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India well-poised to become a global hub for nurturing nursing staff

The Circle of Life is continuously replenished. Seasons change. The sun rises and sets. Nature rejuvenates. The body heals. In similar fashion, the spokes of the economy rise after every fall. Higher disposable income leads to more consumption. Growth in private consumption contributes to higher revenues and greater profits. Higher profitability contributes to better tax revenues. Fuller coffers facilitate greater social welfare. The Budget fully embraced this, and triggered the virtuous cycle of investment. Its focus on inclusiveness, spurring public consumption and augmenting investment in infrastructure to harvest the multiplier effects triggered instant market exuberance.

The fact that we have moved from the 10th largest economy to the fifth largest, aspiring to become the third largest, is remarkable. The current year’s economic growth is estimated at 7%, the highest globally, despite the slowdown caused by the pandemic and the war. Growth estimates for next year, at 6-6.8% are also very healthy. Thanks to the broad-based recovery across sectors, the economy is well-positioned to ascend the pre-pandemic growth path in 2023.

For any economy that operates in an uncertain global environment, the most prudent measures are to encourage capital expenditure, boost consumption demand and crowd-in private investment. The FM has rightly focussed on all three aspects to provide an impetus to the economy.

Capital expenditure on infrastructure development has been hiked by 33% to ₹10 trillion for 2023-24. The newly established infrastructure secretariat will assist in attracting private investments. In addition to tangible assets, the budget addresses the need to focus on soft assets—jobs, youth, skilling and future-ready skill sets.

When it comes to healthcare, every economy should have three fundamental objectives: (i) improving the health of the population; (ii) responding to people’s needs; and (iii) providing financial protection against costs due to illness.

The budget has offered measures that address these key goals.

On the healthcare front, the ministry’s mission to make India a hub for nurturing nursing staff is very welcome. The world over, there is a need for trained nursing staff and high-quality, low-cost, medical devices. India has the potential to cater to both requirements. The establishment and co-location of 157 new nursing colleges with medical colleges set up since 2014 will have threefold benefits—offering education and training, employment opportunities and filling the supply gaps.

The chief economic advisor’s statement that digital public infrastructure can contribute up to 100 basis points to gross domestic product growth is of specific interest to us in healthcare. We hope to collaborate with the government to unlock the potential in the digital health ecosystem space.

We believe that the government’s intention to spend on healthcare will continue, increasing the percent of GDP (states and Centre combined) spending on healthcare from the current 2.1% to 2.5%. This will help the country achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

We are excited about the potential to develop artificial intelligence in the area of healthcare. This, along with opening up possibilities for partnership in R&D and clinical trials, will help find path-breaking solutions that reimagine healthcare delivery in the future. Our larger goal of keeping the people of India healthy will be strengthened by this initiative.

This was a green budget, and a seed was sown to drive environmentally-sensitive approaches and behaviours—be it in energy, mobility or construction.

Most importantly, the budget has given relief to our salaried class —they will benefit greatly as they will have more cash in hand to spend and to save.

Confidence is contagious. The budget was an expression of confidence—of the resilience in our system and outlook for growth. Having weathered the storms of the pandemic better than most countries, India is definitely well-poised to take on the opportunities of the future. LiveMint

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