Home Budget 2021 Post Budget Reaction: Healthcare Sector

Post Budget Reaction: Healthcare Sector

Budget 2021

The Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2021 on Monday where she made a lot of announcements for various sectors. This was the first budget after the pandemic where everyone had some expectations from the finance minister. Here are the reactions from the Industry experts of the Healthcare Sector.

Farhan Pettiwala, Executive Director & Head Development, India & South Asia, Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital (AJEH)-

We expected a bigger change and disruptive budget, indeed the budget has Kickstarted by increasing investment in Infra, healthcare, ARC (assett management company), LIC IPO disinvestment, no change in tax structure, INR 64,180 crore to new health scheme is a big plus, with 35,000cr for covid vaccine.

Dr. GSK Velu, Chairman & Managing Director, Trivitron Healthcare  

“Budget 2021 will strengthen the vision of Atma Nirbhar Bharat. The budget will provide a big boost to the healthcare industry working on the development of modalities for preventive healthcare, curative healthcare, and general wellness. Undoubtedly, it will help to expand the capacity of primary, secondary, and tertiary care health systems and strengthen national healthcare infrastructure. Also, it will facilitate the creation of new and advanced institutions for emerging diseases.

We welcome these steps as we remain committed to building the nation’s Healthcare Infrastructure to fulfill the government’s mission”

Kamal Narayan omer CEO IHW Council

The most noteworthy aspect of the healthcare outlay this year is a distinct integration of health and wellbeing with causative factors such as nutrition and clean air. This is a marked departure from the previous budget where curative features received the lion’s share of the outlay. This change in approach, driven by the once-in-a-century pandemic, augurs well for the overall healthcare landscape of India. The massive 137 per cent increase in the budgetary outlay with a dedicated corpus of Rs 35,000 crore for COVID-19 vaccines was a much needed step and I congratulate the government on stepping away from the stock approach to healthcare. Recognising the interlinking of health and socio-economic and environmental factors such as malnutrition, safe water and air pollution also deserves a special mention — it will help reduce the burden of infectious diseases as well as fatal non-communicable diseases such as lung cancer which has been tightening its grip on the Indian population for some time now. The voluntary scrappage policy for vehicles aimed at reducing vehicular pollution will require dedicated communication for awareness.

Mr. Suresh Pattathil, MD, Allergan India Pvt. Ltd

Overall, this is an ambitious, growth-oriented budget and the Honorable FM has tried to ensure that the economy receives the impetus it needs to go back to a respectable GDP growth level.

We are glad that in line with the vision of  ‘Atmanirbhar’ Bharat, the FY22 budget identifies six pillars on which to build a future ready India. We are particularly glad that health and wellbeing and innovation and R&D are included here.

The significant increase in budgetary support for the Health Sector is most welcome. The additional outlay of Rs 64,180 crore over the next six years is to be spent to improve and fill gaps in the primary, secondary, and tertiary health segments.   The hope is that this will make a measurable difference to the access and delivery of high quality healthcare for all. However, India’s health challenges are huge and require a high degree of collaboration between the public and private health sectors to improve healthcare access, increase insurance cover, bring down out of pocket expenses and ensure a good supply of new innovative drugs. The Indian pharmaceutical industry needs strong incentive to invest in making India a pharma research hub for the country and the world.

Ms. Suman Varma, Chief Marketing Officer (Medicine Division), Hamdard Laboratories

“We welcome the honorable Finance Minister’s focus on the Healthcare sector which is the need of the hour. Considering the unprecedented impact of the COVID pandemic on the economy, it is encouraging to see that the government has given much need boost to the health sector in its budget. The 35,000 Crore COVID care fund will play a large part in bringing the nation back to its feet, the impact of which will be greatly felt and welcomed across all sectors. It shows great foresight from the honorable Finance minister on her part since it is more than likely that we will have to continue to live with the virus for a while longer.

The addition of more health care centers and the overall increase in health was also awaited to improve the healthcare infrastructure capabilities of the nation. It is encouraging for us to see a 137% increase in the overall investment in the health and wellness sector from the government. With this budget, the healthcare sector will get benefited and as a health and wellness brand, our focus will continue to be on reinventing ourselves and relentlessly working to provide better and healthier products to our consumers. We believe this budget is a positive dose for the economy and will certainly build the economic health of the country.“

Jai Dhar Gupta (Environmental Activist, Founder of Nirvana Being and Founder of ‘My Right to Breathe’)-

“As an environmentalist and air pollution activist, I have to mention that I am disappointed by the reduced allocation for Clean Air. Air pollution is a far greater public health emergency than COVID; while COVID claimed 1.5 lakh lives in 2020, air pollution is responsible for about 18 lakh lives across India. However, I do want to highlight other things in the budget that will impact the environment positively such as the voluntary vehicle scrapping policy, plans for 100% electrification of broad rail routes, the Urban Swachh Bharat Mission, Ujjwala Scheme and allocation for waste management to reduce plastic waste.”

