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2024 Budget Reactions

Dr Devavrat Arya, Senior Director, Medical Oncologist, Max Hospital, Saket

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman in her interim budget 2024-25, has emphasised the need for vaccinating girls in the age group of 9 to 14 years with HPV Vaccination to protect them from Cervical Cancer. It is good to see the increasing concern of the government in addressing in growing menace. This age range is perfectly suitable because it offers the best protection before girls become sexually active, when they are most susceptible to HPV infection. I believe the awareness about safety of HPV Vaccine is much needed to be spread and by this initiative of government, people will get more aware and will timely get the vaccines without having a second thought whether the vaccine is safe or not. Looking forward for more such initiatives by government to treat other kinds of cancer as well.

 

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Sigal Atzmon, CEO & Founder, Medix Global

Having worked across diverse healthcare systems, I can see that India is taking important steps towards building the next phase of its healthcare eco-system with a shift towards more affordable, data driven and accessible care. While there are still gaps in certain areas, the Union Budget’s dedicated focus on consolidating maternal and child health schemes reflects a wise approach to streamlining care delivery. Additionally, the announcement encouraging vaccination for girls to prevent cervical cancer is a proactive step towards prioritising preventive healthcare for women. Medix Global remains dedicated to collaborative efforts for a future defined by personalised care, inclusivity, and prevention, and we are confident that these initiatives will have a positive impact on healthcare delivery.


 

Raj Gore, CEO, Healthcare Global Enterprises

I appreciate the government’s push for a comprehensive health development for women in this budget. The emphasis on promoting cervical cancer vaccination for girls aged 9-14 is a pivotal step towards raising awareness and taking preventive measures to reduce cervical cancer burden in India. The budget announced other initiatives such as comprehensive programs for maternal and child healthcare schemes, mission to eliminate sickle cell anaemia by 2047, and setting up more medical colleges by utilising existing hospitals. These steps will help in improving overall national health indicators in future. It is also important to recognise the significance of universal healthcare in ensuring equitable access to quality healthcare services for all citizens. However, I strongly recommend an increased allocation to the healthcare sector in the upcoming post-election budget.

 

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Dr Sudhir Srivastava, Founder, Chairman & CEO, SS Innovations

As may be expected from an interim budget, it was brief and focused on the most crucial facets of the economy, including youth, women, the economically weaker groups, and farmers. The healthcare industry received the attention it deserved in order to continue the efforts initiated in the previous budget, that placed a strong emphasis on advancing research and development in the healthcare industry, and funds were set aside to establish nearly 157 new medical schools and universities.

As proposed in the current budget the government’s move to establish committees, can determine the precise needs of different departments and introduce new ideas into the hospitals’ current infrastructure. They can assess the current hospital medical infrastructure in comparison to emerging and futuristic technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence, and remote medical services that can be introduced for the benefit of patients and to enable medical students to learn new technologies. It must be noted that quality of treatment at hospitals is not merely dependent on the infrastructure but on the well qualified, futuristic doctors and workforce as well.

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Dr BS Ajaikumar, Executive Chairman, Healthcare Global Enterprises

I am sorry to say I am thoroughly disappointed with the interim budget. To its credit, the government certainly means good by announcing its plan to set up medical colleges by utilising existing medical infrastructure or extending the benefits of Ayushman Bharat to ASHA and Anganwadi workers. The cervical cancer vaccination for girls aged nine to 14 years is certainly a prudent and proactive measure. Having said that, I don’t see any plan of a larger scale and scope that can address the multifarious healthcare needs on an immediate basis. Talking of schemes like Ayushman Bharat, there is an acute need to improve and upgrade the quality of subsidised treatments, but there has been no announcement to this effect.

Like every year, we hoped the government would allocate a significantly higher percentage of GDP allocation, but again there has been nothing to cheer about on this front. We hope the next budget will take firm steps towards adopting an effective universal healthcare model in the form of unlimited pay-outs and make use of the latest developments and advancements like targeted therapies even at the grassroots.

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Dr Prem Nair, Group Medical Director, Amrita Hospital

When we macro analyse the last few budgets, we find that allocations for healthcare have marginally increased from 1.6 per cent GDP in 2021 to 2.1 per cent in 2023. Around 65 per cent of our population still access the private healthcare sector for various services. With total expenditure on health increased from Rs 79,221 crore in 2023-24 to Rs 90,171 crore in 2024-25, this interim budget seems to be encouraging since allocation under several projects has increased significantly. This will help in infrastructure development and make quality healthcare a little more accessible for our public. 

 

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Sachidanand Upadhyay, MD, Lord’s Mark Industries

We’re optimistic about the government’s forward-thinking healthcare initiatives announced in the budget. The proactive emphasis on preventive measures and the extension of health coverage to frontline workers underscores a genuine commitment to community well-being. This holistic approach is exemplified by the streamlined maternal and child healthcare programmes, showcasing a dedication to impactful and inclusive health services.

The proposal to enhance medical education infrastructure reflects a forward-thinking strategy to address healthcare workforce challenges. We commend the accelerated efforts to improve nutrition and early childhood care through the upgrade of Anganwadi centres, aligning seamlessly with our holistic well-being mission. The introduction of advanced platforms for immunisation management and the intensification of vaccination programs signals a commitment to leveraging technology for widespread healthcare impact, and, we eagerly look forward to actively contributing to these progressive initiatives.

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Dr Vivek Desai, Founder and MD, HOSMAC

The government’s efforts to improve India’s healthcare are clearly expressed in the interim budget outlay for FY 2024-25. The overall healthcare budget has increased from Rs 80,518 crore in FY 2023-24 to Rs 90,659 crore in this financial year, which is a hike of more than 11 per cent. 

Extending Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY coverage to include our large army of frontline healthcare staff i.e. ~10 lakh ASHA workers and ~25 lakh Anganwadi workers is a much-deserved step and will aid as an incentive as well. 

