Healthcare & Pharma market reactions on Budget 2022-23: As Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday made an announcement outlining the economic growth for India over the next 25 years.
Here’s what the Health care & Pharma sector experts are saying about the Union Budget 2022:
Tarun Gupta, Co-founder, LISSUN:
As a result of the pandemic, a lot of entrepreneurs had stepped forward to address the challenge of rising mental health issues in India. The cases of depression and anxiety disorders witnessed an increase of about 25% globally, and by 35% in India alone. The National Mental Health Programme and Health and Wellness Centres alone could not have reached every individual in the crisis that they might face struggling in a moment. The easy access was the primary point of concern for everyone trying to help towards the issue. The government has recognised this, and addressed the same by launching Tele mental health service. The budget inculcating the fact that focussing mental and emotional wellness is the need of the hour, itself talks about how progressive we are becoming in our approach as a nation.
Dr Preet Pal Thakur, Co-founder GlamyoHealth:
The primary challenge in delivering fine health services was the lack of awareness and access. A person sitting in tier 2 city might not even know about the presence of a probable medical facility to his current challenge. With the launch of the open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem this particular gap will be filled in a single go. As the Budget mentioned, the platform will consist of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, which will serve the purpose of access and availability of information.
Gaurav Gupta Co-Founder of Navia Life Care:
We are very excited to see that the Government is intending to enhance the digital ecosystem in the country, more specifically in the healthcare and financial services industries. We applaud the Government’s initiative to roll out an Open Platform for National Digital Health Ecosystem.
We sincerely hope and believe that this step will boost the digital health infrastructure in the country and will help thousands of doctors and millions of patients going forward. This is an encouraging step for health tech startups such as Navia who have been the crusaders of digital health and electronic health records.
Dr. Angeli Misra (MD Path), Founder & Director, Lifeline Laboratory:
The diagnostics industry has been ignored in the new budget. There is a deep sense of disappointment at no significant allocation of additional funds to boost India’s healthcare infrastructure. The diagnostic equipment manufacturing industry continues to bear a heavy tax burden, as there is no reduction in customs and excise duty and tax exemptions on imports for an industry that is heavily dependent on imports (86%). The launch of an open platform for a National Digital Health Ecosystem, a focus on building domestic capacities by encouraging public-private partnership, and the promotion of R&D to provide universal access to health facilities for all, is however, a welcome move.
Nimith Agrawal, CEO, DoctOr:
The FM has presented a visionary budget for the healthcare sector. Mental health has been a long-unspoken issue that has been given its due importance with the launch of the National Tele Mental Health Program. The program promises to benefit rural people from lower strata who cannot afford the necessary treatment, thereby reducing potential suicides and quashing the stigma around mental healthcare.
Supporting the healthtech startups, the National Digital Health Ecosystem will revolutionise the healthcare space, streamlining electronic medical records with the support of IoT driven platforms. It will also enable medical professionals with accurate and immediate availability of data, in times of emergencies. The initiatives proposed are steps in the right direction, putting Indian healthcare at par with western healthcare.
Abhishek Goel, CEO & Co-founder, CACTUS:
The pandemic has revealed a crisis in mental health, as well as the need for access to mental health professionals. The announcement of the National Tele Mental Health program will hopefully address a lot of these issues and provide people across the country with access to quality mental health care.
Apurv Agrawal, Co-Founder, Avni:
“The pandemic has unravelled a lot of loopholes in the Indian healthcare system. Certainly, health was to stay a priority in the budget. The Budget announced the launch of an open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem.
This will provide easy access to the available health facilities and health providers. Absence of the right information had created a ruckus during the first and second wave of covid. We are glad that the government took note of the same and has now resolved the challenge too,”
Dr. Harshit Jain, Founder and Global CEO Doceree:
The high point of the budget is its focus on mental health. It shows the government’s commitment towards creating a holistic health environment. The pandemic has had a visibly damaging impact on the mental well-being of people. The situation got compounded as there was another epidemic we were facing simultaneously – the mental health epidemic which was global in nature.
The proposed national tele-mental health programme will create a supportive environment for people to talk about emotional issues they counter on a day-to-day basis and help remove the stigma that we have around mental and emotional problems. Also, the decision to create an open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem is yet another move to digitize healthcare in the country which surely has a far-reaching impact on making quality healthcare accessible to all.
Dr. Shuchin Bajaj, Founder Director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals:
“When we were struggling with the massive pandemic second wave last year, we thought that the only silver lining out of this would be that the current state of health care facilities in the country would attract the attention of the government, especially the Prime Minister and the finance minister. And we will see a big push towards healthcare spending, at least to the promised 3% of GDP that the government has been promising for a long time.
