ltd.
In line with the Ayushman Bharat program, India has taken a number of initiatives towards equitable and affordable access of quality healthcare for 1.3 bn Indians. But it cannot be made affordable if India continues to import 70-80% of its total requirement of medical devices.
While the overall approach and budget allocation to address healthcare by the current government has been positive, unfortunately there is nothing much to boost Make in India.
Mr. Amol Naikawadi, JMD, Indus Health Plus
The budget comes as an indication that it is taking a comprehensive approach in the healthcare and wellness segment, and I think it is aimed in the right direction. With the government’s continuous focus on the Ayushman Bharat scheme will further help in providing extensive medical care and reinforce the commitment to universal healthcare for all citizens. Apart from this, the announcement to boost Artificial Intelligence will strengthen the usage of technology in the field of healthcare and it will intensify the quality in healthcare with accessibility and affordability.