Budget 2021-22 Optimism: Pandemic underlined need for higher budget allocation for healthcare sector
Budget 2021-22 Optimism: Pandemic underlined need for higher budget allocation for healthcare sector

 The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the key role of healthcare in the lives of people, underlining the significance of higher budget allocation for improving the healthcare infrastructure in the country, sectoral players said.

The pharma sector which has played a leading role as the ‘pharmacy of the world’ said it expects support and incentives especially for research & development and innovation in the coming budget.

The pandemic has completely changed the dynamics of the Indian healthcare ecosystem, NATHEALTH President and Apollo Hospitals Executive Vice-Chairperson Preetha Reddy said. “Private healthcare providers are hopeful that there will be additional incentives to aid the sector in business recovery and also enable expansion across tier 2-3 cities – through provision of land at subsidised rates to set up hospitals, tax relief for new infrastructure creation, import duty relief for life-saving equipment and ease of GST regulations for healthcare services,” she added.

Reddy said that public spending in healthcare should increase to deal with future pandemics and for sustained preventive care. Digital Health services found their rightful space during the pandemic and there is a need to expand and support the essential backup services to enable digital healthcare to function efficiently in all primary and secondary healthcare centres, she added.

“It has reiterated the need for increased investment in healthcare infrastructure, national-level programmes for skill development and training of healthcare staff, increase in the number of medical colleges, effective PPP models and a further boost for local manufacturing,” she added. These should be the key priorities for the government this time, Reddy said.

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