The captains of the healthcare sector have overall hailed the Union budget for the year 2015-16 presented by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on February 28 in Parliament.
"Indeed a breath taking effort by finance minister Arun Jaitley. It envelops every section of society and commits to initiate social security network for all. There are measures for global competitiveness and "Make in India' - a reality," commented Dr. Habil Khorakiwala, chairman, Wockhardt Ltd.
"Overall, it’s a positive and balanced Budget. Increase in infrastructure investments, roll out of GST next year, single window in regulatory processes and phased reduction in corporate tax are steps in the right direction" opined Sanjay Murdeshwar, managing director, AstraZeneca Pharma India Ltd.
Even though there is no direct impetus to the pharmaceutical industry, plans announced for the healthcare sector are welcome. Setting up of five new AIIMS across the country will help patients and medical education. Three more National Institute of Pharmaceuticals Education and Research will play an important role in bridging the skill gap, the National Skills Mission is an excellent endeavor in this area. Improving accessibility to healthcare has been stimulated through raise in health insurance premium from Rs.15,000 to Rs.25,000. Rs.150 crore announced for scientific research is a positive move, though incentivizing medical/pharma research would have helped trigger more R&D investments into the sector, Murdeshwar added.
Commenting on the budget, Anupam Verma, president, Wockhardt Hospitals said that the allocation of more money to states would enable the deployment of resources for healthcare on ground, healthcare being a state subject. On infrastructure front , its a bit of under expectation, with only mention of 5 AIIMS in various states. A centralized thrust on creation of more quality infrastructure on medical, paramedical, medical and allied education would have set clear directions. Also, the need for healthcare policy and an indicative allocation to roll that out with clear milestones would have been appreciated.
"Overall, this can be looked at as one of the most progressive budget for healthcare of the country, as the effort has been to enable the consumer to afford more and better healthcare . Historically there have been gaps in intentions and outcomes. We hope that this is bridged to create a healthy India this time", Verma said.
Monday, March 02, 2015. Source: Pharma Biz
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