Union Budget 2022–Disappointing Budget for Medical Devices Industry

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“We had been hoping that this will be a Make in India push budget for an Atmanirbhar Bharat”

I am deeply disappointed and anguished over the Union Budget 2022 giving cold shoulder again to the Indian Medical Device Industry and nothing laudable for the healthcare sector.

We were expecting the government to move forward on promised reforms and anticipated conducive measures to boost domestic manufacturing of the medical devices. It is frustrating that against our expectations, the government has not included any measures to help end the 80-85% import dependence forced upon India and an ever increasing import bill of over Rs. 46,000 Crore & promoting growth of Indian Medical Device industry other than repeating last year’s assurance to end custom exemptions of products that can be made in India.

Sadly the union budget 2022 speech has no strategic stated measures to boost domestic manufacturing. These are the same domestic manufacturers, when imports got disrupted during COVID-19 crisis, the government relied heavily on them to meet the rising demand of essential Covid items for the country pushing the Indian medical devices sector to become self-reliant.

The Indian Medical Devices Industry’s expectations were:
1. Predictable tariff policy.
2. Graded increase of custom duty to 10-15% from current zero to 7.5%
3. Reduced GST on 18% where being applied to 12% as Medical Devices are not luxury goods .
4. Not clear if Health Cess applied on some medical devices being also applied on other medical devices
5. No announcement on R&D related tax breaks to motivate indigenous development

We had been hoping that this will be a Make in India push budget for an Atmanirbhar Bharat and though the FM has highlighted the need to support manufacturing sector, we, The Indian Medical Device Industry are disheartened not to notice any changes in custom duty as done for other sectors and are very hopeful that the fine print of the Union Budget would have possibly acted upon our recommendations on a predictable tariff policy for a Make in India push for phased manufacturing plan for components and finished medical devices and allocations for testing infrastructure as well as for med tech parks and cluster developments.

Supporting policies are needed so that Indian Medical Devices Industry can make quality healthcare accessible and affordable for common masses, aim to place India among the Top 5 Medical Devices manufacturing hubs worldwide and help end the 80-85% import dependence forced upon us and an ever increasing import bill of over Rs. 46000 Crore.

The only positive news was on Public Procurement by allowing 75% prompt payments and bringing in a weighted price preference on account of quality which is especially critical in healthcare related medical devices.

Rajiv Nath, Forum Coordinator, AiMeD

ABS

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