The healthcare industry got a budget boost this year. In her maiden Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed overall allocation of Rs 64,999 crore for healthcare thereby raising the annual outlay by almost Rs 10,000 crore, from a revised estimate of Rs 55,949 crore last year. The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), popularly known as Ayushman Bharat, will get Rs 6,400 crore as compared to Rs 2,400 crore in 2018-19 budget. However, experts feel, the Union Budget 2019-20 has failed to lay more impetus on domestic medical equipment manufacturing. Suresh Vazirani, Chairman and Managing Director, Transasia-Erba Group, opines, “While the overall approach and budget allocation to address healthcare by the current government has been positive, unfortunately there is nothing much to boost Make in India.”
The Association of Indian Manufacturers of Medical Devices (AiMeD) also expressed anguish over ‘continued neglect’ of the domestic medical devices manufacturers by the government. AiMED’s Rajiv Nath said, “We are shell shocked to see that no action has been taken by the government to stem the tsunami of imports … that’s crushing Indian manufacturing.” Despite umpteen reminders, the Union Budget 2019-20 has not heeded to our suggestions on extending tax and non-tax protection to our industry, he added.
The homegrown industry expects a better treatment and believes that there is an urgent need for the government to expedite steps to curb the 80-90 per cent import dependence forced upon the domestic manufacturers.
Emergency medical services (EMS) is a critical component of the healthcare infrastructure. However, in India, it is still in a fragmented stage. For EMS, recognition as industry is long overdue. According to industry experts, the lack of impetus for the EMS sector is completely overlooked in the Union Budget 2019-20. Manish Sacheti, CFO, Ziqitza Heathcare, said, “Our foremost request to the government has been to accord due recognition to the EMS industry and recognise it as an independent sector within the healthcare industry.”