Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the last full budget of the second term of the Narendra Modi government in Parliament on February 1. Here’s how experts and industry insiders reacted to this year’s budget. Stay tuned to DH for the latest updates!
Hoped to see more focus on training centers on heart disease and CPR: Dr. Veena Aggarwal, Heart Care Foundation of India”The Union Budget 2023-2024 has a strong focus on healthcare and the environment which we welcome at Heart Care Foundation of India. One Health was a concept that our founding president Dr. KK Aggarwal strongly focused on and the provisions in the budget to help achieve net zero emissions by 2070 through the adoption of more energy-efficient ways of travel and fuel consumption will have a great impact on our overall physical well-being as well. We welcome the increased focus on healthcare research which will enable us to be better prepared to tackle all new and unknown illnesses that we may be threatened by in the future. Promoting nursing education through the setting up of 157 new nursing colleges will help make quality care accessible to a larger population. We hoped to see more focus on training centers on heart disease and CPR in the budget given the drastic increase in the number of heart attacks among the younger population in India. Metabolic diseases deserve specific attention as well given the pandemic proportions of these diseases due to the high-stress and unhealthy lives that the population at large is now leading. Mental health has come to the fore with COVID-19 in mammoth proportions and deserved to be given more priority in the budget as well.”
- 14:02Budget measures will help overall universal healthcare access and quality: Portea Medical Chairperson”In this Union Budget, the government has focused on some of the core needs of the health and wellness sector. The plan to establish 157 nursing colleges as collocated facilities alongside medical colleges will help cover the shortage of trained healthcare workforce and lead to greater healthcare coverage of the out-of-hospital medical services. The plans to provide access to ICMR labs and other R&D facilities as well as a collaborative approach to pharmaceuticals research and encouragement of private sector investments, multi-disciplinary training for R&D and manufacturing of high-quality medical devices, and various other such measures are going to augur well for the overall universal healthcare access and quality in India.It is also encouraging to see that the budget outlines several measures towards improving the ease of doing business by reducing compliances and decriminalizing legal provisions. The centers of excellence in Artificial Intelligence to be set up for sectors like health will ensure that the country starts creating tech-based solutions in-house. This will further encourage innovation in the country and ensure that the health tech sector in India picks up pace. Overall, the budget has made a progressive stride towards the healthcare and startup sectors as well as in terms of giving a boost to women and their economic empowerment. These are encouraging announcements, and we hope for timely and adequate execution of the same in the months ahead.”
- 14:00Mission to eliminate sickle cell anemia by 2047 appreciated: HealthCube CEO”The decision to provide multi-disciplinary training for the development of medical devices and support for the manufacturing of high-quality devices is going to be a key enabler for the domestic medical devices industry. These courses will not only ensure the availability of skilled manpower for future medical technology but also offer opportunities for high-end manufacturing research. The decision of opening up facilities in select ICMR labs for research by private and medical colleges will enable better infrastructure access for both individuals and organizations who are looking at undertaking research and innovation in this area. I appreciate the mission to eliminate sickle cell anaemia by 2047 through awareness generation and universal screening of 7 crore people in affected tribal areas; an essential step taken in the right direction. This is where startups like HealthCube can bring about a major transformation by providing one-stop access to anemia screening even in remote areas. It is also encouraging to note that the government is focusing on specific initiatives for the economic empowerment of women.”
- Aegon Life Insurance CEO says Pension or annuity proceeds should be made tax-free in hands of policyholdersIn future, with the support of 5G internet connectivity, and more cross-industry tech partnerships, the AI engines will become smarter at understanding the needs of the customers, making buying insurance as easy as buying a T-shirt online. The uptake of life insurance products is increasing. I am sure that more people will include insurance products in their financial portfolios in 2023.. Incentives like a GST exemption or a reduced GST slab can further help in meeting the needs of consumers. Pension/annuity proceeds should be made tax-free in the hands of policyholders, or a deduction for the principal component should be allowed. Further, an aggregate deduction of up to Rs 1.75 lakh, for the premiums paid for life and health can be introduced to nurture the eco-system of insurers, insurtechs, and consumers.
- 15:29Govt should think of investment in healthcare as an investment in human capital: Siddhartha Nihalani, Co-founder, Practo“The country needs higher allocation to the health sector to ensure improved accessibility of quality healthcare in the country. The government should think of investment in healthcare as an investment in human capital because a healthy nation can ultimately impact the economy of the nation. The sector also needs policies and incentives that encourage innovation in digital healthcare and promote partnerships between private and public sectors. While Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) has several elements aimed at transforming healthcare in the country, investments need to be made to further push adoption and also to encourage private players to participate with clearly defined delivery models,” says Siddhartha Nihalani, Co-founder, Practo.
- Favorable policymaking for the medical device industry is needed, says Healthium Medtech CEO Anish BafnaThe medical device industry is highly capital intensive, hence requiring the constant intercession of the government to encourage manufacturing and production, both in scale and quality. As we gear up for the Union Budget of 2023-24 with the spirit of self-reliance, the industry demands favorable policymaking in line with the current inflationary challenges. Reduction of customs duties on raw material, removal of the additional 5 percent health cess, and increasing export incentives under the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Products Scheme (RoDTEP) remain critical for trade margin rationalization. Relooking at the tax and tariff structures on medical device imports would go a long way to provide some leeway for the industry to flourish and consequently boost the domestic R&D ecosystem. For the MedTech sector to grow holistically, the compliance burden needs to be brought down collectively to make the environment conducive for business. The ease of application and registration procedures, supervisory regimes, credit structures, and transparency in pricing, taxes, and cross-border trade will encourage local manufacturing, and R&D and address the concerns in our supply chains. Strategic investments and partnerships with commissioned Medtech Parks and their readiness for national and international companies should be able to push the needle in the positive direction. The Union Budget of 2023-24 needs to outline industry-supportive policies, simplified protocols, and simple GST norms to aid the overall development of the medtech sector, says Anish Bafna, CEO & MD, of Healthium Medtech
- Govt must focus on healthcare innovation by supporting startups: Founder and CEO of Mykare Health” Healthcare providers have embraced technology with virtual consultations, new age asset-light models, wearable technology, and many more innovations that aid smooth delivery of healthcare. Government must focus on healthcare innovation by supporting startups. We are hopeful and looking forward to tax benefits including GST exemption for New Age Asset Light HealthTech Startups; allowing startups to collaborate with Govt Insurance, Govt Doctors, and Govt Hospitals; tax benefits to HNIs investing in startups; the smooth process of foreign payment collection for Indian healthcare startups and incentivizing companies promoting Health in India Project”, says Mr. Senu Sam, Founder, and Chief Executive Officer of Mykare Health