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Budget: Health industry mostly satisfied over allocation to healthcare sector

The Union Budget 2022-23 was presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

There was a mixed reaction from the medical industry while some expressed satisfaction with the budget allocated to the industry, some were highly disappointed and asked for more to be done for the industry especially when “our country is reeling under the pressure of Omicron”.

The Union Budget 2022-23 was presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday.

Unhappy with the allocation of union budget towards Medical industry Rajiv Nath, Forum Coordinator, Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMeD) expressed deep disappointment and anguish over the Union Budget 2022 giving cold shoulder again to the Indian Medical Device Industry and nothing laudable for the Healthcare.

“We were expecting the government to move forward on promised reforms and anticipated conducive measures to boost domestic manufacturing of 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.46000 Crore & promoting growth 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 Govt. 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.”

While on the other hand welcoming the budget CDR Navneet Bali, Regional Director, Narayana Health, North, said, “The only way to democratize healthcare is to make it accessible which is clearly seen in the budgetary push through telehealth and the digital health ecosystem.

The benefits seem to be given to the much needed rural sections which lack physical infra and super specialist doctors –while the urban population has easy access and spending capability at high end private healthcare institutions, the rural segment lack both which could be addressed through detailed healthcare budget allocations.

Healthcare accessibility in Rural areas Is clearly seen as the long term aim of the government is a welcome step which is seen through digital adoption. There has been a lot of talk of mental health during covid. The government has taken cognizance and planned setting up 23 Mental Health Centers which is a much appreciated step in the right direction.”

Another person welcoming the budget was Dr. Pallavi Joshi, Consultant Psychiatrist, Manipal Hospital Varthur Road, Bengaluru.

“This is a great move by the Government, in fact, this was much needed indeed. According to the Lancet Report, the amount of rising in depression and anxiety was up by 40% each. There is a dearth of Psychiatrists in India, we have 1 Psychiatrist for 3500 patients.

So, seeing everyone in person was a big challenge, teleconsultation is a big boon for our fraternity. Patients can definitely talk more on teleconsultation, and we’ll be happy to interact with them and look at their expressions. Also, some of these patients who are afraid of stigmatization can consult online from anywhere.”

Mr. Vikram Thaploo, CEO Apollo Telehealth (largest and oldest multi-specialty telemedicine network in the world. A unit of Apollo Hospitals Group) said, “The government in its last Union budget had placed health and well-being as the first of its six pillars, and with India into its third year into the Covid-19 pandemic, that focus has reflected in this year’s Union Budget as well.

The launch of the National Tele Mental Health Program which will include a network of 23 tele mental health centres of excellence with Nimhans being the nodal centre and IIIT Bangalore providing technology support 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.

Also, an open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem will be rolled out and it’ll 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.”