Unfortunately, we haven’t heard much on health care and education in this budget. The welcome part of the budget is that the national digital health ecosystem has been opened up and the National Mental Health tele helpline is being launched. Mental health has been disregarded for a very long time in the country. But overall, we haven’t had any exciting news so far from the budget, which we were looking forward to.”
Dr. Jyoti Kapoor, Founder, Manasthali:
“This has been the best budget when it comes to highlighting the need for mental health when the nation is gripped by the COViD pandemic from the last couple of years. The isolation and social-distancing have brought mental health concerns to the forefront. All strata of society have suffered tremendously due to stress of pandemic, financial uncertainty, and lack of adequate medical services. It’s commendable that the mental well-being of the community has been prioritised. In this regard, the announcement of a mental health care and counselling program is a silver lining. IIT-Bangalore has been appointed for providing the tech support in implementing the program.”
Dr. Prakriti Poddar, Managing Trustee, Poddar Foundation:
“The current direct allocations for mental health are grossly insufficient, taking into consideration that 14% of India’s population lives with some form of mental illness, and there exists a treatment gap of 72–92%. The launch of a national tele-mental health program for mental health counselling in collaboration with IIT Bangalore is a much-awaited move from the government. Mental healthcare & well-being are complex & intersectoral in nature, for an effective mental health system, intersectoral linkages must be strengthened and this has been reflected in the Union Budget 2022-23. Also, the launch of an open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem which will consist of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity and universal access to health facilities is a testimony of the commitment of the government to building stronger health systems.”
Dr. Tushar Grover, Medical Director, Vision Eye Centre, New Delhi:
With the budget 2022 continuing to be growth-oriented as it picks up from budget 2021, the sharp focus on infrastructure building by way of Gatishakti being one of the four priorities underlines the long term perspective of the government.
Even as the pandemic apparently seems on its way out notwithstanding the persisting risks, the endeavour to comprehensively digitalise the health infrastructure in the form of National Digital Health Ecosystem along with setting up of mental health centers of excellence must be welcomed by all means. The provision for digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity, consent framework, and universal access to health facilities would make it easier for everyone including patients and caregivers in the coming years.
KR Raghunath, Senior Chairman, Jindal Naturecure Institute:
“We welcome the much-deserved attention on India’s healthcare sector in the Union Budget 2022-23. We are encouraged by the Government’s renewed focus on preventive and curative health as well as the overall wellness and well-being of our citizens. An open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem which will consist of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity and universal access to health facilities will widen access to health and wellness while driving focus on preventive health. Also, to better the access to quality mental health counselling and care services, a National Tele Mental Health program has been announced that’ll further help in tackling the rising number of mental health disorders in the country. These patient centred initiatives will play a pivotal role in the success of the National Health Mission.”
Layak Singh, Founder and CEO, Artivatic.AI:
“FM Nirmala Sitharaman’s Union Budget 2022-23 is a rock-solid budget that takes the strong position the nation is poised in despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic due to a successful vaccination campaign, and takes it that much ahead at the macro level. An open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem which will consist of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity and universal access to health facilities will widen access to quality healthcare driving focus on the need for health insurance. The set up of unique health identity will also help the insurance providers in better risk assessment, premiums and claims. The budget proves that the government is committed towards building a strong health system.”
Mahavir Bafna, CEO, Bafna Pharmaceuticals Limited:
Digitisation of the national health ecosystem is a welcome move announced in the Budget. Digitisation of health registries of health providers and facilities will help the beneficiaries access to health facilities, especially in rural India. This will positively impact the pharmaceutical companies also, it being an integral part of the healthcare sector. “
Anish Bafna, CEO & MD, Healthium Medtech:
We are delighted with the government’s initiative for encouraging sunrise sectors like Medtech with the promotion of thematic funds for blended finance. Increased investments in infrastructure will help improve supply chain and aid customer access. Custom duty exemptions on medical devices and revision of tariff structures for manufacturing intermediates will strengthen India’s supply chains for a global hub in medical devices. The open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem will benefit health providers and caregivers with universal access to healthcare facilities. The budget rightly calls out the need for an increased focus on mental health. The launch of the National Tele-Mental Health Service with the support of NIMHANS and IIT Bangalore, will be widely appreciated by the essential services sector.
