Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman said that overall improvement of health infrastructure will help build confidence of the people in the infrastructure and also help in the revival of the economy. The Finance Minister said this while addressing the webinar on “Building Healthcare Infrastructure for New India” here today. Dr Bhagwat KisanraoKarad, Minister of State for Finance, also participated in the webinar.
Sitharaman stated that the country must address not only the short-term challenges but also ensure resilience of our economy and Infrastructure Development that are the key to achieving these twin objectives.
The Finance Minister said it is very encouraging to have industry stakeholders to be part of a discussion on the Loan Guarantee Scheme for COVID-affected Sectors (LGSCAS) that the Government launched with great trust in the industry.
Nirmala Sitharaman said that second wave of COVID-19 pandemic sharply brought the need to focus and strengthen our medical and healthcare infrastructure so that we emerge stronger from any such healthcare crisis.
The Finance Minister said the Government is reviving a pandemic affected recovery in the context of possible 3rd wave of COVID-19 pandemic and assured that the Government is doing everything it can to increase vaccination as it is the only most sure shot protection against COVID-19.
On the efforts to prevent the 3rd wave of COVID-19, Sitharaman said that all of us have to make an effort on the lines of the motto of this Government said by Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi –SabkaSaath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and SabkaPrayaas – and only then we can expect to emerge stronger out of this crisis.
The Finance Minister emphasised that the most important support to healthcare infrastructure is to ramp up capacities, technology, better facilities and above all ramp up trained man-power for optimally utilizing the healthcare infrastructure.
Earlier in the Webinar, Debashish Panda, Secretary, Department of Financial Services, gave an outline of the Loan Guarantee Scheme for COVID-affected Sectors (LGSCAS) scheme to all the participants.
V.K. Paul, Member, NITI Aayog emphasised the need and equitable distribution of healthcare facilities so that access to healthcare is easily available in Tier-2, Tier-3 and Tier-4 cities.
Expressing his happiness on LGSCAS, Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, said that it aims at non-Metro cities which require strengthening of healthcare services and facilities. The LGSCAS will become a path-breaking scheme as it can be collaborated and it can work in conjunction with other ongoing interventions in the healthcare sector.
Talking about the LGSCAS, C.S. Setty, MD, SBI, said that it is a first of its kind of scheme where guarantee is provided for healthcare infrastructure. Setty gave a well-informed presentation on healthcare infrastructure and Government Guaranteed Schemes and informed all the participants that they have devised a fairly simple process of applying and processing of documents related to LGSCAS.
As part of the Open House discussion, Dr Harsh Mahajan, president, Healthcare Federation of India; Rajiv Nath, Forum Coordinator, AiMeD; AyanabhDebgupta, FICCI, and Veena Kohli, president, Association of Diagnostics Manufacturers of India, also participated.
During the Webinar, over 100 stakeholders from healthcare industry & banks highlighted the importance of strengthening the Indian healthcare ecosystem specifically targeting undeserved areas.
“We are delighted with the government announcement of a financial scheme to build healthcare infrastructure which is including diagnostic services & Medical Devices manufacturing, with a 7.95% interest , 1st time GoI being the loan guarantor which will definitely help to partly address the 15% Disability Factors that have been making India over 70% imports dependent and requested that the loans do not become NPA’s by a predictable tariff structure matching the mobile phone industry, protecting consumers by capping MRP at a multiple over the 1st point of sale (overseas mfrs import landed price & the Indian mfrs ex fcy price ) ; give Price preference based on QCI’s Quality Certification in public procurement. With such team work & enabling policies in 5 years we can become globally competitive and increase our exports from 20k Cr Rs to over 50K Cr Rs , increase investment in this sector to over 50K Cr rs and stall and reverse our ever increasing import bill which surpassed 45K Cr Rs last year” says Rajiv Nath, Forum Coordinator, AiMeD (Association of Indian Medical Devices industry).
About “Rs. 50,000 crore guarantee cover scheme for Covid affected sectors”
As Government’s commitment to improving the healthcare infrastructure and well-being of the country, the Loan Guarantee Scheme for COVID-19 Affected Sectors called LGSCAS to provide guarantee to Scheduled Commercial Banks for loans given for new projects i.e Greenfield projects and for expansion i.e. Brownfield projects related to healthcare infrastructure was approved by Union Cabinet on 30th June 2021. Loans under the scheme are made available at cheaper interest rate of 7.95%.
The Scheme is aimed at up-scaling the medical infrastructure in the country specifically targeting undeserved areas. It is expected to provide the help the country needs in getting the much-needed healthcare infrastructure and provide employment opportunities after second wave of Covid-19 pandemic. This is necessary across the country, from metro cities to small towns as well as rural areas. LGSCAS provides a guarantee of 50 percent for brownfield projects and 75 per cent to greenfield projects for loans sanctioned up to Rs.100 crore, set up at urban or rural locations other than 8 Metropolitan Tier 1 cities (Class X cities). For aspirational districts, the guarantee cover for both brownfield expansion and greenfield projects is 75%. The Scheme is applicable to all eligible loans sanctioned up to 31.03.2022, or till an amount of Rs. 50,000 crore is sanctioned, whichever is earlier.
The representatives from the industry made suggestions to the Finance Minister like increasing the guarantee cover from five years to ten years as such investments involve high costs and take time to break-even. MB Bureau