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Business News/ Budget / Budget Expectations/  Budget 2023: What healthcare is looking forward to

Union Minister for Finance Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Union Budget 2023 on 1 February. The healthcare industry, being an important stakeholder for Indian economy, will closely follow the budget and will expect some push from the government.

Mr. Puneet Sood, Country Manager, India, Blackmores is expecting government promotion in the nutraceuticals market in India through production-linked incentives and tax relief.

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“Nutraceuticals have rapidly gained popularity in the Indian market in recent years. They can play a key role in making the public live a better quality of life through preventive wellness. The need of the hour is for adequate governmental push for the nutraceuticals market in India through production-linked incentives and tax relief to companies that undertake research and manufacturing in the country. There is also a need to provide them with tax reliefs for products aimed at domestic consumption as well as exports. Most of these companies use high-quality natural ingredients that are imported from different countries, and tax relaxation on import of these can make the products more accessible and affordable for consumers," Sood said.

“There is also a need to formulate policies and guidelines that support nature-based wellness companies using advanced digital technologies to enhance the manufacturing, quality control and ecosystem development activities," he added.

Meena Ganesh, Co-Founder & Chairperson, Portea Medical feels that the government is well-aware about the need to proper healthcare infrastructure, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“COVID-19 has been an eye-opener for India’s healthcare sector. The massive need for infrastructure and human medical resources is now known to all, and to plug the coverage gap, there is a need for a sharp increase in budgetary allocation. For the last few years, the allocation has been around or under 1.5% of the GDP, and at the minimum, it has to be increased to 2.5% of the GDP as the government had stated in the past. Without any increase in the outlay, almost the entire budget gets exhausted in maintaining the existing infrastructure, and in running the various healthcare schemes announced by the government," Ganesh said.

“Apart from the higher allocation, the other thing that the healthcare industry expects from the upcoming Union Budget, is to offer tax incentives and benefits to platforms that invest in advanced technologies and innovative healthcare delivery. By boosting the supportive healthcare system, the government would not only be able to expand quality medical coverage all over the country, but also reduce the burden on existing institutional infrastructure. This is what we are looking forward to in the upcoming budget," Ganesh added.

Runam Mehta, CEO, HealthCube believes that for India to truly become an all-around superpower and a leading economy there is a need to start investing in healthcare in sync with today’s needs.

“For a long time, budgetary allocations for healthcare have been lower on the priority list compared to areas like defense, infrastructure, industry, etc. However, for India to truly become an all-around superpower and a leading economy there is a need to start investing in healthcare in sync with today’s needs. There is a need for higher allocation in the research and development of new drugs, therapies, and medical devices. As of now, most of the healthcare budget is spent on the maintenance of existing medical facilities and sustaining the government schemes. For diagnostic needs, the country continues to rely on the import of medical devices and in 2022, the import rose by 41%," Mehta said.

“This not only costs a burden to the exchequer but also hurts the Aatmanirbhar Bharat vision. It is possible to build a robust domestic medical diagnostic device manufacturing ecosystem by building R& D hubs and providing PLI, GST benefits, and simplification of regulatory measures. Increasing custom duty on the import of medical devices, and offering subsidies on the usage of Made in India technology can be a great catalyst for the sector. We are expecting such steps which are guided by a long-term vision in the upcoming Union Budget 2023-24," Mehta added.



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Updated: 01 Feb 2023, 06:41 AM IST
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