Budget 2021 expectations: Take a cue from pandemic, invest more in health infrastructure, says healthcare players

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January 22, 2021 5:33 PM

Union Budget 2021 Expectations for healthcare: Circumstances have been unfortunate and Covid-19 has definitely served as a reminder for the authorities that they should increase the overall outlay on healthcare as a part of GDP.

Budget 2021-22, Union Budget 2021It is the first budget in a post COVID economy, the healthcare industry is expecting a slew of supportive measures from the government.

Union Budget 2021-22 expectations for healthcare: With 10 days to go for the union budget to be announced by the central government, the healthcare sector is expecting that more heed is paid to this segment in this year’s budget. Allocation of budget has not usually been what the players in the healthcare sector has been expecting, but this year as the Coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc across the country, there have been demands that the government allocate more towards expenditure in the healthcare sector.

Circumstances have been unfortunate and Covid-19 has definitely served as a reminder for the authorities that they should increase the overall outlay on healthcare as a part of GDP. This has been due for a long time, says Dr Tushar Grover, Medical Director, Vision Eye Centre. Grover said that enhanced public expenditure on health will address the larger deficiency due to which the healthcare infrastructure and services have been plagued in the country. According to him, the government can focus on stimulating all-round private sector investment in infrastructure development along with healthcare R&D as well as medical education in advanced disciplines.

Grover said this can be done through suitable policy interventions. Apart from this, he said that the government should also incentivize health infrastructure-building in smaller towns that will allow low-cost business models (in healthcare) to evolve.

Resonating similar views, Raghavan NS – Country Manager Essilor South Asia region highlighted that there is definitely a need for upgradation of government hospitals as well as more tax breaks in the R&D. Tax reduction in CSR expenditure and increased coverage of Ayushman Bharat is also expected to be the area for the government to focus in this year’s union budget.

Also Read: Union Budget 2021 Roadmap – Health Insurance: GST rate cut can act as a booster dose

Raghavan added that a reduction in Import duty on raw materials is also needed as it will give a boost to the local manufacturers. Meanwhile, if there sharp and attractive export incentives to “make in India,” the Indian manufacturers will be able to compete better. “We also look forward to a reduction of personal income tax as this will increase the take-home salary and enable an increase in personal consumption thereby stimulating demand,” he said.

It is to be noted that it is the first budget in a post COVID economy, the healthcare industry is expecting a slew of supportive measures from the government. Apart from this, Dr. Shuchin Bajaj, Founder Director, Ujala Cygnus Group of hospitals said that the overall shrinkage in demand as well as the disposable incomes have been affecting all sectors of the economy including healthcare. “India cannot afford to stay in a shrinking GDP phase for a long time. This will also be a setback for our poverty alleviation goals.The budget must therefore put all its energy to focus on economic revival and job creation,” Bajaj said.

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