Over the year, Healthcare industry has taken its place as one of the largest industries in India. Since the sector comes under the category of Essential Services Act, it becomes important to credit it with the priority sector status, which is currently being undermined.
The state-of-the-art technologies that optimize the screening, diagnosis and treatment process, are imported and usually require a chunk of money for its purchases and maintenance. Therefore, the healthcare sectors’ recent demand for removing the duties levied on the imported medical equipment have come into the mainframe. This has been registered as one of the three focus areas for the government to consider in the upcoming budget.
What claimed as another area of debate was the availability of Input Tax credit.
“As good health is deemed as a basic necessity and right of every citizen in the country, therefore there is a dire need to create conditions for claiming the input credit by people seeking healthcare services,” says Ms. Niira Radia, Chairperson, Nayati Healthcare.
Another important point to be considered in the Budget is the healthcare services available in the metros. Whilst 80% of the population lives in the non-metros and rural areas, yet the concentration of hospitals is mainly in the metros. To make medical care available on a wider scale, the government needs to provide tertiary care facilities in tier 2 and 3 cities, to foster a better healthcare ecosystem in the country. While certain initiatives such as Ayushman Bharat have been directed towards building healthcare infrastructure in smaller towns, more robust initiatives need to sprawl with the similar objective.
The upcoming budget should also take into account the economic viability and price restructuring of the existing Ayushman Bharat scheme and the increased participation of the private tertiary care hospitals. While the efforts of the government to ensure preventive healthcare for a wider segment of people is significant, more budget allocation needs to be directed for ensuring its adoption.
Focusing on building realistic and feasible participation by private sector hospital, other schemes should be launched in our collateral objective to provide easy access of healthcare to all. Other schemes should be implemented on the same lines as Ayushman and ensure efficient payment process along with fast tracks patient approvals in the hospitals. This is expected to reinstate hospitals’ interest in actively participating in the government schemes.