Healthcare Industry Reaction To Union Budget 2022-2023
The long awaited Union budget of India is now rolled out, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the fourth budget of her incumbency on Tuesday 01-02-2022. Like other sectors Healthcare did not receive any direct investment. Understanding the impact of pandemic, FM decided to focus more on mental healthcare. During the presentation, finance minister stated,
“The pandemic has accentuated mental health problems in people of all ages. To better the access to quality mental health counselling and care services, a ‘National Tele Mental Health Programme’ will be launched. This will include a network of 23 tele-mental health centres of excellence, with NIMHANS being the nodal centre and International Institute of Information Technology-Bangalore (IIITB) providing Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission.”
“Also, an open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem will be rolled out. It will consist of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity, consent framework, and universal access to health facilities," she said.
Let’s have a look on how different people from the healthcare industry reacted to this Union Budget.
- Sujatha Rao, former secretary, Health Ministry, tweeting: “A disappointing budget for health and education. Need to remember that roads and ports don’t make sense if people are illiterate and sick! And such disdain for these human capability sectors after the trauma we have faced due to a poor health system is simply being irresponsible.’’
Rajendra Mehta, Director-Sales and Marketing, Glowderma opined, “Budget 2022-23 is here to transform the healthcare sector with its allocation of INR 64,180 crore to be spent over the next six years to improve healthcare services. We look forward to a sizable growth in the coming months supported by this generous initiative by our honourable finance minister.”
Kapil Jain, CEO, Nicholas Healthcare said, “Healthcare sector is expected to be encouraged by the budget with the boost provided by its significant provisions that will lead to continued investment in capacity expansion in various segments leading to an exponential growth.”
- Sujatha Rao, former secretary, Health Ministry, termed the budget "disappointing" for health and education. She tweeted, "A disappointing budget 4 health & education. Need to remember that roads and ports don't make sense if people are illiterate and sick! And such disdain for these human capability sectors after the trauma we have faced due to a poor health system is simply being irresponsible".
Meanwhile, Sudarashan Jain, Secretary General, Indian Pharmaceuticals Association, said that this is India's first post vaccination budget and the policy consistency is maintained. The planned increase in capital expenditure is likely to boost economic growth and employment, he added. "There is a thrust on macro areas like digital, VC-ecosystem, ease of doing business and supportive measures for R&D and industry-academia collaboration with Pharma included in the Sunrise sectors. The extension time limit for the commencement of business to claim benefits of concessional tax regime for manufacturing companies has been extended by a year to 31 March 2024. This will support the investment in pharma manufacturing. Details are being examined and the implementation will be key going forward," said Sudarashan.
"The budget has not addressed many of the issues highlighted by large parts of the Healthcare industry like streamlining of GST and reduction of Customs Duty. The rolling back of the health cess is another demand which will help us preserve jobs which are instrumental in making the healthcare workers become patient ready", said Pavan Choudhary, Chairman, Medical Technology Association of India.
Choudhary added that some demands have not been accepted, but the budget is reflective of the realisation that healthcare is a vital sector. The focus on Gati Shakti will bolster infrastructure and increase overall competitiveness of the industry and is therefore most welcome.
Satyender Goel, Founder and CEO, India Health Link, said that the National Digital Health Ecosystem in the age of digitization and rollout of 5G technology would make healthcare accessible to the needs of over 1.4 billion population in India. He added, "The digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity and universal access to health facilities provided under the National Digital Health Ecosystem will provide access to healthcare digitally in the remotest of areas."