To address the dearth of doctors in India, the government has thoughtfully planned to set up medical colleges by utilising the existing hospital infrastructure. Another component that sees a prominent hike is that of Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM ABHIM), from Rs 200 crore in FY 2023-23 to Rs 468 crore in 2024-25. PM ABHIM focuses on developing capacities of health systems and institutions across the continuum of care with the aim on building resilience. 

Allocation towards the National Health Mission (NHM) has marginally increased from Rs 31,551 crore to Rs 31,967 crore. Synergising various schemes of maternal and child care into one comprehensive programme promises a more efficient implementation system. Furthermore, schemes such as Poshan 2.0 will help improve nutrition delivery, early childhood care, and development. 

With the introduction of cervical cancer vaccination for women aged 9-14 years, preventive health looks high on the government’s agenda. Leveraging digital technology with the introduction of the U-Win platform to document immunisation coverage is another sign of this commitment. 

Another encouraging announcement is that of establishing a corpus of Rs 1,00,000 crore with a 50-year interest-free loan, which will certainly push the private sector and health-tech start-ups to scale up research and innovation. 

Healthcare infrastructure will also see indirect benefits from Gati Shakti that enable multi-modal connectivity, by improving supply chain management and reducing overall costs. 

All in all, the interim budget FY 2024-25 for healthcare seems like a holistic, inclusive and forward-looking one.

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Anish Bafna, CEO & MD, Healthium Medtech

 The increased impetus on maternal and childcare schemes will boost overall public health. Furthermore, tailored initiatives like Poshan 2.0 and increased penetration under the Ayushman Bharat scheme will go a long way to improve and aid nutrition delivery, early childhood care and development in rural last-mile communities. However, pragmatic guidelines are still required to prioritise the adoption of the latest technologies for better clinical outcomes and improving patient centricity.

 

 

 

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Hariharan Subramanian, MD, Siemens Healthcare

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 emphasises 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 emphasising achieving its vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. 

Overall, this budget aims to empower the healthcare sector for a healthier, stronger India.

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Harish Trivedi, CEO, CTSI – South Asia

At the outset, let me congratulate the FM and the government for announcing and committing itself to the cause of cancer by vaccinating all girls aged nine to 14 years against cervical cancer. It’s a step in the right direction to reduce the cancer disease burden and loss of life. For all women aged between nine to 14 years if vaccinated effectively the disease can be eliminated within one generation. I am happy to see the GoI announcing using existing infra for new medical colleges, which helps in better capacity utilisation of the healthcare infra but at the same time solves accessibility and availability issues for the large underserved population of the country. I would sum it up as a good beginning despite it being an interim budget only.

 

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Joy Chakraborty, COO, PD Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre

We commend this year’s budget for its strategic vision, paving the way for India to achieve universal health coverage. The Finance Minister’s proactive measures to address longstanding gaps in the healthcare ecosystem, especially concerning women’s health, are commendable.

Notably, the budget expedites the enhancement of Anganwadi centres, emphasising improved nutrition and comprehensive child development through initiatives such as ‘Saksham Anganwadi’ and Poshan 2.0. Furthermore, the initiative to prevent cervical cancer through vaccination for girls aged 9-14 stands out as a significant step, enhancing the well-being of the female population and encouraging collaboration with private healthcare providers. The interim budget’s consolidation of maternal and child health schemes and the nationwide launch of the UWin platform signals a holistic, technologically enhanced approach. The imminent release of an application by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare holds promise for a more efficient vaccination programme.

The government’s substantial commitment to Research and Development (R&D) with a Rs 1 lakh crore corpus and a 50-year interest-free loan reflects a forward-looking approach, aligning with our commitment to medical innovation. This corpus, providing long-term financing with extended tenors and low/nil interest rates, will encourage the private players in the healthcare sector to significantly scale up research and innovation, especially in the start-up domain.

While applauding the holistic vision manifested in the Union Budget, it’s crucial to acknowledge the need for a more substantial budgetary allocation. The healthcare sector requires additional resources, aiming for 2.5 – 3.5 per cent of GDP to move closer to universal health coverage. Navigating the current healthcare challenges that our country faces requires synergy between government initiatives and the healthcare industry’s resilience towards delivering quality healthcare to all. We look forward to working with stakeholders in implementing the suggested campaigns and enhancing India’s healthcare equity.

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Gautam Khanna, CEO, PD Hinduja Hospital and President Association of Hospitals, Mumbai

The Interim Budget 2024–25, with an allocation of Rs 90,171 crore for health, aims to improve access to healthcare services and infrastructure in India. The government’s announcement to establish more medical colleges by utilising existing hospital infrastructure will address manpower shortages while also increasing access to healthcare education. Implementation will be critical here and the financial and logistics issues which some of the private sector hospitals may face need to be looked into. More colleges will require more teachers, which needs to be managed and also set up robust processes to ensure education quality. We look forward to working with the committee to form recommendations and guidelines for the implementation of this plan. 

However, the budget also has not addressed the issue of nursing shortage and migration of nurses from India. We also await action on our demands on tax enhancement for skill enhancement initiatives and DNB programmes undertaken by private hospitals.

Encouraging preventive cervical cancer vaccination for young girls aged 9 to 14 is a positive step toward reducing cases of the third most common cancer in India. This move will also help to renew the focus on preventive healthcare in India, but its success will be dependent on effective implementation.

The announcement of extending health coverage under the Ayushman Bharat scheme to all ASHA and Anganwadi have been better if more families were covered under the scheme to achieve universal health coverage.

Bringing maternal and child healthcare schemes under one umbrella and upgrading anganwadi centres will result in efficient resource allocation and improve outcomes in maternal and child healthcare.

Allocating a substantial corpus, accompanied by a 50-year interest-free loan for private sector research and development, positions India as a global healthcare innovation leader. Offering attractive interest rates incentivizes the private sector to contribute meaningfully.