Mahesh Basavanna, Founder & Director, KIRU by OrgTree

Healthcare and nutrition get attention in this budget which is good especially post COVID. Wellness & Health have to be the overall priority. The increased capital through DFI ( Development Financial Institutions) will hopefully help develop economic corridors that will benefit all sectors. Though I expected incentives for modernization of agriculture sector and also setting up special economic corridors with incentives in the rural sector for overall development which was missing. The reduction of margin money requirement from 25% to 15% for startups could prove beneficial.

Mr Girish Rao – Chairman & Managing Director, Vidal Health  

This is clearly the most forward-thinking budget in recent times. The fact that Healthcare plans were taken up first by the FM shows the importance the government is giving to the health of our citizens. Far-reaching recommendations will transform public health. The increase in allocation to 2.37 Lac Crore was long overdue and we welcome this.

PM-JAY has been a resounding success in bringing awareness and health coverage to large masses. The new PM-ASBY with a special focus on building Primary, Secondary and Tertiary care capabilities in rural India will bring attention to much-neglected sector. Rs. 64,000 Cr allocation over 6 years is a great beginning and will transform rural India.

There is a need to build technology platforms to bring in large masses under the health care delivery platform. FDI limit in insurance which has increased to 74% is also a positive move. This allocation will allow for more investment in this space.

Mr. Karan Chopra, Co-Founder, Doc On Call

Healthcare budget increase is a great move by the government. Especially like the move away from sick care to a more holistic well being with a focus on preventive care. However the proof of the pudding will lie in implementation which hasn’t been great in the past. Would love to see how the government. thinks of accountability and non performance.

Great move by the govt. Tax holidays and startup funds will go a long way in strengthening the startup ecosystem. Much needed especially amid pandemic.

Pratik Sud, Co-founder & CEO Synq.Fit

As the co-founder of Synq.Fit, a start-up launched in 2020 that is planning to reach greater heights in the coming years, I feel excited to know that the Government of India has made comprehensive provisions in the Union Budget 2021 for start-ups just like mine and entrepreneurs just like myself.

More importantly, the Government’s decision to make healthcare as one of the resting pillars of the Union Budget shows where our priorities should lie – health and fitness. I am pleased to share that Synq.Fit stands proudly at the helm of the connected fitness revolution and aims to spread the message of holistic well-being amongst the masses.

Dr Anand Bansal, Medical Director at Action Group of Hospitals

“Amid COVID 19 pandemic the sudden and unprecedented changes the world had to go through, this budget was keenly awaited especially for the announcements in regards to the health sector. Healthcare is certainly a top priority of this budget as 137% hike in health & wellness budget has been announced. Our health sector needs more expenditure and infrastructure development. With the announcement of PM Atmanirbhar Health Yojana worth around Rs. 64000 crore we are certainly going to witness more inclusive growth in our healthcare in upcoming years, which is full of challenges in the current scenario. Also the amount of Rs. 35000 crore announced for COVID 19 vaccine will strengthen this fight against pandemic. As per health concerns this budget is satisfactory and full of vision, considering the challenges our healthcare is facing, things will surely need time to reflect results on a larger scale”.

Cdr Navneet Bali, Regional Director, Northern India, Narayana Health

“The Union Budget this year has clearly announced the paradigm shift in the way we look at the health and wellness in our country. From 137% increase in healthcare budget allocation to Rs. 64180 crore spending in next 6 years towards the ‘PM Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana, this is a movement towards making our country more aware about wellness and ensuring that our citizens are more productive. When a country has more productive and healthy citizens it manifests into everything that we do and this budget typically has shown a direction towards how we are headed in the next five to 10 years. Setting up of health and wellness centres in rural and urban India, having integrated public health labs, having a nationwide Pneumococcal vaccine which will prevent deaths of over 50000 children to the announcement of Rs. 35000 crore towards vaccines, I think these are very important and critical steps towards that direction. Along with that thinking about clean air missions in 42 urban areas with a million plus population, setting up of critical care hospital blocks 602 districts in India; I think these all are very important steps which will strengthen our healthcare. I think this budget points out that along with spending on treating illness it is also better for the country to work towards wellness and make the citizens healthy and productive. In that way I think this is an extraordinary and great Budget”.

