Budget 2019 expectations: Allocate 3% of GDP for healthcare, digitise archaic processes, demand experts
Budget 2019: The Narendra Modi government has given impetus on providing healthcare facilities to the masses by launching Ayushman Bharat scheme, Jan Aushadhi Kendras and putting a curb on overpricing of certain devices like cardiac stents.
Budget 2019: Healthcare is one of those sectors which needs more focus and funds in terms of budgetary allocations. The Narendra Modi government has given impetus on providing healthcare facilities to the masses by launching Ayushman Bharat scheme, Jan Aushadhi Kendras and putting a curb on overpricing of certain devices like cardiac stents. Recently, the Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu had announced setting up of National Medical Devices Promotion Council under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) to give a fillip to the medical device sector. India's expense of healthcare in 2017-18 was 1.4% of the GDP. Industry experts want it to be around 3% in the Budget 2019.
“Central Government in the past two years is showing interest in the healthcare sector by launching Ayushmann Bharat and Medical Devices development council etc. We expect adequate fund allotment towards these schemes and initiatives so that Indian government at least spends 2.5 to 3 % of GDP for healthcare needs of the needy population," said Dr GSK Velu, Chairman, Maxivision Super Specialty Eye Hospitals group.
Dr Velu said that medical devices sector needs better focus to come out of 70% import dependency through 'Buy in India' policies along with 'Make in India' programs.
"Now, Centre must ensure availability of Quality Diagnostics Testing centres with NABL Accreditations even at village levels deploying own and PPP models by Central & State governments across India," said Dr Velu.
Piyush Jain, CEO and Co-Founder, ImpactGuru.com, said a lot more is required to ensure a complete shift in the planning of health-related policies.
"Last year’s biggest announcement of the Union Budget was Rs 2,000 crore allocated for National Health Protection Scheme with coverage of Rs 5 lakhs per family per year for secondary and tertiary hospitalization. Niti Aayog projected a premium of Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,200 per family per annum for the Rs 5 lakh health cover. Even with the partial implementation, this is insufficient. In the upcoming budget, the government should take into consideration providing additional healthcare benefits to poor and vulnerable belts of people," said Jain.
In recent years, a number of healthcare startups have also come on the horizon. Pawan Gupta, co-founder of healthcare startup Curofy, said that digitisation of the archaic processes and a transparent environment for investors should be the focus of the government.
"With projects like Modicare and definite push towards healthcare, we expect a greater role in implementing them. Also, we expect an even stronger push towards digitising archaic processes and records. India is a vast country and any scheme that aims at revolutionising the system needs innovation and grit. We would like the government to partner with healthcare startups to implement their projects and help them establish quality care for the citizens," said Gupta.
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Gupta said that there is a need to create an environment of trust and transparency where the investors are comfortable. The government policies should encourage startups and investors and must not act as a deterrent.