We look forward to the budget’s key announcements being implemented, as well as an increase in health expenditure as a percentage of GDP. 

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Shweta Rai, Bayer Pharma Managing Director of Bayer Zydus Pharma Private Limited and Country Division Head for Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Business in South Asia

The interim Budget 2024 has some notable announcements highlighting the government’s aim to prioritise women’s health in the country, which is commendable. We welcome the move to improve the rate of HPV vaccination in the country and integrate schemes for maternal health and childcare under one umbrella will help to streamline the implementation of both schemes and improve the impact on women’s and children’s health. We look forward to more announcements and opportunities in the upcoming Union Budget that would prioritise women’s health along with research and innovation to improve the pharma landscape in the country.

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Sandeep Verma, Country Head, Bayer Consumer Health Division, India

It is encouraging to see that the interim budget has taken into account nutrition delivery to the last mile. It sets the stage for creating a strong healthcare model for the country and signals that we are thinking ahead. The increased allocations for PMABHIM, Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY and the continued thrust on digitisation reflects the Government’s strong commitment to improving India’s public health infrastructure. We look forward to more allocations in the upcoming Union Budget 2024 to promote responsible self-care practices and further strengthen the primary care infrastructure in India that increases access to healthcare for all.

 

 

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Sanjay Vyas, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Parexel India

There were some significant announcements for different sectors in this interim budget. Though there were no major announcements for the clinical trials or the pharmaceuticals sector, initiatives to set up more medical colleges by utilising the existing hospital infrastructure are highly commendable. This would attract more industry-academia partnerships for clinical research organisations and facilitate a larger research pool. It will also facilitate closer collaboration between clinicians and researchers, and establish a more affordable infrastructure. Additionally, the emphasis on innovation and technological advancements will be highly beneficial for innovation in the healthcare sector at large. We hope that in the next budget after the elections, the government will increase public healthcare spending to 2.5 per cent of GDP.

 

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Behram Khodaiji- CEO, Ruby Hall Clinic.

The decision to encourage HPV vaccines for girls between nine to 14 years in the budget is a critical step in promoting the health and well-being of young girls in our community and treating the curable cancer. By making these vaccines more accessible, we are taking a proactive approach to preventing HPV-related health issues in the future. This decision not only benefits the individuals receiving the vaccine but also serves to protect the broader population from the spread of HPV. Investing in the health of our young girls is an investment in the future of our society, as the budget focuses on poor, women and youth who are the pillars of our country.

 

 

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Dr Jaideep Menon, Professor, Adult cardiology and Public health Amrita Hospital, Kochi

The budget unveiled by the finance minister today is promising and forward-looking. The 2024 interim budget places a significant focus on health, specifically addressing the prevention of cervical cancer in girls aged nine to 14 years. The positive step of consolidating maternal and child healthcare programmes for better coordination involves bringing various schemes under one comprehensive programme to enhance synergy in implementation. The swift rollout of the ‘U-Win’ platform and the intensified Mission Indradhanush showcase a strong commitment to improving immunisation. Overall, the budget aims to pave the way for a healthier future, with a particular emphasis on the well-being of women.

 

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Dr Gayatri Kamineni, COO, Kamineni Hospitals

We appreciate the government’s decision to extend healthcare benefits to ASHA and Anganwadi workers under the Ayushman Bharat scheme. This expansion will extend healthcare services not only to frontline healthcare workers but also to underprivileged communities. 

The initiative to establish additional medical colleges using existing infrastructure will address the shortage of healthcare professionals, promising better healthcare delivery and patient outcomes. 

Furthermore, vaccinating girls aged nine-14 years against cervical cancer is commendable, prioritising prevention over prevention to improve public health. 

However, we are disappointed with the absence of GST reductions on essential medicines and tax concessions on generic pharmaceuticals in the budget. Affordable healthcare is vital, and these measures reduce the burden on patients while encouraging innovation. 

We urge the government to rethink these aspects to ensure equitable access to essential medicines. 

Overall, these budget initiatives underline the government’s commitment to healthcare. We look forward to collaborating to ensure their successful implementation to benefit all citizens.

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Dr Vijayabhaskaran, Executive Director, Kauvery Hospital, Bengaluru & Hosur

The Indian Government’s 2024 interim union budget for the healthcare sector underscores a multi-faceted approach towards enhancing healthcare education, broadening coverage, and emphasising preventive measures. The initiative to establish more medical colleges by leveraging existing hospital infrastructures aligns with global best practices, similar to the integration seen in teaching hospitals in the US, where clinical settings offer robust training grounds for medical students. This model fosters a blend of academic knowledge and practical experience, crucial for producing well-rounded healthcare professionals.

But to effectively manage the primary healthcare needs and address the shortage at the speciality level, it’s essential to consider strategies beyond just increasing the number of medical colleges. For instance, India faces a nearly 80 per cent shortage of surgeons, physicians, gynaecologists, and paediatricians in rural community health centres. Specialist doctors often prefer urban settings or overseas opportunities due to better infrastructure, resources, and professional growth prospects.

The govt should explore adopting some of these strategies to address this imbalance;

1. Incentivizing Rural Service: Offering financial incentives, housing, and opportunities for professional development for doctors serving in rural and underserved areas could help attract more specialists to these regions.

2. Enhanced Telemedicine Services: Leveraging telemedicine can help bridge the gap in specialist care in remote areas. This could involve setting up tele-consultation services that connect specialists in urban centres with patients in rural areas and can also help create younger entrepreneurs in tier-II and rural areas.

3. Focused Training Programmes: Developing training programmes specifically designed for rural healthcare needs could help prepare specialists willing to work in these settings. This might include training in a broader range of skills to manage a variety of conditions in resource-limited settings.

4. Public-Private Partnerships: Encouraging partnerships between the government and private sector can lead to the development of healthcare infrastructure in underserved areas, making them more attractive places for specialists to work.

