The Interim Budget 2019-2020 emphasized on creating a strong healthcare delivery system in the country, enabling people of all strata to avail quality, accessible and affordable medical facilities.
Though, no major initiative was announced, the Budget highlighted role of healthcare infrastructure i.e new AIIMS in Haryana and a Centre of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence, which would lay a strong foundation for a robust healthcare system to enhance patient care.
The Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal announced the vision of the Government to build a distress free, functional and comprehensive healthcare and wellness system by 2030. The Ayushman Bharat scheme will be scaled up to benefit more number of people with better implementation mechanism, the Minister said while presenting the last budget of the Modi Government in the Parliament.
Interim budget allocation for health has seen a hike of close to 13 per cent in 2019-20 at Rs 61, 398.12 crore as compared to 2018-19 revised estimates of Rs 54302.50 crore. Rs 6,400 crore was earmarked for Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme in the budget.
However, industry players have welcomed the budget and lauded the Government’s efforts to create a healthy India.
Dr Prathap C. Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group, said, “A forward-thinking budget with a definitive vision to accelerate much greater progress and enhance wellbeing of Indians, the allocation of Rs. 6400 crores for Ayushman Bharat is very welcome. Now it is paramount, that India ramps up its efforts to arrest the upsurge of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which are increasing like an epidemic.”
Nilesh Jain, Founding partner, Clinivantage healthcare technologies, said, “The thought of accessible & affordable medical healthcare treatment is taking center stage. Adoption of new technology, AI and transparency controls via deployment of unified cloud system will help speed the success story of Ayushman Bharat.”
“The government’s vision towards having a distress free healthcare and a functional, comprehensive healthcare system by 2030 is praiseworthy. The announcement regarding setting up of 22nd All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Haryana is a welcome move towards enhancing advanced medical research in India, producing a greater number of qualified medical professionals and expanding opportunities for the aspiring medical students of the country,” said Shanthini Arunthavanathan, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Westminster Healthcare, Chennai .
“It is great to know that under Ayushman Bharat around 10 lakh sick people have already received treatment and Rs 3000 crore have been saved by poor families. Shri Piyush Goyal also stated his government’s intention of providing an “environment of health assurance” for all people. The government can now introduce new strategies to make sure that all Indian citizens are covered under some kind of health insurance by launching new insurance initiatives for the middle classes and reducing the GST slab on insurance premium from the current 18 percent, said Dr Dharminder Nagar, MD, Paras Healthcare.
Dr Sudarshan Ballal, Chairman Manipal Hospitals, said, “The greatest challenge in Health care today is to focus on prevention of illness, primary care, creation of wellness rather than treat illness and provide Universal health care for the masses. The government in its efforts to achieve these goals has spent resources and efforts to make about 5 lakh villages defecation free as part of the Swachh Bharat mission will improve sanitation which will go a long way in preventing morbidity and mortality especially in children.”
“From the very start we’ve seen this government focusing on insurance and social security, and even in the budget, the same was prevalent. From social security schemes like ‘Pradhan Mantri Shram-Yogi Maandhan’ to Ayusman Bharat, this budget is very positive towards ensuring a larger penetration of insurance in our country,” said Rikhil Shah, Chief Financial Officer, SBI General Insurance
“The interim budget, the government has rightly comprehended the necessity and competence of digital technologies such as AI, machine learning, big data and more. We are glad to find out the government’s plans of developing a National Artificial Intelligence portal, which will significantly boost research and development measures and thus allow businesses of all sizes and sectors to gain better data-driven and decision-making insights and advance the nation in competitive global space,” said Arun Balasubramian, Managing Director – Qlik India.