“The budget is absolutely silent on ways and policies to boost domestic R&D in MedTech / healthcare segment”

jatin

We are dismayed by the Union Budget 2022 completely overlooking the fair expectations of the MedTech industry.

There has been a lot of focus on future-speak – with elaborate mentions of digital and infrastructure, but the existing concerns of the MedTech industry have been completely neglected.

The diagnostics industry forms the backbone of the fight against the pandemic, and accounts for 70 per cent of all therapeutic decisions. And yet, the following long-standing woes have not been addressed in spite of yearly promises

– Current Custom duty structure designed to favour imports

– Inverted duty structure, which is higher for raw materials and lower for finished goods – favouring finished goods import instead of import of raw material and domestic production.

– Rational reduction of GST from 18 pc to 12 pc, considering we are essential services and not luxury services

The existing policies continue to favour import of MedTech solutions. It is against the much-hyped Aatmanirbhar Bharat agenda, and this will continue to keep us dependent on foreign MedTech products.

The budget is absolutely silent on ways and policies to boost domestic R&D in the MedTech / healthcare segment.

As a nation, we are currently 80 per cent dependent on imported MedTech solutions (accounting for imports worth Rs. 4600 crores), and there has been no move to change this dependency. We are unable to boost domestic jobs and earn foreign exchange. We actually have the potential to emerge as a strong global manufacturing hub for the MedTech segment.

The overall healthcare allocation has been increased to Rs. 2.23 lakh crore, and more details are still awaited to provide any clarity on how (and if), they will have any impact on the MedTech industry.

Jatin Mahajan, MD – J Mitra & Co, Joint Coordinator – IVD (AiMeD)

ABS

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