5. Regulatory Reforms: Simplifying the process for medical professionals trained abroad to practice in India could help alleviate the shortage of specialists.

Ayushman Bharat Expansion: The expansion of Ayushman Bharat to include all ASHA workers, Anganwadi Workers, and Helpers under its healthcare cover is a commendable move towards ensuring a healthier workforce at the grassroots level of healthcare delivery. Ayushman Bharat has already made significant strides by operationalising over 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) across India, providing comprehensive primary healthcare services. This initiative has seen remarkable progress, with millions benefiting from screenings for non-communicable diseases and teleconsultations. With a proven and well-established system, Ayushman Bharat can further strengthen its primary healthcare framework, ensuring early detection and management of diseases at the community level.

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Dr Kshitiz Murdia – CEO & Co-Founder, Indira IVF

The Interim Budget 2024-25 has touched upon an important segment of the Indian population in the healthcare outlay – the mother and child. The move to expedite the action through Saksham Aganwadi for the benefit of mother and child is an imperative step to improve the health parameters of the rural population. 

The Finance Minister has also outlined prudent backward integrations and forward progression to support this. The establishment of medical colleges in existing hospitals will work towards adding more medical talent in the country, and bridge the gap of doctor-to-patient ratio. A natural progression to childbirth is the availability of proper nutrition for development and immunisation. These have been effectively addressed by advancing Poshan 2.0 programme and the U-WIN platform. 

One of the applauding factors was establishing a 1 lakh crore corpus for loans over fifty years which would be interest-free. This will encourage innovation and research in the area of medical treatment as well, inciting better clinical outcomes, increasing treatment possibilities in India, and encouraging medical tourism.

 

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Sanjiv Navangul, MD & CEO, Bharat Serums and Vaccines

We are encouraged by the recent budget announcement that lays emphasis and much-deserved attention on women’s health. With all maternal and child healthcare schemes under one comprehensive programme, the collective vision of Healthy Women, Healthy Pregnancies and Healthy Future is turning into reality. Added to this, HPV vaccinations for girls in the nine-14 age group for the prevention of cervical cancer, immunisations of children, and schemes such as Poshan 2.0 will help improve nutrition delivery, early childhood care, and development. 

The government’s efforts to build capabilities and domestic capacities will augment the existing healthcare infrastructure and will ensure that healthcare reaches every home in India. 

 

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Amol Naikawadi, Joint MD, Indus Health Plus

The 2024 Union budget combines optimism with cautious reflection for healthcare, showcasing a 13 per cent increase from the previous fiscal year. This rise suggests potential for addressing critical gaps in healthcare and infrastructure. With the setting up of new medical institutions, the budget underscores the importance of enhancing healthcare delivery systems and nurturing the next generation of healthcare professionals. The government’s proactive stance on preventive healthcare, particularly cervical cancer vaccination, aims to alleviate the disease burden. Recognising the pivotal role of frontline healthcare workers, the budget ensures their well-being through health coverage under the Ayushman Bharat scheme. While commendable initiatives like the ‘U-Win’ platform leverage technology for healthcare improvement, there’s a need for greater attention to rising lifestyle diseases and newer preventive technologies like genetic testing in the budget.

 

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Nabil Arrach, Founder, Progenesis

Nabil Arrach, Founder, Progenesis

We appreciate the notable emphasis on women and child healthcare in the budget unveiled today. The augmented allocations signify a pivotal and imperative role the government is set to bring in the healthcare sector for all. Our resonance with the budget’s trajectory stems from a shared understanding of the strong impact these allocations can have in shaping the healthcare landscape. The government’s commitment towards eradicating sickle cell anaemia, coupled with the introduction of impactful health schemes and initiatives combating cervical cancer, underscores a strategic and thoughtful approach. In the nuanced arena of IVF and genetics testing, where precision and innovation converge, we recognise the paramount importance of a holistic healthcare ecosystem. The visionary steps taken by the government align seamlessly with our dedication to advancing reproductive health and genetic well-being. The comprehensive nature of these initiatives reflects not only a commitment to addressing immediate health concerns but also a foresighted approach to cultivating a healthier future for generations to come. Such strategic investments resonate profoundly with our mission. In essence, we view the budgetary allocations as not just financial provisions but as a testament to the government’s recognition of the multifaceted aspects of healthcare. We applaud this forward-looking and impactful budget, anticipating transformative outcomes for the healthcare landscape and the lives it touches.

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Hitesh Sharma, Partner, Life Sciences Leader – Tax, EY India

Given the government’s perspective of keeping the interim budget an on-account vote, the Finance Minister did not dwell on any specifics, leaving the changes for the full budget post-elections. While she spoke of the past performance, as far as the Health Science Sector is concerned, there were some perspectives on things to come in future. 

There was a commitment to focus on setting up medical colleges in existing hospitals, focus on women’s healthcare with encouragement of cervical cancer vaccination for young girls, maternal and childcare-related schemes for improved nutrition delivery, early childhood care and development etc. The focus on research and innovation was given a further boost by announcing a one lakh crore corpus for providing interest-free loans for a long duration for research and innovation for the private sector. Also, the cover under Ayushman Bharat Scheme has been extended to cover ASHA workers, Anganwadi workers and helpers. 

Overall the budget continues the path for growth of healthcare and access in India.

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Dr Harshit Jain, Founder & Global CEO, Doceree

The FY 2024-25 interim budget 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.

