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Focus on TB and medical education in Union Budget 2018 to bolster healthcare: experts

Our Bureau, Bengaluru
Friday, February 2, 2018, 13:45 Hrs  [IST]

The Union government's increased attention to tuberculosis and medical education are seen to be transformational moves for the healthcare industry.

The allocation of additional The Union government's increased attention to tuberculosis and medical education are seen to be transformational moves for the healthcare industry. 600 crore to provide nutritional support to all TB patients at the rate of The Union government's increased attention to tuberculosis and medical education are seen to be transformational moves for the healthcare industry. 500 per month for the duration of their treatment will give the much needed booster shot. Further the government’s intent to enhance accessibility of quality medical education with the setting up of 24 new government medical colleges and hospitals by upgrading existing district hospitals in the country will provide the access to doctors and medical facility, said industry experts.

According to Hitesh Sharma, Tax Partner and National Leader – Lifesciences, EY,  Finance Minister has taken a positive step in building/enlarging the base for health and wellness by upgrading the existing district hospitals in the country to 24 new government m colleges and hospitals. The biggest benefit is expansion of coverage of insurance to the underprivileged. An additional allocation of The Union government's increased attention to tuberculosis and medical education are seen to be transformational moves for the healthcare industry. 600 crore has been proposed to provide nutritional support to all TB patients which is a welcome move and step towards universal health coverage. Overall this is very positive for the healthcare industry.

The budget 2018 has definitely added significant impetus to the healthcare sector with emphasis on the elderly and underprivileged. We were pleased to hear in the Budget that the Government has allowed Senior Citizens to claims benefits of The Union government's increased attention to tuberculosis and medical education are seen to be transformational moves for the healthcare industry. 50,000 as part of medical insurance from the earlier The Union government's increased attention to tuberculosis and medical education are seen to be transformational moves for the healthcare industry. 30,000. However, the government’s discontinuing of The Union government's increased attention to tuberculosis and medical education are seen to be transformational moves for the healthcare industry. 15,000 per annum for medical benefits to salaried employees - as per today’s Budget announcement, is unfortunate, said Mustafa Daginawalla - CFO, Saifee Hospital

An increase in the cess from 3% to 4% as tax revenues - slated to be around 11,000 crore, is welcome and we are looking forward to seeing how the government intends to utilize and distribute the revenues collected from this cess increase, he added.

The National Health Protection Scheme to provide 10 crore poor and vulnerable families sounds promising. However, this scheme was originally announced in 2016 and has still not been implemented. The Indian middle class continues to suffer and gets very little support from the government amidst rising healthcare costs. Crowdfunding platforms such as Impact Guru will continue to scale rapidly due to the unaffordable healthcare crisis in the country, said Piyush Jain, CEO and co-founder Impact Guru.

According to Sumit Kumar, Vice President, NETAP, TeamLease Services, the stimulus given to the SMEs in the union budget is highly appreciable. However, for SMEs to leverage the opportunity they would need access to productive talent. The best way to generate productive talent is by adopting apprenticeship. Apart from tax incentives, incentives on apprenticeship would have really helped not only the sector but also the skill India initiative as well. In fact, there are around 55 million SME units, even if 50% of them appoint 1 apprentice could scale up number of apprentices to 27 million. Supported by MSDE under NAPS, this could be the most conducive method for skilling the youth and influx of talent for the industry.

Vikram Vuppala, Founder & CEO, NephroPlus begs to differ stating that overall its low key budget for healthcare, except for the promise of National Health Protection Scheme. The key is to ensure that Government plays the role of a good payer and regulator while private insurance firms are roped into implement the actual program. Aayushman Bharat 1.5 lakh centers sounds like a great idea but the budget of The Union government's increased attention to tuberculosis and medical education are seen to be transformational moves for the healthcare industry. 1,200 crore seems extremely low for proper implementation. The 24 new medical colleges is very less, but still a good start to this capacity’s expansion effort.

Dr. GSK Velu, Founder, Chairman, Trivitron Healthcare said that the Budget puts to the fore a leap forward approach towards Universal Health Coverage Program.

Vishal Bali, Co-Founder and Chairman of Medwell Ventures said “The budget rightly provides a focus on agriculture, healthcare & education. The big move towards the path of Universal Healthcare Coverage under the flagship National Health Protection scheme is transformational for the country. The question to answer is how will the scheme be funded and executed given the fact that health is also a state subject. This move coupled with the announcement of 24 additional government medical colleges and hospitals gives healthcare the centre stage in this budget. In addition the increase in tax exemption for senior citizens on health insurance premium and medical expenditure is a good move. This was also the opportune time for the FM to give infrastructure status to the healthcare sector and provide the much needed acceleration to capacity creation in the sector.”

Dilip Jose, managing director & CEO, Manipal Hospitals, said that the proposed national health protection scheme is an important step towards making healthcare accessible for a large section of the population and is a very welcome initiative. While the details of the scheme are not yet known, if implemented thoughtfully, it has the potential to significantly change the health indices of the country. Also, the proposals aimed at growing the rural economy and income levels, when implemented, would in turn enhance the affordability of quality healthcare services.”

Dr. Alok Roy, chairman, Medica Hospitals, observed that for the first time in many decades the Government in its Union Budget has shown serious commitment towards improvement in healthcare. The Government’s allowing higher Income Tax exemption on Insurance premium and Healthcare cess, both these will lead to higher expenditure in healthcare by individual and Government will have more funds for healthcare growth which is very commendable. We had expected some relief on imported equipments and Government’s encouragement on Medical consumables and devices made in India, which would have provided much needed boost to the Health Industry.

According to Sabesan CFO, Dr Agarwal Group Of Eye Hospitals, the thrust on healthcare in this year’s union budget was indeed a long awaited one. The National Health Protection Scheme proposed by the government will help in bridging the accessibility gap significantly. It will reduce the healthcare cost burden and help all strata’s of society to avail cashless facilities. Also, the move to set up new Government Medical Colleges and Hospitals will bridge the lack of trained clinical specialist especially in the rural areas. Further, the tax rate relief on entities with turnover of upto The Union government's increased attention to tuberculosis and medical education are seen to be transformational moves for the healthcare industry. 250 crore will also positively impact the sector. It will allow the midsized healthcare players to invest and thereby improve the health care availability in the country.

Dr Somesh Mittal CEO, Vikram Hospital, Bengaluru, said healthcare is a big winner in this budget with an emphasis on reaching the unreached. It is encouraging to see that the Government has announced the largest government-funded healthcare program insurance scheme which will also create new jobs in the healthcare sector and will result in opening of healthcare centers in small districts, towns and villages.

Dr. Kaushik Murali, Paediatric Ophthalmologist & President, Sankara Eye Hospital, said that healthcare sector has been a clear priority in budget 2018. There has been a good balance on short term respite from out of pocket health costs & building capacity in the long term.

 

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