Unprecedented Healthcare Allocation in India Budget transcends Border & echoes in UAE
Private Health Sector back home celebrates Healthcare’s ‘First Pillar’ Status
Dubai/New Delhi: The dramatic near 140 percent raise in the healthcare allocation in India budget 2021is a global story. It has transcended the border and is grabbing attention far and wide. In the UAE where NRI healthcare honchos and doctors are scripting great success stories, the healthcare spend leap is echoing. So far as public healthcare in India is concerned, it is a veritable rags to riches story.
On the other hand, back home, private health sector is celebrating the enviable position that healthcare has suddenly attained thanks to budget. They have been won over by first pillar metaphor expressed in the budget speech.
Dr Azad Moopen, Founder Chairman & Managing Director , Aster DM Healthcare, said, ‘The Indian Budget has seen phenomenal increase in outlay for the healthcare sector with focus on addressing the key issues facing India today. We are glad that the total budget outlay for health and well-being has increased by 137%, standing at Rs. 2,23,846 crore. It is encouraging to see the shift in focus to prioritise preventive care and well-being, over just sick-care. As FM highlights health and wellbeing of the population is one of the core pillars to strengthen the Sankalp of the Nation-first- Atmanirbhar Bharat.
NRI keralite health honcho, Dr Moopen further said, ‘Priority has also been given to strengthen healthcare infrastructure and increase access to healthcare facilities, especially in rural areas which is the need of the hour. The pandemic put severe stress on the available healthcare systems and this move can go a long way in addressing the basic needs.
Two very positive moves for NRIs: provision to set-up one Person Company in India and elimination of double taxation for NRIs on foreign retirement funds. The provision for one-person company will allow many NRIs who want to relocate to India, to start fresh venture and earn a living, while adding to India’s growth.
India has fared well in keeping the Covid-19 death rate and active case rate one of the lowest in the world, and also emerging as a supplier of vaccines to many countries. With provisions for vaccination being made available to the population at large at the earliest, the country can move beyond the pandemic to focus on the future, Dr Moopen concluded’
Dr Raza Siddiqui, an NRI and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Arabian Healthcare Group & Executive Director- Rak Hospital said, ‘ It was heartening to see that the Budget 2021 was resting on 6 pillars with Health and Well-Being first pillar due to current pandemic. The Government recognised the service rendered by COVID warriors during the crucial months of the pandemic and has increased the Healthcare spend to Rs 2.23 lakh crore (137% increase) with a chunk of allocation to COVID vaccine and Rs 64,180 crore to be invested over next 6 years to improve primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare, strengthen existing national institutions, and create new institutions, to detect and cure new diseases even at district level. The focus on healthcare in the Budget will not only provide access to basic healthcare to majority of the population but also create jobs thereby boosting the economy. Allocation towards tacking air pollution in 43 cities and introduction of vehicle scrapping policy shows the intent of government to tackle the rising air pollution which is a key element to many health ailments.
However, while these are the basic steps required for promoting health and wellbeing of the population in holistic manner the overall spend remains abysmally low at 1.6% of GDP. Most of the developed and developing nations spend approx. 5%-10% of GDP on Healthcare. Further considering the population of India even Rs35,000 budget for vaccine might be low, concluded Dr Siddiqui.
Dr Rajesh Garg and a renowned Specialist Orthpaedic Surgeon from India in Canadian Specialist Hospital, Dubai thinks a bit differently. In a statement to Medicare news Dr Garg though bucks the trend of overall praise but despite his different views, the budget has grabbed his attention. He says it may be a good beginning, India has long way to go in healthcare.
Dr Garg said, ‘I will not call it unprecedented as india being a vast country spending less than 1% of GDP on healthcare especially when we are among developing nations and still under pandemic situation, Rs 69,000 crore for the sector is not going to go a long way. Also the expected fall in GDP growth to mere 10% will also hit the amount of funds actually translating in health care for people. The positive side of the budget will be new innovations and skill support and more public- private ventures to develop new medical colleges and hospitals in the 2-3 tier cities will be really helpful. Moreover I am waiting for the day when each and everyone in my country is covered with health insurance, so that just getting healthy doesn’t burn a hole in their pockets and people don’t have to sell their fortune for getting back to life, just like Dubai, UAE.