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Union Budget 2008 | Accord national priority sector status to healthcare: CII

Union Budget 2008 | Accord national priority sector status to healthcare: CII
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First Published: Mon, Feb 18 2008. 03 55 PM IST
Updated: Mon, Feb 18 2008. 03 55 PM IST
New Delhi: The Indian healthcare sector’s unprecedented transition from a static sector to an increasingly dynamic and significant industry has led to better economic performance and prosperity.
Sensing this shift, CII in its pre-budget memorandum, has urged the government to accord ‘National Priority Sector’ status for Healthcare in India.
With its sole mission to provide affordable and accessible quality healthcare for all Indian citizens, this step would provide the much needed impetus of increased economic growth rate and life expectancy of the Indian population.
Key Recommendations
* In the light of enhanced healthcare indices increasing continuously, the government should extend benefits of a Tax Holiday on Income under Section 80-IA to all healthcare facilities irrespective of location (urban, semi-urban and district HQ) apart from the rural areas, where the scheme is existing presently and the limit be raised to 10 years from the present five-year bar; this will lead to greater mobilization of domestic and foreign investments in healthcare sector
*Specific allowances akin to investment allowance under Section 32A are needed to provide a fillip to the healthcare service sector
* To intensify the industry, additional support in terms of physical infrastructural measure including procurement and leasing of land by state government for building hospitals, establishment of healthcare upgradation and new investment fund, amortization of certain preliminary expenses under Section 35 D, set-off or carry forward of accumulated losses and unutilized depreciation benefits for under Section 72 A and relaxation of conditions to facilitate restructuring, have been recommended
* Healthcare services should continue to be NOT taxed under services tax, as any levy of services tax would increase overall healthcare costs to patients
* Healthcare Real Estate Investment Trusts (HREIT) to be facilitated to help healthcare providers to overcome burden of investing in land and building so as to free resources for the core healthcare delivery
* Scope of medical research and development initiatives to get immediate priority; development of right mechanism to pave way for better human resource infrastructure
* Extend benefits under Section10 (23C) to profit-making organizations/training institutes, doubling the number of postgraduate course seats and encouraging mutual recognition of foreign degrees in healthcare sector
* Introduce deduction in respect to medical insurance premia to corporates and individuals buying group health insurance plans and create attractive environment for achieving localized production of medical devices to cut down import costs incurred by hospitals
* Renewed focus on healthcare in the country to result in consumer benefiting in terms of accessibility, price and quality of healthcare delivery
* Investments in medical research, promotion of private initiatives, device manufacturing and drug discovery and penetration of health insurance to bring in unparalleled gains for the country
* Increased investments, accelerated tax compliances and higher standards to increase tax revenue collections from the sector thus profiting economic growth rate on the whole
* Sustain link between health and economic growth and project India on global healthcare map; accord ‘National Priority Sector’ status for Indian healthcare sector to enable it grow and be economically productive
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First Published: Mon, Feb 18 2008. 03 55 PM IST
More Topics: healthcare | Union Budget 2008 | CII | HRIET | tax |