Key expectation from the budget was ways and means to accelerate the healthcare sector. This included increased public spending in health care to 2.5-3% of GDP as envisaged in the National Health Policy 2017, reduction of GST rate on medical equipment and devices and abolition of levy of cess on imported medical equipment. On this front, the Union budget does not give any clear directions and has no blockbuster announcements. However, welcome measures such as roll out of National Digital Health Ecosystem with digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity and universal access to health facilities & exemption on certain medical devices and drugs and medicines for which sufficient domestic capacity exists (fine print awaited to understand this better) are beneficial measures and would have far reaching consequences for Healthcare Sector in India.
Harish Iyer, Head of Finance, Carestream India