Dr. Surendra K Chikara, Founder & CEO, Bione:
The Centre had already taken big steps to build a digital health ecosystem through the establishment of the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM). The importance given to high-quality healthcare, the plan for a National Digital Health Ecosystem, the tele mental health program and the extension of the tax breaks to startups in this budget are all measures in the right direction. We highly welcome the implementation of such measures. The burden of chronic diseases can decrease significantly with the use of advanced techniques like preventive genetic testing. Hopefully, this aspect will be more in focus in the coming years.
Praveen Chirania, Founder, Muscle and Strength India:
This is a growth oriented budget, with no adverse tax rollouts. The massive outlay for the health sector by the budget will help in better delivery of health services and infrastructure to the people. The proposal to set up a platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem will help in the digitization of healthcare and ensure that medical services are available far and wide, especially in areas where health infrastructure is poor. To give impetus to the health & wellness industry, we expected that the government could have rationalized GST on healthcare supplements. This would have helped in making the products affordable and accessible for all and helped boost the healthcare agenda of the government, which is the need of the hour as these products play an important role in the overall healthcare and well being of the population.
From the consumer perspective, we also expected an increase in the income tax limit as it would have enhanced savings and people’s spending capacity, which is critical for improving consumer sentiment. The move by the government in continuing to recognize the value of startups to our economy is welcome. The move to extend the tax incentive scheme by one more year to start-ups is also a welcome move for the start-up community. The rationalisation of capital gains surcharge will provide a boost to the startups. The budget also offers several sops for the MSME sector, which contributes significantly to the Indian GDP. Overall, we are optimistic that the government will continue to take proactive steps to help businesses affected by the pandemic and make important announcements aimed at accelerating economic reforms, promoting entrepreneurship, and providing relief to taxpayers.
Dr. Preeti Singh, Chief Medical Officer, Lissun:
It is overwhelming to see that the Government has recognised that along with the digital health ecosystem, mental health also needs attention. We are in the middle of a mental health pandemic and have seen how mental health issues have risen in the last 2 years exponentially, Indian statistics are very gleamy when it comes to mental health experts per lakh of population in India, almost making it impossible to meet the mental health needs currently, the only way out is the outreach by digital and telemedicine platforms and successfully making the train the counsellors programme at the basic level for screening the psychiatric conditions and provide the basic counselling, to begin with, 25 centres of excellence is a good number but we need more hands to bridge the gaps of mental health care needs to cater to India’s mental health scenario.
Owing to this government’s thrust to give more validation to the startups already working in this industry, they will also become more proactive to fight the pandemic and safeguard people’s health. The mental health issues have reached in Tier-II and Tier-III towns, already as they don’t have the trained mental Health experts, TeleMedicine is a big move in this regard. We remain positive that the government and health ministry will continue to increase expenditures in the coming years, especially pertaining to investments in primary healthcare and mental health infrastructure, to make it a full-fledged movement, which is much needed.
Sunita Maheshwari, Chief Dreamer, The Telerad Group:
In today’s budget the aim to provide internet connection in every village that was announced can enable telemedicine services to expand rapidly in rural India. The roll out of the National Digital Health Ecosystem and Tele mental health programs for counselling will further enable the growth of telehealth in India.
Some other projects that were announced will also have a positive impact on public health. For example, the Rs 60000 crore allocated to enable tap water supply to 38 million households will allow for cleaner, safer water to homes. This will reduce the chances of diarrhoeal diseases and growth stunting apart from making living easier for millions of households.
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Dr. Sudhir Prem Srivastava, M.D. Founder, Chairman & CEO, SS INNOVATIONS:
This morning the finance minister announced the budget for 2022 where healthcare spending has been increased to 2.348 lakh crore and it will be applied to mainly digital health, telehealth, mental health services, and other things. I want to emphasize that I think it is great to see an increase in digital health and telehealth will absolutely help but telehealth applications must be across the board. It must be included that there is tele education, tele diagnosis, there should be tele therapeutic and gradually we must be decentralized whereby healthcare is brought to all parts of the country. There must also be a significant investment in medical devices because currently, we import, which keeps the healthcare cost very high and not affordable to many of the people within the country. So, I hope these factors will be taken into consideration in the coming years.
Senu Sam, Co-founder & CEO of Mykare:
This is a budget which makes healthcare more accessible for the common man. The increased allocations for healthcare will boost the country’s healthcare sector and help in the generation of more jobs and the availability of skilled professionals that would help in meeting the increasing demand for accessible and affordable healthcare.
It’s a clear boost for the digital health tech startup on the new announcements on “An open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem will be rolled out.” This will give a new era for digital health startups..