31 Jan 2020, 14:40 — 5 min read
In general parley ‘budget’ indicates your purse, however in governmental phrasing this is a customised financial planning for an array of sectors in a year, including the healthcare sector. Unlike every year, this year we are heading into a new decade where an overall transformation is expected. But how it unfolds for healthcare, is yet to be seen.
In tandem with other sectors, the budget for healthcare spending in India is the lowest in the world, which stands barely at 1%. However, as per the indicators, the healthcare spending is likely to increase to 2.5% of the GDP by 2025. This is clearly the need of the hour and might turn out to be a succour for the entire population. But the upswing of healthcare allocation in the upcoming budget for FY 2020-21 would be quite speculative.
Niti Aayog’s report identified five areas of focus for the future of the health system, including restructuring health financing, integrating service delivery, educating patients, and boosting digital infrastructure. The government needs to put all these things under consideration.
Increase in the budgetary support will help expand the network and the coverage of affordable healthcare facilities to beneficiaries. The same is also expected to be positive for hospitals in Tier-II and Tier-III cities and smaller towns, particularly for those that have low occupancies or those that are positioned for affordable care.
Niti Aayog’s latest report identified five areas of focus for the future of the health system, including restructuring health financing, integrating service delivery, educating patients, and boosting digital infrastructure to increase access to quality healthcare. The government needs to put all these things under consideration while allocating the budget in the healthcare industry and revamp the state of healthcare in India.
Higher allotment for health sector to help schemes like Ayushman Bharat to reach larger section of population with measurable outcome is very much required. Similarly, to enable public private partnership in the diagnostics segment as per central government guidelines to realise the vision of quality advanced diagnostics at affordable cost with accountability and better clinical outcomes will be highly desirable.
Also, the government can create incentives for the industry for spreading medical awareness, education amongst the Indian citizens, the guidelines for which can be framed and monitored periodically. The price capping on medicines/consumables though welcome for patients will need to be done in a phased a judicial manner which will support employment and investment in the pharma industry and the healthcare industry.
There is speculation that India could unveil a ‘Fund of Funds’ for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector in the upcoming budget to provide funding line to the sector. The government is also likely to extend the interest subvention scheme for MSMEs, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, in November 2018. And a 2% interest subvention for all GST registered MSMEs on fresh or incremental loans.
The Ministry of MSME has also sought a budgetary allocation of INR 12,000 crore for the financial year 2020-21, a jump of 70% of the allocation for the current fiscal year. It's worth mentioning here that the fund allocation for the Ministry of MSME in FY-2019-20 stood at INR 7,011 crore, which is its highest till date, and more significantly around 78% of the allocated funds have been already utilised.
The magical box of budget, which is reeling under speculation of varied industry experts, is about to be opened. The bottom line of every speculation regarding the budget of the healthcare is that — will this budget strengthen the health of India and its citizens and move towards the vision of ‘Healthy India’, is about to be seen.
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Posted byDr Swadeep Srivastava
Marketing & Communications Solutions for Healthcare Cos.
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