Union Budget 2022-23: Industry experts welcome govt’s focus on healthcare sector


By Shalini Bhardwaj

New Delhi [India]: Welcoming the Union Budget for FY 2022-23, industry experts said the government’s renewed focus on healthcare will build stronger health systems in the country.
Speaking to ANI, Biocon chairman Kiran Mazumdar Shaw said, “Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Budget for FY23 is well balanced with fiscal prudence and ease of doing business as the main themes. I believe the 35 per cent increase in capital expenditure for FY23 is positive and will drive the creation of much-needed infrastructure and jobs. The Finance Minister must also be commended for maintaining the fiscal deficit at 6.9 per cent of GDP in FY22.”

She said the Union Budget focusing on ensuring regulatory ease by promoting digital trust and digital compliance is in the right direction.

“We were expecting some incentives for Pharma R&D (Research and Development) in the Budget as public investment is very low in this critical area of research and innovation, which are key for spurring exponential economic growth. The Finance Minister has assured the government’s support for R&D expenditure in sunrise areas such as drones, artificial intelligence, genomics, space, clean energy etc,” Shaw said.

The Biocon chairman further said, “We will need to see the fine print if there is anything on pharma. The only concern I have is the absence of any fiscal stimulus for the MSME (Medium and Small Scale Enterprises) and Services sector that have borne the brunt of the pandemic with large layoffs and job losses reflected in a sharp drop in rural and semi urban consumption. The government will need to address this urgently. Overall, it was a positive Budget without any negative surprises.”

Vikram Thaploo, CEO, Apollo Telehealth said the Centre’s focus on health and wellbeing that is has placed the first of its six pillars, is reflected in the Union Budget with the country entering the third year in COVID pandemic.

Referring to the launch of the National Tele Mental Health Programme, Thaploo said it is a welcome move by the government to augment the use of telemedicine services as well as provide support to people with mental health disorders.

National Tele Mental Health Program will include a network of 23 tele mental health Centres of Excellence with the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) being the nodal centre and IIIT Bangalore providing technical support.

“An open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem will be rolled out and it will further help in strengthening the healthcare services within the country. It will consist of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity and universal access to health facilities. The increased investment towards health infrastructure and focus on a holistic approach to health is seen as a testimony of the commitment to building stronger health systems in the country,” Thaploo told ANI.

KR Raghunath, senior chairman, Jindal Naturecure Institute also welcomed the much-deserved attention on India’s healthcare sector in the Union Budget 2022-23.

Speaking to ANI, Raghunath said, “We are encouraged by the government’s renewed focus on preventive and curative health as well as the overall wellness and well-being of our citizens. An open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem will widen access to health and wellness while driving a focus on preventive health.”

“Also, to better the access to quality mental health counseling and care services, a National Tele Mental Health program has been announced that will further help in tackling the rising number of mental health disorders in the country. These patient-centered initiatives will play a pivotal role in the success of the National Health Mission,” added Raghunath

Earlier on Tuesday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting the budget 2022-2023 announced the rollout of an open platform for the national health ecosystem.

It will consist of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity, consent framework and universal access to health facilities, she had stated.

Sitharaman began her presentation of Budget 2022 by expressing empathy with those who were affected by the adverse health and economic effects of the COVID pandemic. (ANI)

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