Healthcare industry welcomes interim Union Budget 2024-25.
Dheeraj Jain, Founder, Redcliffe Labs
In the fabric of India’s healthcare, the interim budget announcement 2024 by FM Sitaraman unveils a tapestry of hope, especially with its strides towards addressing cervical cancer, the silent predator claiming thousands of lives annually. With cervical cancer ranking as the nation’s second leading cancer, the allocation for a vaccination drive targeting girls aged 9 to 14 echoes the urgency of the hour. It’s a beacon of progress, resonating deeply with Redcliffe Labs’ ‘Be Your Own Sheroes’ campaign launched in January 2024, which tirelessly advocates for timely diagnosis and vaccinations as it can significantly help prevent, cure, and treat cervical cancer.
The significance of this budget extends beyond mere numbers, for it promises to fortify our hospitals’ infrastructure and streamline schemes dedicated to children and maternal health. It’s not merely a fiscal plan; it’s a blueprint for a paradigm shift toward a Healthier Bharat. As we chart this course, I am reminded of the countless lives we can save and the futures we can safeguard. In the essence of simplicity yet profound impact, the budget’s narrative speaks directly to the hearts of every Indian. It embodies a call to action, a testament to our collective resolve to rewrite the healthcare narrative in India. Specifically, the steps taken towards empowering women’s health are essential for the overall well-being of women and the thriving future of the country. Together, through awareness, advocacy, and unwavering commitment, we can make quality healthcare accessible for all. This is not just a budget; it’s a pledge—a pledge to build a healthier, more resilient India for generations to come.
Vaibhav Tewari, CEO & Co-Founder, Portea Medical
While we recognize the positive advancements in the healthcare sector in the Budget, certain aspects warrant a “wait-and-watch” approach. The decision to form a committee for expanding medical colleges recognizes the need for enhanced healthcare infrastructure. However, swift and effective resolution of execution challenges is imperative for the initiative’s success. The emphasis on immunization (cervical cancer vaccination) for girls and the integration of healthcare schemes for mother and child into a unified format signals a commitment to preventive and comprehensive healthcare. Yet, success hinges on seamlessly integrating existing programs, clear execution strategies, and robust monitoring mechanisms.
Expanding Ayushman Bharat health insurance to ASHA, Aanganwadi workers, and helpers supports the frontline healthcare workforce. Efficacy will depend on seamless collaboration between public and private sectors, coupled with the necessary digital infrastructure.
There were several other key expectations that have remained unaddressed such as expansion of insurance coverage to outside of hospital care, funding, support for tech-driven healthcare sector, and healthcare startups etc. Since this is an interim budget, it seems that barring some of the operational needs, major policy initiatives have been left out for the full annual Budget that will be presented after the elections this year.
Looking ahead, fostering a collaborative environment is crucial for the government, leveraging strengths from both public and private entities. A digitally-driven approach, emphasizing transparency and efficiency, is pivotal for executing these healthcare initiatives successfully. At Portea, we are eager to actively contribute to these efforts, leveraging our expertise to ensure a robust and accessible healthcare system for all.
Nilesh Aggarwal, CEO, IJCP Group & Founder, Medtalks
The Union Ministry’s Budget 2024 underscores critical aspects of healthcare that demand urgent attention. One of the paramount needs is the shortage of healthcare professionals, particularly doctors. The commitment to establishing new medical colleges not only addresses this pressing need but also signifies a proactive step towards bolstering our healthcare workforce. With an ever-growing population and escalating healthcare demands, the expansion of medical education is crucial for ensuring adequate healthcare access across the nation.
Furthermore, the inclusion of cervical cancer prevention through vaccination for young girls is commendable. It emphasizes the importance of preventive healthcare measures in addressing significant public health concerns. However, beyond disease prevention, there’s a compelling need for universal healthcare coverage. Access to quality healthcare should be a fundamental right for every individual, irrespective of socio-economic status. Achieving universal healthcare coverage requires concerted efforts from both public and private sectors, alongside policy interventions aimed at bridging healthcare disparities.
