Budget 2020-21 will be presented on February 1.
The medical and healthcare fraternity has kept its fingers crossed and hope that the government will take steps to accelerate the sector.
Here’s what they say:
Mr. Amol Naikawadi, Joint – Managing Director, Indus Health Plus
“We all are aware of the fact that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have undeniably become a healthcare priority in India. We have also observed that the pattern of NCDs in rural India appears to be largely similar to that in urban India. Hence, it has become crucial to encourage Indian population to go for regular screening for early diagnosis of NCDs. Early detection and timely treatment can be helpful in reducing the overall burden of the last stage treatment expenses and overall economic growth of the country. In addition, we have seen a potential in new technologies like Genetic testing for diagnosis in terms of how it can help in knowing the predisposition of various NCDs so that people can take necessary steps to control them. Besides, it can contribute in personalizing the health and wellness aspects for an individual thereby reducing the curative costs. Having said so, we strongly recommend to increase the tax exemption limit on preventive health checkup including genetic testing under section 80D to Rs 20,000 per person annually. This will encourage people to go for regular health screening and help us make India a ‘Healthy India’.
Furthermore, specific tax benefits for preventive healthcare should be given to corporate on per employee basis, so that they are motivated to invest in their employees’ health and well-being. Also, there is a need to bring in Zero-rating GST on healthcare services as it would reduce the cost for healthcare providers. As a result of which, the benefit will be passed on to the end consumers which will lower down the overall medical care cost.”
Mr. Nickhil Jakatdar, CEO, GenePath
“Molecular diagnostics and genetic testing for preventive screening of cervical, breast and ovarian as well as prostate cancer is known to be significantly more accurate than regular tests and are routinely used in the developed world. However, the higher costs of these tests dissuade doctors in India from prescribing them to the lay man, while the lack of scale inhibits R&D activity to come up with lower cost and South Asian genome relevant tests. If the tax exemption on preventive health check-ups is raised from the current Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000 under section 80D of the Income Tax Act, it will significantly accelerate the adoption of a better level of healthcare in the country.”
Grand Master Akshar, Spiritual Master & Yoga-preneur
“It was very positive to see that the last fiscal Budget was health-centred with the establishment of AYUSH Ministry focussing on Yoga, Ayurveda, Naturopathy, and Siddha, etc. I think it will be great if the government can allocate funds in the upcoming Budget for mental well-being too by creating a separate vertical for it. Mental health is garnering much attention these days due to the rise in instances of depression, psychological disorders, and suicides among the youth. Mental health is the very foundation on which even physical, and emotional health is dependent on. When we have mental strength, everything else falls in place. Therefore, there should be some allocation for mental well-being also. When importance is given to individual’s holistic well-being, this ripple effect is reflected on the community, society and on the nation for growth towards productivity.”