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Budget 2018 Expectations – Dr Minnie Bodhanwala, CEO, Wadia Hospitals

The total healthcare spending of India is one of the lowest in the world and lagging behind the GDP growth, India spends only 3.4% of the total spending as compared to the budgets of other nations like USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia etc. who spend more then 17%. The basic expectation from this budget will be to see an increased spending on the healthcare sector, in order to make available the basic healthcare infrastructure and affordable healthcare for all. There is a huge unmet need for healthcare infrastructure and professionals in the nation that needs to be addressed by providing right quality healthcare with trained professionals to improve the Healthcare indicators. The trends in diseases are changing as well, more and more deaths in India are happening because of non-communicable or lifestyle associated Diseases, provisions and policies to spread awareness on the importance of prevention and how to mitigate these diseases should be considered.

Where most of the renowned Doctors in various other countries are of Indian Origin, India is not considered to be a leading hub for Healthcare, efforts need to be focused in making India a Hub of excellence for Healthcare services by increasing spending on technology and Infrastructure. Increase in tax incentives for research in Healthcare could help achieve the same and further support the made in India Initiative of Government of India as well.

Initiatives to encourage improvement of healthcare availability in under-served areas would also help bridge the rural-urban disparity. The government can look into providing more incentives to individuals and organizations that strive hard to improve rural health.

Tax incentives should be given for setting up new hospitals. Incentives for domestic manufacturing of medical devices and consumables should also be considered in the budget this year. The progress on improving the condition of women and children is really slow, the under 5 mortality and maternal mortality rates are still on higher side, increased spending’s on nutrition, drinking water coverage, sanitation, female secondary school enrolment should be undertaken.

Incentives for emerging sectors like Health insurance and Medical tourism can benefit the industry; also the government should focus on an affordable health for all policy by providing a social insurance scheme benefiting every individual of our nation.

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