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Union Budget 2019 for Healthcare Industry

Is Digital Revolution Really Pushing Healthcare Industry to Grow?

Union Budget 2019 for Healthcare Industry

Tuesday July 09, 2019,

5 min Read

Digital transformation is seen across all the industries and healthcare is no exception. Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has undertaken various initiatives using Information & Communication Technologies to boost the performance of the public healthcare system in India. The government is still working on introducing more of ICT initiatives. Below are the insights on how technology is being applied in various healthcare circumstances by the government.

Ministry of Health has already initiated various online portals like National Health Portal e-Hospital, Online Registration System (ORS), `Mera Aspataal’ (Patient Feedback) Application as well as healthcare mobile apps like Vaccine Tracker, NHP Swasth Bharat, No More Tension Mobile App., Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan Mobile App. etc. to harness the wide penetration of mobile connectivity & to encourage Digital Revolution in the Healthcare Industry.

Today, the maiden interim budget has been presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for 2019-20. Expectations are already rising at this crucial juncture in the economy where the growth is slowing down and so are revenue collections. 

The Healthcare sector has got Rs 61,398 crore budgetary allocation for this fiscal year. This includes Rs 6,400 crores allocation to Ayushman Bharat–PM Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year on 23rd September. There is a whopping 16 percent increase over the 2018-2019 allocation which was Rs 54,302.50 crores. 

In this article, we are showing how the industry experts and leaders in the Healthcare industry are reacting to budgetary allocation for the Health Sector for 2019-20. The reviews are based on the personal feedback of the industry leaders previously posted at First Post & Deccanherald.

Meena Ganesh, MD & CEO, Portea Medical

As per her, “It is heartening to see how the government has been promoting healthcare startups in India and increasing the spending on healthcare. However, it comes as a disappointment to observe how life-saving equipment such as ventilators, BIPAP and CPAP, etc. have been placed under heavy taxes.”

She is not so happy about the taxes levied on essentials like crutches and wheelchairs (The taxes being increased from 5 percent to 7.5 percent). Even the medical equipment spare parts are being taxed under the highest slot of 28 percent GST. 

Rajat Garg, Co-founder & CEO, myUpchar, Local Language Health Content App

Rajat Garg- the co-founder of a myUpchar health app is seeking this budget to bring out modernization of primary health care so that it can be made accessible to millions of users. 

According to him, “Given the lack of doctors in public health centres, public health centres, they are currently not able to serve their purpose. Leveraging video conferencing and diagnostic tools, doctors can remotely diagnose the patient and assist with providing basic services across the country.”

He also expects that the government should eliminate angel tax in this Union Budget since co-working firms face difficulties to lease more spaces for start-ups, enterprises, MSMEs and entrepreneurs because of this tax. “Angel funding is now being considered as income and is being taxed at the full income tax rate of 30 percent. This will detract higher investment in co-working spaces.” He said.

Varun Gera, HealthAssure, Primary Healthcare Aggregator

Varun thinks that the current healthcare system requires more funds and attention. He is praising about the increased budget cap of 16% for Ayushman Bharat. According to him-

“I expect the NDA government to bite the bullet and at least triple the government healthcare budget over the next two years from low of 1.2 percent currently. There are many countries with high costs and inefficient healthcare operating systems. For this reason, apart from allocating appropriate budgets, it is important for the government to initiate appropriate building blocks, take the right decisions and good implementation in this sector to further develop the healthcare ecosystem in India.”

Savitha Kuttan, Founder & CEO, Omnicuris, online digital Continuous Medical Education (CME) startup

Savitha Kuttan is a founder of an online digital startup- CME and is looking forward to a positive turn out from the Union Budget 2019 especially for start-ups and emerging entrepreneurs in the healthcare domain. All she want from this newly elected government is:

  • The government should come up with a medical innovation fund separately to boost health tech start-ups.
  • The outdated taxes, that are actually hampering the growth potential of health startups, should be removed. 
  • The government should also address the GST compliance by reducing the tax rates. 

Ajoy Khandheria, Founder, Gramin Healthcare

According to Ajoy- “Ensuring accessible, good quality healthcare in rural India remains the biggest challenge in the healthcare sector. The government needs to direct financial resources to build the primary healthcare infrastructure in rural and remote areas, and that is difficult unless public spending on healthcare goes up from 1.15 percent.”

The major areas of concern in the Healthcare sector as seen by Ajoy are:

  • The government should increase the tax exemption for preventive health checkups.
  • The government should promote preventive care practices to bring down the disease burden of non-communicable diseases, which are currently responsible for 61 percent of deaths in the country. 
  • Government support is needed to help reduce the dependency on China for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients so that it is readily available & affordable for people living in remote/rural areas.

The private sector too is doing its bit to push the Digital Revolution across Healthcare Industries by making world-class & most user-friendly apps for patients, doctors & hospitals, etc. Looking for Services related to App development for Healthcare sector?