Additionally, increased medical education should not solely focus on producing more doctors but should also prioritize holistic healthcare delivery. Public awareness campaigns on lifestyle issues play a pivotal role in promoting preventive healthcare practices. Educating the public about healthy lifestyle choices, disease prevention, and early intervention can significantly reduce the burden on healthcare systems and improve overall well-being.
In this endeavor, companies like the IJCP Group and MedTalks play a crucial role. With our large database of healthcare professionals and consumers, we can disseminate valuable information to the masses, facilitating greater awareness and understanding of healthcare issues. By leveraging technology and outreach efforts, we can empower individuals to make informed decisions about their health and well-being, ultimately contributing to a healthier society.”
Dr Jagprag Singh Gujral, SVP MDO/ Head of Emerging Markets, Varian, & Group CEO- CTSI
We are happy to see the Budget’s renewed focus on preventive initiatives for Cancer such as Cervical cancer the FM alluded to. Talent pool enhancement through the announcement for Medical Colleges and extension of the Ayushmann Bharat scheme are welcome positives for the growing middle class youth and the healthcare industry. The interim budget from a healthcare announcement’s perspective is in line with the optimism in India’s growth story.”
Atul Ayush Mishra, CEO & Founder, Tattvan E-Clinics
I applaud the government’s commitment to healthcare in the recent budget, especially the initiatives for medical education, maternal and child health, and the cervical cancer vaccination program. These steps represent significant progress toward a healthier India.
Looking forward, we urge the government to prioritize the development of tele-health infrastructure and to support startups through Public-Private Partnerships (PPP). Such measures are crucial for building a comprehensive healthcare system that effectively bridges the gap between urban and rural areas. By leveraging telemedicine, we can address a wide range of health issues, contributing to a healthier workforce across India.
Additionally, E-Clinics could play a key role in the government’s strategy by acting as platforms for continuous medical education and as mediums for implementing healthcare policies at the grassroots level. This approach will not only improve healthcare delivery but also ensure equitable access to healthcare advancements across the nation. We are eager to align our efforts with these initiatives, aiming to create a more inclusive and effective healthcare infrastructure.”
Dinesh Dalvi, Co-Founder, ANSSI Wellness
We applaud the visionary Viksit Bharat 2047 initiative unveiled in India’s interim budget. We commends the government’s commitment to transformative governance and infrastructure development, vital for holistic national progress. The budget’s enhanced focus on healthcare is a critical driver for India’s economic vitality. However, there needs to be a deeper emphasis on spine health, a sector often overlooked despite its widespread impact – 80 per cent of the population faces spine health issues at least once, with severe cases potentially leading to paralysis. There is also a need for increased funding dedicated to spine health education and preventive measures. A more informed public on spine care and its lifestyle implications is crucial, and raising awareness can significantly cut down treatment costs and offer both individual and national economic benefits.
Dr Harshit Jain, Founder & Global CEO, Doceree
The FY 2024-25 interim budget, announced by the Finance Minister, heralds a transformative phase for all industries, including Health-tech. The allocation of 50-year interest-free loans for technology-supported startups is commendable, poised to inspire youth, fostering innovation for groundbreaking healthcare solutions. The re-emphasis on ‘Anusandhan’ reflects a push for high-level strategic research, reinforcing the pharmaceutical industry’s commitment to tailored treatments for India’s diverse population. Further, the decision to expand medical educational institutions using existing hospital infrastructure underscores the government’s dedication to a skilled healthcare workforce, strengthening our healthcare system. The budget’s focus on maternal and early childhood healthcare, backed by new schemes, also promises improved outcomes. As a leader in healthcare transformation, Doceree wholeheartedly welcomes India’s persistent efforts to enhance healthcare efficacy through technology-driven initiatives.
Dr VK Gautam, HOD, Orthopedics Department, Sharda Hospital
The government should create a budget for health insurance for lower class patients coming to the hospital. Ayushman cards have been made for those who do not need them. There should be such a facility in all hospitals so that Ayushman cards can be made easily for the poor patients who come and they can be treated free of cost.