Mr Varun Khanna, Fullife Healthcare Director and Co Founder

“The increase in budget allocation to the healthcare sector by 137% from last year shows how committed the government is in building accessibility for all. We are happy to see the different schemes announced by the government including the allocation of Rs 35,000 crores for COVID-19 vaccines and the focus on primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare, which will help India, build a more strong health base. For key industry players and manufacturers like us, we are glad to be a part of a national effort to make India a hub for high-quality nutrition and healthcare so that we can together achieve the government’s dream of being Atmanirbhar and a healthcare business epicentre for the world. What we additionally want is the economy’s reset for a sustainable year to strengthen deliverance and supply of nutritional outcomes.”

Mr. Tamojit Dutta, Founder & Co-CEO, TriBeCa Care

“The FM had to accommodate many interest groups in this COVID budget and she has done well. For example, the 137% increase in health & wellness spends is truly welcome, though the specifics will be as important as the headline number. Support for Covid vaccination will be certainly important for senior citizens, who are the most vulnerable category. Some exemptions on IT filing for senior citizens have also been announced. However, beyond that, there is limited support for the elderly. Not much focus on higher interest income or cheaper health insurance. So senior citizens remain trapped in a low-interest rate, high inflation environment. This is challenging for those who mostly depend on the interest income from savings and are worried about galloping health expenses not adequately covered by a generous insurance scheme.”

Mr. RN Mohanty, CEO at Sightsavers India

” It is commendable that the government has put healthcare at the forefront, putting the focus on curative and preventive health and wellbeing. There is a significant increase in allocation from the budget last year. The proposals would make quality healthcare accessible and affordable, besides standardizing healthcare infrastructure across the country. Also, there are promising new schemes introduced under the AB-PMJAY (Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana) with approximately 10 crore Indian families who are currently under the scheme. It has a potential of around 50 crore people who can come under its ambit and avail its benefits. Overall, we feel that the budget is going to enhance productivity, better access to healthcare facilities for the rural and urban populations, and generate more jobs in the sector especially for women ” 

Mr. Rustom Kerawalla, Chairman, Ampersand Group

“The overall budget outlay for health and well-being of Rs. 2.23 lakh crore with an increase of 137 percent was highly anticipated and a welcome boost for the health sector in ushering further reforms. The enormous increase will address concerns around programmes post COVID-19 pandemic. It will give a fillip to India’s aim for self-sufficiency in health and medicine technology through various schemes under the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ programmes and the National Health Mission. Setting up health labs and block public health units will reduce turnaround time for diagnosis and spur growth for the skilled Indian youth seeking jobs. The need of the hour is to strengthen the provisioning of healthcare services through public-private partnerships (PPPs) and the much-expected roll-out of the National Digital Health Plan which would lay down the roadmap for telemedicine and access to healthcare to the remotest part of India.”

Mr Vikram Thaploo, CEO, Apollo TeleHealth

The Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman announced an allocation of INR 64,180 crore over the next 6 years for the healthcare sector in the 2021 Union Budget. The budget allocated is in addition to the National Health Mission which is already in effect. One of the key initiatives proposed in this year’s budget is the addition of 17,000 rural and 11,000 urban health and wellness centres which is supportive move for better patient care and will also pave way for more public-private partnerships. Also, the government has proposed to set up integrated public health labs in each district with 3,382 block public health units across 11 states. Another welcoming move is the outlay of INR 1.41 crore for the Swach Bharat 2.0 mission which will help improve sanitisation and transform the lives of millions. Considering the government’s effort to curb the pandemic of COVID-19, it has also planned to set aside INR 35,000 Crore for Covid-19 Vaccine in FY22. Though, it must be admitted that the government has re-shifted its focus on healthcare in this budget, but considering the rapid integration of digital technology into healthcare, no major developments around digital healthcare or telemedicine was announced.

