Even as the country's 82nd budget Thursday promised to be growth-oriented and boost investment, concerns were expressed by healthcare experts in the private sector that little was done to recognise their contribution.
"Considering the fact that the private sector serves 75 percent of the healthcare diagnostics responsibility for the country, the union budget has yet again missed the opportunity to recognise the private sector in terms of both provision of high quality affordable services and geographic reach," said Sanjeev Chaudhry, doctor and managing director of SRL Diagnostics.
"The diagnostic industry did not get any relief in tax exemptions for life saving reagents on pathology tests. We need to understand that such taxes get transferred to patients. A whopping 1.2 billion Indians pay for healthcare out of their own pockets. In a limited health insurance environment, these taxes are directly affecting these 1.2 billion Indians," said Ameera Shah, chief executive officer of Metropolis Healthcare.
P.M. Murali, president of the Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises (ABLE), said that the union budget for 2013-14 is not encouraging for the biotech sector.
"While the finance minister has recognised the importance of venture capital and tax incentives, the measures announced are far from being adequate to build strong venture capital funds for the sector," he said.
Rana Mehta, who works as leader, healthcare, at PricewaterhouseCoopers India highlighted the importance of medical education. He said creating skill sets in the sector would help reduce the human resource shortage which is currently a roadblock in building the healthcare delivery infrastructure.
"Despite the hike in the healthcare allocation, the government spend is the lowest amongst the BRIC nations. It may be insufficient to achieve the goals of universal healthcare set out in the next five year plan," he said.
--Indo-Asian News Service mb/ros/vt
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