The government should consider giving priority status to the healthcare segment while increasing public spending on the sector to at least 3% of GDP in the next Union budget.
According to the country’s leading health care providers in the private sector, the government should also consider pursuing tax incentives, upgrading of medical facilities in small towns and skilling the workforce in the budget.
“The government had rightly placed health and wellbeing as the first of the six pillars of the 2021 Union budget and the focus must also be maintained in 2022. Firstly, spending on health infrastructure still needs to be be increased…level 2-3 facilities cities need to be equipped with diagnostic centers, ventilators, intensive care units, critical care facilities and oxygen plants,” Ashutosh Raghuvanshi noted. , MD and CEO of Fortis Healthcare.
There is an urgent need to allocate a separate budget for a nationwide campaign on preventive health, testing and screening as these are key to reducing the overall disease burden in India, he added.
“Health care should be given priority status so that the sector can benefit from the GST transition and that providers and health service delivery establishments can benefit from loans at lower rates and a It is also essential that the government reduces fees and taxes for intensive care and life-saving equipment and medicines to reduce costs for both providers and patients,” said Raghuvanshi.
Apollo Hospitals Group Executive Vice President Preetha Reddy said immediate priorities must include increasing public health spending to at least 3% of GDP, a concerted push to encourage investments that fill health gaps. infrastructure and resources, as well as efforts to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies.
“These actions are essential building blocks of an Atmanirbhar healthcare ecosystem. Moreover, more than ever before, at present, the people of India are looking to the Union Budget 2022-23 to chart a transformational path to foster good health for all and also to be able to access the best healthcare at all times,” she said.
Apollo Hospitals Group co-chief executive Sangita Reddy said the pandemic has shown India’s potential to become a global center for drug and vaccine R&D.
“Tax incentives should also be extended to R&D, as this would encourage more innovation in healthcare. Another key area the budget needs to address is the qualification of healthcare workers. This will help meet the challenge of the manpower we are facing and bring India up to speed with the recommended ratio in terms of trained doctors and nurses,” she added.
Asia Healthcare Holdings Executive Chairman Vishal Bali says the multiple waves of the pandemic have exposed India’s healthcare demand supply gap in infrastructure, people and technology .
“The 2022 budget must remain focused on increasing the allocation to the health sector and accelerating the closing of the gap. Public health spending needs urgent reform and a clear allocation of 2.5% of GDP in real terms and not as part of a consolidation of allocations to various programs and departments related to health and sanitation,” he noted.
Park Group of Hospitals chief executive Ankit Gupta said incentives should be provided to the private sector to set up Covid care centres.
A medical innovation fund should be created to provide capital to companies promoting digital health infrastructure, he added.
Founder and Director of Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, Suchin Bajaj, said that with the pandemic still present, the focus should be on increasing the health budget.
Going further, Pfizer India’s Chief Financial Officer, Milind Patil, said, “We hope the government will streamline the GST rates, to enable a reduction in the cost of treatment for patients.
Since he plans to merge the 12% and 18% GST rates, pharmaceuticals, the majority of which are charged at 12%, while some are charged at 5%, should be taxed at a single rate of 5% percent.”
This will reduce the burden of health care costs on the middle income group and help improve affordability, he added.
President of Venus Remedies (Global Critical Care), Saransh Chaudhary, noted that all materials purchased by pharmaceutical companies for R&D purposes should be exempt from customs duties and GST.
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