New Delhi: The government today denied that special medical facilities are provided to foreigners at the cost of domestic patients for promoting medical tourism in the country.
“It is not correct to say that foreign patients are being given special facilities at the cost of domestic patients,” tourism minister Ambika Soni said while replying to supplementaries during the question hour in Rajya Sabha.
“The ministry is not giving any incentive to any doctor or hospital. With the help of the external affairs ministry, we give medical visas to foreign patients for a year and try to work out packages with hospitals to allow such patients to avail wellness circuits,” she said.
Soni added that by doing so, the government is only facilitating usage of the country’s natural strength -- promotion of Unani and Ayurvedic treatments among foreign patients. “But nothing is done at the cost of our own patients,” the minister said.
She informed the House that the ministry also helps in extending financial support under the Marketing Development Assistance (MDA) scheme to medical tourism service providers and medical tourism facilitators for promotion of medical tourism in overseas markets.