Budget 2018News

Post Budget Quote 2018 – Nilaya Varma, Partner and Head, Government and Healthcare, KPMG India

“India has taken a long stride towards Universal Health Coverage as envisioned in the NHP 2017, by announcing the launch of a flagship National Health Protection Scheme (NHPC) initiative with nearly 50 crore beneficiaries which will provide up to Rs 5 lakh to a family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. We need to learn from experiences from other parts of the world – A robust technology, integrated ground level operations and governance system will ensure success of NHPS and avoid delays in its implementation.  Primary and wellness care is high on the government’s agenda. PPP, telemedicine and technology adoption will be key to enable for the proposed 1.5 lakh new health care centres for primary & wellness care. Free essential drugs and diagnosis will be instrumental in addressing growing non-communicable diseases”. “Leveraging PPP for creating the announcement of 24 New Medical Colleges is necessary for this to be successful”.

Government initiatives such as the National Fibre Grid, Digital India, proposal for 500+ new airports, promises to bring small cities into mainstream economic development agenda for the nation. This along with over 45000 km road network will help connect Bharat to India in true sense.

Total Health Protection Scheme as a precursor to UHC is very welcome. Scheme Design and creating the right Digital Health Infrastructure would be critical for this to be successful and avoid delay.

Leveraging PPP for creating the announcement of 24 New Medical Colleges is necessary for this to be successful.

In line with technology evolution, GoI recognition and proposal to integrate technologies such as blockchain, AI, cyber security into Governance, bodes well for the industry and Citizens. This will lead to more localized innovations for Indian requirement.

With an almost 50% allocation increase in Infrastructure sector, national priorities, such as Smart Cities, Affordable Housing, Metros, etc will get much needed impetus. However, institutional strengthening at State Level needed to ensure uptake. It will also drive industry participation. Sustainability is key and hence Investments must be safe guarded to ensure project selection are driven by economic and social merits.

NHPS rollout will need effective gatekeeping system with an immediate focus and strengthening of primary care services in the country. Gatekeeping systems will ensure equity by judicious referral system to secondary & tertiary care.

The Union Budget 2018-19 focusses on an integrated social reform agenda. Proposals on agriculture, gender, rural infrastructure, when implemented can help bridge the income and gender divides. While people can have views on the long-term implications of demonetisation, the 12.6 per cent increase in direct tax collection with 85 lakh new tax payers added, is a good sign and can help deepen the direct tax base.”

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