Through the budget; there has been no direct reference to the health sector; but at a time when India has been plague by child deaths and stressing health infrastructure. Healthcare professionals expressing disappointment with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s maiden Budget.
The proposed overall allocation for health has risen to ₹64,999 crore this year, from a revised estimate of ₹55,949 crore last year. Through the budget, there has been no direct reference to the health sector at a time when India has been plagued by child deaths and stressed health infrastructure.
Health sector budget
There is an urgent need to address the multiple issues that are plaguing the system. The government has to revisit the unfinished agenda such as ‘priority sector’ status to the health sector to ensure smooth credit flow, mandatory universal health insurance, tax incentives for capacity building; creation of a dedicated infrastructure and innovation fund.
The Association of Indian Manufacturers of Medical Devices (AiMeD) too expressed anguish over the ‘continued neglect’ of domestic medical devices manufacturers by the government. Lamenting the lack of any fresh commitments to healthcare, Shankar Narang, COO, Paras Healthcare, however, saw a silver lining in the announcement relating to support for research.
National research foundation
Datar Cancer Genetics Limited; said while the move to set up a National Research Foundation was certainly a positive; the government had completely ignored the bio-medical sector; which has the potential to be a global research hub for fields like genetic research, bio-informatics and artificial intelligence.
But this year promises to be a healthy growth for the sector,” asserted Vivek Tiwari; founder and CEO of Medikabazar; an e-commerce site for medical devices; and hospital supplies. The Central government is planning to set up more than 1.5 lakh; Health and Wellness Centres by 2022 under the Ayushman Bharat Yojana; and plans to provide healthcare cover of ₹5 lakh to around 10.74 crore families across the country.