Dr Shrey Srivastav, general physician, Sharda Hospital
In FY2023-24 budget government took very positive initiatives towards women health, maternal and child health, vaccinations and extension of Ayushman bharat to all ASHA Workers and Anganwadi workers and helpers by launching new schemes Saksham Anganwadi, Poshan 2.0, U-win app which is absolutely commendable work.
But I my views middle class people were expecting more from extension of Ayushman Bharat scheme and budget allocation for healthcare startup could be more,
But overall all budget is good as it for some months only and i am expecting in next budget government will focus more on other aspects also.
Sanjaya Mariwala, Executive Chairman and Managing Director, OmniActive Health Technologies Ltd., India
The government’s mantra of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’ echoes through many initiatives. Extending healthcare cover under the Ayushman Bharat scheme to all ASHA workers, Anganwadi Workers and Helpers is a welcome decision. And the confidence expressed by the FM in the recently announced India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor will further inspire the business community. The Corridor will also foster initiative, self-reliance and a comprehensive adoption of the ‘China Plus One’ strategy.”
Karthik Kondepudi, Partner, Herbochem
As we navigate this era of change and progress, let us seize the opportunities presented by this budget to drive innovation, promote sustainability, and contribute to the overall well-being of our nation.
Embracing the transformative power of new-age technologies and data, the budget has laid a solid foundation for fostering innovation and sustainable growth. The establishment of a one-lakh crore corpus with a fifty-year interest-free loan is a commendable initiative. This financial boost aims to catalyze long-term research and innovation in sunrise domains, providing the private sector with the necessary resources to scale up and drive progress.
Furthermore, the commitment to green growth is evident through the introduction of a new scheme for bio-manufacturing and bio-foundry. This forward-looking initiative supports the development of environmentally friendly alternatives such as biodegradable polymers, bioplastics, bio-pharmaceuticals, and bio-Agri-inputs. This not only aligns with global sustainability goals but also signifies a shift towards regenerative manufacturing practices.
In the realm of pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, these budgetary measures hold promising implications. The emphasis on bio-pharmaceuticals aligns with the growing demand for innovative and sustainable healthcare solutions. The focus on green alternatives may incentivize the pharma and Nutra industry to explore eco-friendly practices and contribute to a healthier, more sustainable future.
Hariharan Subramanian, Managing Director, Siemens Healthcare Private Limited
It is imperative to strengthen healthcare infrastructure in India to manage the growing demand. In its journey of catering to the present and being prepared for future needs, the budget emphasizes on better access to healthcare.
In the fiscal year 2024-25 budget, the government revealed an ambitious plan for strengthening the healthcare sector in India. The emphasis on establishing medical colleges within existing hospital infrastructures is game-changing, resulting in a significant rise of healthcare professionals while expanding and enhancing healthcare accessibility across the country.
A notable step was taken towards cervical cancer awareness, encouraging vaccination for young girls, further augmenting our efforts in enhancing the cancer care continuum, and closing the care gap, thereby creating a future without fear of cancer. Extending healthcare coverage under Ayushman Bharat is an inclusive strategy that ensures quality healthcare for everyone, everywhere.
The budget also embraces new technology and promotes digital transformation, setting the path for economic potential and cost-effective, high-quality healthcare services across India. Fostering growth in the MedTech sector while emphasizing on achieving its vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. Overall, this budget aims to empower the healthcare sector for a healthier, stronger India.
Ankit Shah, Group CFO, Omni Hospitals
In the light of the recent interim budget, we acknowledge and appreciate the government’s dedication to the healthcare sector and accordingly the recent announcements with respect to Healthcare facilities under Ayushman Bharat extension to all Aasha workers, Aanganwadi workers, Government plans to set up hospitals in all districts and Vaccination of 9-14-year-old girls for cervical cancer. We also recommend that the MSME provision u/s 43B (h) of Direct Tax exemption for the Hospital Sector is looked into in the next session of the Budget, post National election. We commend the efforts to ensure that these reforms align with the goal of maintaining the affordability and accessibility of healthcare services. The efforts to align these reforms with overarching goals signify a strategic move towards enhancing the overall health infrastructure and addressing the needs of the population.