The healthcare sector is likely to generate four crore jobs in India by next year, said Sadananda Gowda, Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers. The Indian healthcare sector is expected to grow at a CAGR of 22 per cent during 2016-2022, which will be a threefold rise, the minister added. Not only the drugs, even the Indian medical devices market is expected to grow to $50 billion by 2025. Currently, India ranks among the top 20 medical devices market in the world and is the fourth largest medical devices market in Asia after Japan, China, and South Korea. However, even after being one of the largest exporters of pharmaceuticals in the world, India ranks 145 among 195 countries in terms of quality and accessibility of healthcare, which leaves the country with a lot of scope for improvement.
India’s healthcare industry has been one of the country’s largest economic sectors, with regard to both employment and revenue as half of the global demand for various vaccines is fulfilled by the Indian pharmaceutical industry. To further increase the scale of industry, the government has kept a window open for 100 per cent FDI approval through automatic route in greenfield projects, where the foreign investors are allowed to set up a completely new operational facility.
However, FDI in the sector contracted 74 percent on-year, from $1,010 million in 2017-18 to a meagre $266 million in 2018-19, according to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade. The fall in the participation of foreign investors is worrisome as the expansion of the healthcare industry in India not only benefits the specific sector, but the patients from abroad also contribute to the overall revenue of the country since India is one of the favourite destinations for medical tourism. To promote it further, the government has relaxed the visa norms for medical tourists in July this year.
Treatment and hospitals in India are one of the most efficient and cost-effective, with the presence of expert doctors and well-equipped diagnostics nursing services, according to the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. This is one of the major reasons why patients across the world choose India for their treatment. However, to foster growth out of it, Sadanand Gowda said that currently, India is dependent on imports of medical devices but Indian medical device manufacturers have now taken a lead and are producing high-quality devices.