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Viren Shetty, Executive Vice Chairman, Narayana Health

Recognising the need for providing Universal Health Care, the interim Union Budget 2024-25 extended the Ayushman Bharat scheme to cover nearly over three million ASHAs and Anganwadi workers. In a noteworthy move, the budget also unveiled a roadmap for addressing long-term capacity building by investing in healthcare infrastructure and converting existing hospitals into medical and nursing colleges. This will go a long way towards addressing the skill shortage in the healthcare industry and create millions of jobs. These initiatives align with our commitment to provide comprehensive health coverage across all our hospitals.” said 

 

 

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Sugandh Ahluwalia, Chief Strategy Officer, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi

The paramount importance lies in capacity building within the realm of public health. A robust focus, particularly through the creation of more medical colleges in the country, is crucial. Assessing the practicality of integrating various healthcare programs and ensuring seamless implementation underscores the critical need for adequate resources. While acknowledging the positive aspects of the government’s initiatives, a cautious approach is urged to avoid disruptions in ongoing healthcare efforts. Integrating several schemes into one flagship program may create a gap in delivery systems. From a strategic perspective, the creation of additional medical colleges emerges as a key component in enhancing the overall capacity of the healthcare system, aligning with a future-oriented vision for a strengthened and resilient health infrastructure.

Import duties on medical equipment have become a significant pain point for hospitals seeking state-of-the-art technology. With a substantial increase in import duties in the last three years, the sector has witnessed a substantial rise in the cost of medical equipment imports. The government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative is commendable, but big hospitals must maintain global competitiveness.

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Prashant Arer, India Head, Enbio Group

Union Budget has given a boost to research and innovations with a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore for long-term financing and refinancing. This is a welcome step. However, the government has not touched import duties in the interim provisions, we can expect this in the full budget by the next government. The tax rationalisation would be necessary to gear up for an aspirational $50 billion MedTech economy. The heavy import duties on medical equipment affect operational costs. The Med Tech industry was expecting a reduction of import duties, creating a win-win situation for both manufacturers and large hospitals. 

 

 

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Dr Jagprag Singh Gujral, SVP MDO/ Head of Emerging Markets, Varian (a Siemens Healthineers Company) and 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 the extension of the Ayushman Bharat scheme are welcome positives for the growing middle-class youth and the healthcare industry. The interim budget from a healthcare announcements perspective is in line with the optimism in India’s growth story.

 

 

 

 

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Dr Azad Moopen, Founder & Chairman, Aster DM Healthcare

It is heartening to see that the Interim Union Budget focuses on the upliftment of the masses through a specific focus on the poor, farmers, youth and women. The allocation of Rs. 1-lakh crore with 50-year interest-free loans will encourage the start-up culture that India is now thriving upon, encouraging the youth of today to become entrepreneurs and focus on their growth as well growth of the nation. 

In healthcare we were hoping to see an increase in the GDP allocation of a minimum of 5 per cent for the sector, hopefully, this will be addressed in the complete Budget to be announced in July this year, under the new government. We are glad that the government is considering adding more hospitals in all districts in the country, which is essential to meet the rising demand. We would recommend focusing on public-private partnerships (PPP) to address this. With all maternal and child healthcare to be brought under one- scheme, this will be essential. 

It is promising to hear that the government plans to open more medical colleges alongside existing hospital infrastructure. There is now an urgent need for comprehensive reform of medical education, to ensure that the medical professionals of tomorrow are trained in the latest medicine and techniques, like their Western counterparts.  

The strong impetus for immunisation of children under Mission Indradhanush and young girls for cervical cancer will go a long way in strengthening preventive care measures in the country and reducing the burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases.  

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Jasdeep Singh, Group CEO, CARE Hospitals Group

The 2024 Union Budget places a pivotal emphasis on enhancing healthcare services, particularly in tier II cities and rural areas. Aligned with the overarching theme of women’s empowerment, the budget addresses the healthcare sector comprehensively. A noteworthy initiative is the improvement and fortification of the rural healthcare system, a move that stands to benefit women and children significantly. The extension of the Ayushman Bharat Yojana to include all ASHA and Anganwadi workers ensures that healthcare becomes accessible and affordable for all. 

Cervical cancer, a prevalent health concern, is addressed through the introduction of vaccination for girls aged 9-14, a pivotal step in preventing the disease and raising awareness. The consolidation of maternal and child healthcare schemes into a comprehensive programme aims to empower vulnerable groups, especially women and children. The government’s commitment to setting up more medical colleges and utilising existing hospital infrastructure reflects a strategic approach to strengthening the healthcare system. 

The ‘U-Win’ platform for managing immunization, along with the intensification of Mission Indradhanush, will be rapidly implemented across the country. The government’s multifaceted approach in this budget underscores a dedication to quality healthcare, particularly in tier II cities and rural regions. We are glad that we are aligned with the government’s plans as we will continue to focus on tier II cities and rural areas to cater to quality healthcare efficiently.

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Dr Monica Gulati, Executive Dean, LPU, Faculty for Applied Medical Sciences

Investing in the health and well-being of our nation’s future, the recent announcement to encourage Cervical Cancer Vaccination for girls (nine-14 years) is a pivotal step towards safeguarding the health of our young generation. The expedited implementation of Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 not only ensures improved nutrition delivery but also prioritizes early childhood care and development. The introduction of the U-WIN platform for Mission Indradhanush signifies a strategic move to enhance immunization efforts, ensuring a healthier and more resilient population. Furthermore, the extension of health coverage under the Ayushman Bharat scheme to all ASHA, Anganwadi workers, and helpers showcases a commendable commitment to the well-being of those tirelessly serving our communities. This holistic approach to healthcare reflects a visionary initiative for a healthier and prosperous nation.

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Pavan Choudary, Chairman, Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI) & Managing Director, of Vygon India

The schemes for maternal and child care which are currently in place are disparate and sometimes deficient. Bringing them under one common, standardised platform would help deliver optimal and comprehensive care throughout India. While the customs duty has not gone down which was our expectation, and remains at the same level, this itself will take FDI in MedTech to a never-before high this financial year. However, if the government had reduced the customs duties, the FDI in MedTech could have taken a meteoric trajectory. 

