Health, being the state subject and among top priority list of people, this year it will be amazing to see, what fresh and attractiveModi government has set aside for the healthcare sector.
The new prime minister has to wipe out the inequalities in the distribution of health resources and services and aim towards attaining the millennium development goals. Healthcare is to be regarded by the new government as an essential component of socio-economic development.
With many challenges in the row, a key one this government will be facing is: Healthcare. While World Health Organisation’s 2000 World Health Report ranked India 112 out of 190 countries, the key questions in Modi’s mind would be like: How to provide healthcare to all? What can be done to balance the reach of healthcare to rural and urban masses? What will be the major roadblocks in achieving this? And many more.
As now it is a high time when we all are eagerly waiting for the budget to come, Healthtechnology.in, interacts with a handful of leading stakeholders and start ups in the health sector to find out their expectations, wishes and requests from the new government,
Here are the excerpts
V. Raja, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director for Philips India Limited says, “The healthcare industry in general along with Philips feels creating tariff barriers will not help indigenous manufacturing. Instead, it would lead to a hike in prices of medical devices, which contributes significantly to healthcare costs for patients.”
Amol Naikawadi, JMD Indus Health Plus says, “We foresee a significant growth for government to invest in preventive Healthcare in 2016-17 budget in order to strengthen and give boost
to preventive healthcare segment in India. Government should also come up with medical innovation fund to boost healthcare entrepreneurship and consider seed funding. The tax exemption on preventive health checkup should be raised from Rs 5000 to Rs 20,000 in order to shift the focus to preventive measures. There is also a rise in Health checkups from 15-17%, therefore government should come up with the policies to support and spread awareness for early diagnosis. Current spend of 1% of GDP on public health should be increased along with investment in healthcare technology and infrastructure.”
Hisao Masuda, MD, Omron Healthcare India,“One of the fastest growing healthcare markets in the world, India with rising income levels and an aging population, presents a huge opportunity for pharmaceutical and healthcare players to increase investments in not only in urban areas but in Tier-II and Tier-III cities as well. However, despite sharing close to 20% of the global disease burden, the country lacks in proper healthcare infrastructure. There is a pressing need to build and upgrade healthcare infrastructure and services, hence the Government must start investing and initiate PPP (Public Private Partnership), to achieve this goal. There are private healthcare providers, interested in partnering with the government on various kinds of projects, including primary health centers.
Currently, imports account for about 80 per cent of total medical devices, which include all the advanced machines. Hence an import duty hike from 5% to 7.5% could be unfavourable for the sector, as it will not only burden patients but also negatively impact the healthcare industry in country. As a manufacturer & importer for medical devices, we believe government must improve regulatory & product registration process, to make the process hassle free, short & more transparent. Quality and affordable healthcare is one of the emerging needs for every citizen in country especially in Tier II, Tier III cities & rural areas, hence the government must focus on these segments, considering that a majority of population falls under middle income group.”
Anurav Rane – CEO of PlanMyMedicalTrip.com,”We are looking forward to a positive turn out from the Union Budget for start-ups and emerging entrepreneurs. Being a startup, the amount of direct and indirect taxes we pay, handicaps us from expanding at our true potential. We are hoping for an exemption from all these taxes in the upcoming budget. As per the government guidelines, we are also overburdened by the tremendous amount of paperwork every month. We expect the centre to undo the tedious documentation process so that we can save on precious time and expend our energies on building the business in stead. The government should also strategies on improving the purchasing power of customer-enabling organisations like ours to allow us in improving the overall quality of service”
Bamasish Paul, the CEO and co-founder, Healthenablr,“I expect increased budget allocation on healthcare and child welfare sector especially on programmes related to reducing female child infanticide, upgradation of hospital facilities in semi-urban and rural centre. Special incentives for technology companies developing healthcare infrastructure and telehealth platform to help connect rural patients with doctors in urban centre in form of subsidised financial packages will help companies like Healthenablr to expand into semi-urban and rural markets”
Dr. GSK Velu, Founder &Managing Director Trivitron Group of companies: “What we’re discussing privately and publicly, is a budget which is a blueprint for the future which creates jobs, which educates our children, which provides affordable healthcare for all Indians. Affordable healthcare is possible if we make in India, for the 1.2 billion people, what we need. To achieve this, the “make in India” policy should make necessary structural and fiscal changes to enable Indian Medical Device and IVD Industry to compete with well-entrenched MNCs in the Indian Market which is worth Billions of Dollars. The changes made in the duty structure for the medical devices are welcome but it does not address the problems faced by the Indian IVD Industry. The current duty structure for IVD industry encourage the import of IVD reagents, it does not encourage domestic manufacturing.
The value of import of is estimated to be thousand of crores in IVD Diagnostics Category, and there is absolutely no rationale to have such huge import dependence in this segment as inputs / parent industry for IVD Reagents is Pharmaceutical Industry. If we make “ manufacturing attractive “ by bringing the different customs code numbers into one category ” In Vitro Diagnostics Reagents’ with finished goods at a duty of 29% and raw materials/ components import only by licensed manufactures at 2.5% duty (On actual user condition) then the Manufacturing will become viable in this segment. We hope the budget will address this issue ”
Saleem Mohammed, Director Xcode Life Science,Chennai: “The impact of non-communicable, lifestyle driven diseases in India is growing dramatically. India now has the dubious distinction of being diabetic and heart disease capital of the world. Its clear that prevention as a strategy is far superior to corrective care. India must set a vision of becoming the healthiest country in the world, which will have a massive impact on socio-economic life of the country. The government must encourage, emphasize and incentivize preventive healthcare by any and all means at its disposal.”
