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Pre Budget expectations from Dr. Alok Roy, Chairman of Medica Group of Hospitals

News Correspondent, abptakmaa, Kolkata, 22nd Jan 2020 : A new decade calls for newer thoughts and from the forthcoming Union Budget 2020, the Healthcare sector has a wide gamut of expectations.

India has one of the lowest spending on healthcare if compared with global data. We know that India is aiming to increase the healthcare spending to 2.5% of the GDP by 2025,  however so far it stands at 1% only. We hope to see some action around this in Budget 2020. Government needs to declare some sops to raise this percentage.

There is an overall slowdown in expansion plans of  private healthcare players. The government has to increase its intent to collaborate with private sector, so that they understand the financial modus operandi of the private players better. Budget must pay attention to the financial viability of private healthcare by relooking at the pricing controls, reviewing the existing rates of the Government healthcare schemes, releasing the money stuck with CGHS, ECHS etc. which hugely affects the already hit liquidity balances of the existing players. Unless these are addressed in concrete terms, it will be difficult for new entrants to seamlessly operate in the current business scenario.

We also hope that the Budget will focus on home healthcare services. Other critical aspects to be addressed include good governance, a robust system to procure and supply medicines, devices as well as a connected health information system.

With the spiralling healthcare costs, the limit for tax benefit must be raised accordingly. Considering that the cost of treatment for life-threatening diseases is generally much higher, Government should try to work out a higher percentage of deduction which will go on to benefit the common man. Individuals should be exempted from the GST as they have covered themselves under insurance for their health protection. This will also bring down the cost of a policy, making health insurance more affordable.

Cost of medical equipment is another pain point, which requires support in the Budget, as this will make the medical devises & equipment, a part of Government’s ambitious programme of Made in India, which will accelerate growth in this sector. Critical healthcare equipment such as ventilators, wheelchairs, crutches, and medical equipment spare parts should be exempted from GST in Budget 2020. This will help make quality healthcare more accessible.

Innovative, tech-based, and affordable healthcare solutions are the need of the hour and our expectations from Budget also revolve around the same. We do hope that the Government promotes more healthcare startups which will digitize healthcare better, increase accessibility & affordability and give a boost to employment generation as well.

The market for healthcare start-ups and digital healthcare devices is robust. Government must support to promote domestic innovations and provide incentive to domestic device manufacturers. This will enable us to reduce our dependency on foreign imports. This will not only boost the Indian start up cluster but also make healthcare market more economic.

Let 2020 be a Year of Healthcare Innovation & Digitization.

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