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Sanjay Bhutani, Board Member, MTaI & Managing Director, Bausch & Lomb

With schemes like cervical cancer vaccination for younger girls and covering Anganwadi and Asha workers under Ayushman Bharat, this budget emphasised healthcare, especially for women, adolescents, and children. Also, the plan to increase the number of medical colleges using the existing infrastructure will surely enhance the healthcare facilities in Tier II and Tier III cities. However, we feel if customs duty on medical devices were reduced, India would further its journey to become the global hub for medical tourism. Also, we were expecting the Direct taxes and personal income taxes to go down which would have attracted more FDI and put more money in the hands of consumers, respectively. 

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DS Negi, CEO, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute & Research Centre (RGCIRC)

We welcome the interim budget announcement about the health sector. Initiatives like the establishment of a committee to create additional medical colleges by leveraging existing hospital infrastructure under various departments, promoting vaccination of girls aged nine-14 to prevent cervical cancer, and expanding the Ayushman Bharat scheme to all ASHA workers, Anganwadi Workers, and Helpers are steps in the right direction. These measures will certainly put together will help address key issues of shortage of health workers, increase access to quality healthcare, and prevention of life-threatening diseases. However, we hope the government will prioritise other pressing issues in the healthcare sector and provide budgetary incentives in the upcoming full budget.

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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. 

Furthermore, the inclusion of cervical cancer prevention through vaccination for young girls is commendable.

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Tejinder Pal Singh, Founder Director & Senior Partner – Pharma, Healthcare & Life Sciences, TRANSEARCH India

 

We welcome the Budget 2024-25 as a balanced, consistent and pro-development budget with a focus on capex, infrastructure development, public health and making India a knowledge economy. This year’s budget has paved the way for India to achieve universal health coverage. We appreciate the various initiatives announced by the Honourable Finance Minister to address longstanding gaps in the Indian healthcare ecosystem. The focus on public health programmes and health insurance coverage is commendable. Furthermore, the stability and continuity of healthcare policies will further encourage the momentum of a strategic shift, positioning India as a high-value player in the global pharmaceutical market.

We believe that the budget, along with continuity in conducive policies and regulatory reforms, will facilitate research and development, fostering a culture of innovation, and promoting advanced manufacturing in the pharmaceutical and MedTech sectors. This will strengthen our global reach and influence to address unmet health needs and reduce the high disease burden. 

The incentives for investment and value creation bode well for our country’s aspiration to emerge as a globally competitive centre of scientific excellence and knowledge, with a keen focus on delivering quality healthcare. With increased investment, the budget is poised to enhance employment opportunities and spur a rising demand, especially for skilled leadership in the scientific sector.

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Dr K Anand Kumar, MD, Indian Immunologicals

I commend the initiatives outlined in the Interim Budget 2024, particularly those addressing women and children’s health. These measures signify a concerted effort to strengthen India’s healthcare system by prioritising preventive care, expanding access to essential services, and leveraging innovation for better health outcomes.

The decision to provide and actively encourage cervical cancer vaccines for 9–14-year-olds reflects a proactive approach to preventing a significant health burden among young girls. Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women globally, with millions of cases reported annually. Investing in this preventive measure is poised to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer and its associated morbidity and mortality rates in the future.

The budget has also allocated Rs 1 lakh crore towards establishing a corpus, offering a 50-year interest-free loan to scale up research and innovation significantly in sunrise industries. This allocation presents a promising advancement within the vaccine industry. It allows for the integration of new-age technologies in vaccine development processes, especially for mRNA and Adenoviral vector vaccines.

Furthermore, the rollout of the YouWIN platform for immunization underscores the government’s commitment to streamline vaccination efforts and improving coverage rates across the country. There is a hope that this budget is prioritizing areas such as preventive healthcare, and wide-reaching immunisation efforts.


 

 

Dr Charit Bhograj, CEO and Founder, Tricog Health

Dr Charit Bhograj, CEO and Founder, Tricog Health

Interim Budget 2024 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman promises a boost for healthcare in India. The proposed measures include broadening health insurance coverage, reinforcing immunization efforts, investing in maternal and child health, and prioritising rural healthcare. These initiatives will enhance medical service accessibility in vulnerable regions. The budget reflects a commitment to inclusivity, accessibility, and establishing a robust healthcare foundation for all citizens, signalling a significant move toward strengthening the healthcare infrastructure in the country.

     

 

 

  


 Dheer Shah, CFO, BDR Pharmaceuticals

In the evolving landscape of healthcare, where innovation intersects with compassion, the government’s initiatives mark a pivotal stride towards holistic well-being. As the curtains rise on FY2023-24, the commitment to allocate Rs 45,03,097 crore reflects a resolute dedication to fortify our healthcare infrastructure. The emphasis on cervical cancer vaccination for young girls underscores a proactive approach towards preventive care, while extending Ayushman Bharat coverage to ASHA and Anganwadi workers exemplifies a recognition of their invaluable contribution to public health.

Consolidating maternal and child healthcare schemes echoes a harmonised vision for streamlined implementation and amplified impact. Simultaneously, the impetus on bio-manufacturing and bio-foundry heralds a sustainable paradigm shift, where innovation converges with environmental stewardship.

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Partner – Herbochem (Healthcare)

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 catalyse 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 incentivise the pharma and Nutra industry to explore eco-friendly practices and contribute to a healthier, more sustainable future.

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Deepak NG, Managing Director, Dassault Systemes India

We welcome the initiative of setting up more medical colleges by utilising the existing hospital infrastructure in India, as we believe that it will boost the Life Sciences and medical sector in the long-term. The focus on cervical cancer vaccination, Mission Indradhanush and upgradation of anganwadi centres, is a positive step towards ensuring a healthier and more sustainable future for everyone. We are excited to see the government’s continued support for the sector and look forward to collaborating with them to drive innovation and create a more resilient Life Sciences ecosystem.

