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Budget 2023: Health experts urge govt to focus on infra & tech

The healthcare sector is eagerly looking forward to the upcoming Union Budget 2023, as it is expected to reveal the government’s strategy for enhancing the overall healthcare system in the country. In recent years, the healthcare sector has been a priority for the government, with a steady increase in allocations in previous budgets. In the Union Budget 2022-23, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare received an allocation of approximately Rs 86,200 crore, representing a 16.5 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

What to expect from Budget 2023?
The Budget 2023 is expected to include increased government spending on healthcare infrastructure such as primary health centers, community health centers, and technology and equipment to improve healthcare services. Additionally, the government is likely to focus on enhancing the public healthcare system by increasing the number of healthcare professionals and improving their training and development.

“India has the potential to emerge as a global hub for dental tourism. It is ranked among the top few countries in the number of dental professionals, availability of technical support and quick turnaround time. There is a need for a focused approach from the government to grow the dental sector. Some announcements will help promote dental tourism to raise the standard for affordability and trust among overseas patients,” Sameer Merchant, CEO, Illusion Dental Labs & Illusion Aligners, said.

”There is a need for government intervention in pediatric dentistry with a separate budget for patient care. Primary education can help avoid various dental issues and systemic disorders like malnutrition,” Merchant added.

The government is also expected to increase the funding for research and development in the healthcare sector. This includes funding for research on diseases, as well as for the development of new drugs and treatments.

According to Mugdha Pradhan, CEO and Founder of iThrive, the number of people suffering from chronic illnesses has risen in the past year and is projected to continue to grow. It is crucial to support the wellness industry in order to provide holistic healing for the population.

“Investment from foreign direct investors should be streamlined in a way that reduces tax-related compliance requirements. Currently, the GST rate for wellness services is 18 per cent, which is higher than that for other healthcare services. It should be reduced to 5 per cent, to align with the corporate sector,” she said.

Overall, the healthcare sector is expected to see a significant boost in funding in the Union Budget 2023. The government’s focus on improving healthcare infrastructure, strengthening the public healthcare system, promoting research and development, expanding coverage of healthcare services, and promoting the use of technology is expected to improve the overall healthcare system in India. The budget allocation for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is expected to be even higher than the previous year, with increased focus on primary and secondary healthcare.

“A much-enhanced budget allocation has to be directed to revitalising the healthcare sector,” Narendranath Damodaran, Executive Director at Pradan, said.

“Nutraceuticals have increasingly played a role in preventive healthcare. More and more people are turning to nutrition supplements as alternatives to medicines to improve health. The government should allow relaxation in imports of nutraceutical raw materials and ingredients because the quality of ingredients remains a challenge and varies drastically from brand to brand. It should reduce tax on supplements to make them more affordable and accessible to all,” Aman Puri, founder, Steadfast Nutrition, said.

Vikram Thaploo, CEO, Apollo Telehealth, said, “The government’s efforts in rolling out an open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem and launching the National Tele Mental Health Program are genuinely noteworthy. However, additional funding allocations are required to further accelerate the expansion of the healthcare sector, particularly telemedicine.”

Nikkhil K Masurkar, CEO, Entod pharmaceuticals, said that the upcoming budget will play a pivotal role in sustaining growth and momentum. An additional budget should be allocated by the government to the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme which will encourage investments, attract core knowledge competency, promote employment and make the country a competitive player in global markets. Additionally, budgetary allocation for R&D in the bio-pharmaceutical sector must also be increased. Zee Business

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