Dr. Shobha Gupta, IVF Specialist: “There should be increased medical treatments in government hospitals for the people below poverty line. Government should introduce such system in which people living in below poverty line should also be eligible to take treatments in private hospitals. Expensive medicines should be made available at cheaper rates for those people across all the medical stores in the city. Number of ambulances should also be increased in all the hospitals in fact Government should create a proper and separate corridor for ambulances on the roads. There is also a sustainable growth in country’s GDP due to medical tourism, there are patients who comes from outside India to take treatment so there must be a provision to avail visa benefits not only for them but for their family members as well.”
Rama krishnanVenkataraman, Co-founder & COO, Attune Technologies: “The startup ecosystem in India is growing at a rapid rate, thanks to the Prime Minister’s initiatives to promote entrepreneurship. In this budget, we expect the government to continue with their support for startups by streamlining the regulatory filing requirements and incentivising startup investors. “Startup India Initiative” has already set the ball rolling, and we expect the Budget to fuel this growth further.”
Nipun Goyal, Co-founder Curofy: “As the Parliament’s Budget session begins in the last week of February, there are certain pre-budget expectations from all the sectors, especially healthcare industry. The Budget 2015-16 saw some initiatives like “Swachh Bharat” to improve the health and cleanliness awareness among people but it was not up to the mark to address the key challenges that the healthcare industry faces. Health Care in India has been on the constant growth trajectory with a CAGR of 15% due to many factors such as rising population, changing demographics, increasing healthcare awareness etc. but the healthcare infrastructure is required to match the voluminous disease burden of the country. The sector is struggling to bridge the gap between demand and supply of doctors, nurses and other medical staff. Accessibility and affordability of healthcare services to all the sections of society still remains a daunting task.
Last year’s budget saw allocation of roughly Rs. 33,000 crores in healthcare which is just 1.2% of our GDP. As compared to China and USA who spend almost 3-4% of GDP on health it is still very less. More clarity around strategies to increase the availability of skilled manpower in health care is needed. The adoption of technologies such as telemedicine, EMR, EHR etc. is the need of hour and strategic roadmap around this should be developed. Also, there is a strong need of streamlining government regulations and forming policies that can reduce these inefficiencies and build investor’s confidence in healthcare sector. If the above mentioned expectations are met this time, the heath sector will see a phenomenal growth and transformation in near future.”
Experts from the Start-ups
Atit Jain- CEO & Co-Founder, Pluss “I expect the policies promised by Prime Minister Modi during the Startup India program to be implemented.India doesn’t have taxation treaties with many countries like US and Japan, the countries which have the potential and intent to heavily invest in Indian startups. Laws should be passed so as to avoid double taxation for investors inthese countries. This will attract a significant investor interest in India and thus promote India’s startup ecosystem.”
Vipin Pathak, CEO-Founder, Care24:“Budget 2016 is highly awaited where everyone is expecting policy level changes to
promote growth. At the juncture where global growth is not so promising, everyone is eyeing on Indian Growth story and we have to leverage this situation. Government has started great initiatives like “Make in India”, “Startup India Initiative”, the budget has to support at monitory, infrastructure and policy level to realize these dreams. Some of the expectation we have is further easy FDI investment norms, licensing and startup support (tax, documentation, licensing, legal). Entrepreneurs should feel protected and supported on ground level to make actual difference.” –
Vipul Jain, CEO, Advancells-“ We have great expectation from the union budget 2016. We specially hope the the government to follow-up on the startup India initiative launched by the Prime Minister a week ago. We are hoping the budget to lay ground work for biotech incubators that the PM had talked about and hope that we will get access to world class infrastructure in these incubators for u to carry forward our research. We also hope some announcement on health care specific investments where in the government will not only incentivize our research but also provide funding for commercializing our innovations”
Suhail Abidi, Founder, TinyStep “With our Prime Minister’s startup India policy which brings in a lot of tax breaks for Start-Up’s, a large $1.5B fund, exemptions from capital gains tax, faster and cheaper patent applications among many others; as a key player in the ecommerce and hyper local industry.
Expectations are from awaiting clarity on the angel tax. Finance Minister mentioned that provisions will be made in the Income Tax Act for exemption to a notified class of investors. Easy company registration process: Registering a company is a vital part of an entrepreneur’s journey. Easy access to forms and follow ups would be of great help. Reduction of Service Tax and standardization of taxes pan India to let the startups scale-up smoothly. Support in case of bankrupt companies and flexible bankruptcy laws : Looking at the ratio of successful to failing startups, support is required for a startup/entrepreneur to get back on his feet. Support for employees related to a startup in case of company downsizing or shutting down.”
Krispian Lawrence, Co-Founder & CEO, Ducere Technologies: “Some of the key initiatives by the Government like fast tracking of patent applications; tax rebates and fund allocation for setting up manufacturing plants to boost IT product innovations in India, are very encouraging moves for the startup community. Another significant move was the launch of Start-up India policy to boost entrepreneurship, which we hope to see rolled out this year. The government should also encourage building a vibrant startup ecosystem by inculcating skill development and entrepreneurship skills in Colleges and Universities. Additionally, the IPO regime should be relaxed and made easier for startups to go public, which in a way will encourage entrepreneurs to stay in the country and not move out to overseas markets. We would also like to see a continued support from the government to ease the regulatory clearances policies, as it will help in fostering a conducive environment for the entrepreneur community.”