 

 


 

Rajiv Nath, Forum Coordinator, Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMeD)

The government’s focus on ‘Nation First’, accelerated infrastructure development, research and development, skill development, sustainability, digitalisation, innovation, low-interest rate financing for research and development in the pharma and tech sector, and youth and women empowerment is commendable. The announcements regarding the establishment of medical colleges and the expansion of preventive vaccination and Ayushman Bharat to ASHA and Aganwadi workers is a welcome move.

The domestic medical technology industry may benefit from the budget’s focus on green growth, youth and women empowerment, and farmer centricity, which are aligned with Vision 2047, and the principle of reform, perform, and transform will ensure that India has a modular economic structure for all sections of business and society during the Kartavya Kal, enabling India to address global challenges and sustain development. We do hope to see in the fine print action on the assurances from various government departments to implement the National Medical Devices Policy 2023 and make it attractive and profitable to make in India rather than import into India.

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Dr Narendra Vankar, Founder and CEO, Quantum CorpHealth

This fiscal year’s interim budget, which covers a wide range of areas and lays out specific actions to be carried out, is a demonstration of the government’s progressive thinking. We applaud the government’s dedication to bolstering the healthcare industry, with a particular emphasis on building a strong system for today’s contemporary India. It is appreciated that girls between the ages of 9 and 14 will now receive cervical cancer vaccinations in schools. By focusing on nutrition delivery as a component of early childhood care and development, Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 will contribute to the creation of a healthy community. With the kind of components being combined to make health the most reliable foundation of Atmanirbhar Bharat, the Indian government is providing strong assistance to the healthcare industry. We anticipate some more encouraging announcements with the planned outline in the coming months, which will help the industry grow even more and thrive in a more improved manner.

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Dr Prathamesh Pai, Director and H&N Surgeon, Punyashlok Ahilyadevi Holkar Head & Neck Cancer Institute of India

Vaccination for the prevention of cervical cancer is a welcome move, given it’s the second most prevalent cancer affecting women in India. Right steps in this direction can help eliminate the risk of this cancer and reduce incidences as well as fatality. The increase in focus on public healthcare by providing insurance schemes, and maternal and child health programmes is the need of the hour. Better healthcare is inevitable for a country’s growth and will play a vital role in India’s journey of becoming a developed nation. Therefore, an increase in expenditure on healthcare should remain a continued focus of the government as an endeavour to increase the percentage of GDP spent on the sector.”

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Ravi Chandra, Co-Founder and CEO, Medpay

I welcome the government’s persistent focus on healthcare in Budget 2024, particularly the continued support for Ayushman Bharat. Expanding the insurance scheme aligns with our mission of making healthcare accessible to all. Allocating resources to primary healthcare not only boosts the economy but also contributes to our vision of a healthier, developed nation by 2047. These provisions empower pharmacies to enhance patient care, streamline operations, and contribute significantly to India’s health journey.

The Budget’s emphasis on entrepreneurial aspirations, with initiatives like PM Mudra Yojana and Startup India, aligns with our commitment to driving innovation in healthcare. The extended tax benefits for startups and tax-free investments for sovereign wealth funds present exciting opportunities for health tech ventures and the overall ecosystem. We look forward to leveraging these provisions to further our mission of transforming healthcare through technology.


 

Suresh Ramu, CEO and Co- founder, Cytecare Cancer Hospital

The announcement made in the Interim Budget 2024-25 to roll out cervical cancer vaccination for girls in the age group of 9 to 14 years is a commendable step in the right direction. However, it’s important to note that we should also educate that HPV vaccination is not only for girls but also recommended for boys aged 9-14 and even for those aged 15-25.

Similarly, the plan to set up more medical colleges by utilising the existing hospital infrastructure under various departments will help India bridge the current demand-supply gap in the healthcare space. We need robust healthcare infrastructure and skilled professionals to bring about a positive transformation. The continued emphasis on Ayushman Bharat is equally crucial for bringing a larger section of our population under health insurance coverage. Extending the benefits to ASHA and Anganwadi workers recognises their pivotal role as drivers of change.

 


 

Ayanabh Debgupta, Jt Managing Director, Medica Group of Hospitals

Government’s announcement of U-Win platform for streamlined immunisation is a remarkable step and this will
boost the immunization drive. The provision to set up more medical colleges is certainly the need of the hour to address the demand supply gap vis-a-vis doctor’s to patient ratio. However, the most crucial aspect is the cervical cancer vaccination for the girls aged between 9 to 14 years. This will give the cancer screening a huge impetus and will spread the much-needed awareness. Though we know this was an interim budget we were expecting government to bring down the customs duty on general & oncology medical equipment. To provide optimal  care at affordable rates, the recent increase in customs duty for general and oncology medical equipment. The customs duty for general equipment has risen from 14.57 per cent to 22 per cent, and for oncology equipment, it has increased  from 30.48 per cent to 36.64 per cent. We are hopeful that Government shall address this during the final budget for 2024- 25.


Prof Dr Raj Nagarkar, Managing Director, Chief of Surgical Oncology & Robotic services, HCG Manavata Cancer Centre & Hospitals

The Government’s decision in the interim budget to ensure that all girls aged 9 to 14 receive vaccination against the Human papillomavirus (HPV), thereby reducing the risk of cervical cancer, is a commendable step. The initiative is crucial in India, which currently holds the unfortunate distinction of having the highest number of cervical cancer patients worldwide. Creating awareness, educating the masses and ensuring that our daughters in the aforesaid age group receive the three doses of the vaccine for cervical cancer prevention are imperative. Furthermore, the announcement about the government’s intention to establish more medical colleges using existing healthcare infrastructure is noteworthy. As a doctor and professor with over two decades of experience, my earnest plea to the government is this – buildings alone do not make homes. Similarly, the creation of medical college infrastructure does not guarantee the production of competent graduates. India urgently requires not just more medical colleges but a focus on quality medical education. The critical shortage of qualified teachers in medical colleges needs immediate attention. Quality should take precedence over quantity in our pursuit of excellence in medical education.

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Rohit Mehta, Founder & Managing Director, ICPA Health Products

The interim budget was indicative of the government’s commitment to addressing critical issues in our healthcare landscape. With nearly two-thirds of India’s population residing in rural areas, we expected the FM to address the concern of access to medical services for this section of society. The increase in allocation for public healthcare to Rs 90,171 Cr in FY24-25, up from Rs79,221 Cr in FY23-24, is a positive step toward bridging the healthcare gap between rural and urban areas. The stark disparity in doctor-to-population ratios between rural and urban areas leaves the rural population significantly disadvantaged in healthcare access. Unfortunately, due to this, rural residents fail to receive medical facilities to the same extent as their urban counterparts. Thus, the Government’s initiative to set up more medical colleges and improve healthcare infrastructure is a welcome step. However, the absence of specialists like heart surgeons and neurosurgeons in most rural areas severely limits access to required medical care, and this concern should also be addressed. These measures will not only enhance healthcare accessibility in rural areas but also strengthen the overall healthcare ecosystem in our country. While these are positive steps, it is essential to ensure effective implementation and sustained efforts to transform these announcements into tangible improvements on the ground. We look forward to witnessing the positive impact of the budgetary allocations on the health and well-being of our fellow citizens.

 


Anil Matai, Director General, Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India

OPPI commends the government’s approach towards the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector in the Union Budget 2024. The emphasis on leveraging existing hospital infrastructure for establishing new medical colleges is a strategic move that aligns with the need for a robust healthcare workforce. Moreover, the initiative to encourage vaccination for girls aged 9-14 to prevent cervical cancer demonstrates a proactive stance on preventive healthcare. The extension of health coverage under the Ayushman Bharat scheme to ASHA and Anganwadi workers and helpers is a commendable step towards achieving the universal health coverage.

The allocation of a Rs 1 lakh crore corpus for long-term, interest-free loans will provide long-term financing or refinancing with long tenors and low or nil interest rates. This will encourage the private sector to scale up research and innovation significantly in sunrise domains. The pharma industry is ready to embrace this opportunity for growth and contribute to the nation’s health and well-being.

The swift rollout of the U-WIN platform for managing immunization and the intensified efforts of Mission Indradhanush will further give boost to India’s immunization targets.

OPPI is proud of the exponential growth in FDI inflow achieved by the government from 2014-23, and it truly underscores the confidence of global investors in India. OPPI and its members wholeheartedly support any balanced & equitable steps of the government which are in line with the ‘first develop India’ spirit.

While we appreciate the positive strides taken in the Union Budget 2024 towards the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector, we were also hoping that a nuanced approach to reduce duty/tax burdens on innovative & lifesaving drugs, addressing regulatory challenges and facilitating ease of doing business could have been outlined.

Overall, the Union Budget 2024 reflects a forward-looking approach, and the pharmaceutical sector looks forward to actively participating in and contributing to the realization of these transformative initiatives.

 


Dr MI Sahadulla, CMD, KIMSHEALTH

The budget aims to encourage vaccination for girls against cervical cancer, laying an important stepping stone for a future where cervical cancer becomes a preventable condition. Additionally, the extension of Ayushman Bharat coverage to all Anganwadi and ASHA workers, along with the consolidation of maternal and child healthcare schemes into a comprehensive program, demonstrates the budget’s commitment to inclusive healthcare. The setup of more medical colleges and the utilisation of existing hospital infrastructure will address the manpower shortage and further complement workforce development in the country. With a specific emphasis on preventive and inclusive healthcare, this interim budget provides a strong framework for the vision of Viksit Bharat. And we hope that the upcoming annual budget will also address mental healthcare, a growing concern in our country.

 


Pritika Singh, CEO, Prayag Hospitals Group

I applaud the forward-looking initiatives in the new budget. Extending the benefits of Ayushman Bharat to ASHA and Anganwadi workers demonstrates a commitment to comprehensive healthcare. The government’s focus on promoting vaccination for girls aged 9-14 to prevent cervical cancer is a crucial step towards a healthier future. The plan to establish more medical colleges further strengthens our healthcare infrastructure, ensuring a brighter and healthier tomorrow for all. These visionary measures underscore the collective responsibility towards building a resilient and inclusive healthcare ecosystem for the nation’s well-being.

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Naresh Ahuja, Founder, SMS Scientific Products

I commend the government’s visionary approach in the budget, foreseeing five years of unprecedented development. The emphasis on comprehensive ‘governance, development, performance’ reflects a commitment to progress. The budget’s focus on establishing more medical colleges is promising, anticipating a new generation of doctors who embody inclusivity and prioritize effective patient-doctor communication. This progressive budget sets the stage for transformative growth and a healthier, more connected future for our nation.

 

 

 


 

Abrarali Dalal, Director & CEO, Sahyadri Hospitals

This year’s Union Budget is a testament to government’s dedication to improving public health in the country. The focus on establishing more medical colleges will help in utilising existing hospital infrastructure and creating quality professionals in healthcare. To enable wider access of preventive care and health cover, there is increased focus on vaccination for cervical cancer and extending health cover under the Ayushman Bharat scheme to ASHA and Anganwadi workers.

The consolidation of maternal and child healthcare schemes into a comprehensive program, alongside the expedited upgradation of Anganwadi centers and the rollout of the U-Win platform, reflects a holistic approach towards ensuring the well-being of women and children. These measures, coupled with the intensified efforts of Mission Indradhanush, signify a progressive leap towards a healthier and more resilient India. Mission Indradhanush is a critical health mission of the Government of India, aimed at achieving more than 90% full immunisation coverage for children.

The mission’s goal complements the comprehensive healthcare approach outlined in Budget 2024, reflecting the government’s commitment to ensuring the well-being of all citizens through proactive healthcare measures.

The absence of specific allocations for AI in healthcare in this year’s budget, despite the previous focus on setting up a Center of Excellence in AI for health, overlooks the potential of AI in diagnostics and medical advancements.

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