Dr. Rajat Arora, Founder Director – Genestrings Diagnostics Center (a COVID testing unit at IGIA) & Yashoda Hospital

The healthcare community in India is happy to see the long-overdue focus on the sector finally taking an important part in the budgetary outlay. The increase of 137 percent in the healthcare sector budgetary outlay is unprecedented, not only in the history of India but anywhere in the world. The Rs 35,000 crore outlay for COVID-19 vaccines will certainly boost the confidence of healthcare workers as well as common people and is a decisive step towards resuming economic activities and tread on the path of growth. The capability-increasing measures such as setting up of integrated public healthcare laboratories in 11 states, a country-specific Indian center for disease control and prevention, 9 biosafety 3-level laboratories, and 4 regional National Institute of Virology across the country will play a significant role in not only addressing the current disease scenario but will also help in addressing the emerging challenges and the future pandemics. The focus on digitization in the form of expansion of health information portals is also a welcome step and will pave the way for the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM),

Mr. Abhay Soi, Chairman and Managing Director, Max Healthcare

“We welcome the thrust of Union Budget 2021 in reviving the economy. The focus on healthcare and the initiatives announced are a gigantic step in the interest our countrymen. Healthcare has been given the status it deserves. The announcement of the centrally funded scheme — Aatmanirbhar Health Yojana — with an outlay of Rs 64,180 crore over six years in addition to National Health Mission is a welcome step towards strengthening primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare. However, the manner in which this allocation will be made in the next five years will be critical. Also, some allocation of funds for the private healthcare sector would only boost it further since a healthy public-private partnership is the need of the hour today.

This special attention given to the healthcare sector, increasing the overall outlay to health and wellbeing by more than 135% over last year are a big step in the right direction. The allocation of 350 billion rupees towards COVID-19 vaccination is also a welcome step. Setting up of 15 Health Emergency Centres shows that the government wants to be future-ready in handling any further such crises situations. It is laudable that government has put healthcare at the forefront. This would not only make quality healthcare accessible and affordable it will also help standardize healthcare infrastructure across the country. Overall, the budget has been positive and refreshing in its scope and scale.”

Mr. Amol Naikawadi, Joint Managing Director, Indus Health Plus

“The 2021 Union Budget looks optimistic for the healthcare sector. With Aatma Nirbhar Health Yojana, the sector will get a boost from a public health infrastructure standpoint. The initiative will enhance the quality of healthcare and strengthen the national center for diseases control in the country. In addition, due to this, most of the health needs of the low-income group in both urban and rural areas will be taken care of. Besides, Mission Poshan 2.0 and Jal Jeevan Mission will also help in improving public health and wellness. In my opinion, the budget should have also given some preference to private healthcare segment as well that has been a strong pillar of support during the pandemic. Apart from that, the focus should have been more on the prevention of NCDs, which are mostly asymptotic at the early stages but eventually treatment becomes difficult and expensive.

The further fortification by setting up additional 17,000 rural and 11,000 urban health and wellness centers along with integrated public health labs is also a good decision. However, emphasis on the preventive healthcare segment would have lowered the NCDs burden and the overall health expenses of the country.”

Akshay Daftary, Director, Siro Clinpharm

“In this year’s budget, the Honorable Finance Minister considered Health and Well-being sector as the first pillar which is very encouraging for healthcare and nutraceuticals sector professionals. The announcements made by the FM especially for the healthcare sector in terms of promised reforms and anticipated conducive measures to boost domestic manufacturing of the medical devices along with the emphasis on preventive care, PPP in Ayushman Bharat, expansion of Jan Aushadhi Kendra in all districts to provide medicines at affordable rates, etc are very promising and will provide impetus to the growth of the sector in the long run. The allotment of Rs 3000 crore funds under skill development is a positive move by the government in terms of recruiting people since the EMS (Emergency Medical Services) industry demands skilled individuals in paramedics as they are the ones driving the sector and hence play a vital role in saving lives. The allocation of Rs 35,000 crore for COVID-19 vaccines was much needed as it is the need of the hour. Additionally, the allocation of Rs 69,000 crore to healthcare is again something that is commendable and a heartening measure announced by the FM for the development of the healthcare sector.

Overall, Budget 2021 is realistic, positive, and holistic at the same time, centered around the common man and his needs.”

 Mr. Shyatto Raha, Founder & CEO- My Healthcare

“The budget of 2021-2022 has brought about some positive sentiment for the healthcare industry, especially in the wake of the recent pandemic and healthcare crisis. Stepping into 2021, we believe that a focus on growth-oriented measures, economic & policy reforms and inclusive growth would pave the way for a larger economic recovery. With the increase of 137% in the budget outlay from last year, introduction of PMSwasthyaYojana and government investing immensely in the healthcare segment over the next 6 years, the focus needs to be in building a healthcare ecosystem will get be effective in delivering quality primary care to all citizens of India. The allocation of Rs. 35,000 crores for COVID-19 vaccines and the targeted roll-out of the vaccination programme across the country, the government has ensured the safety and well-being of its citizens.

We are confident that with the series of interventions announced in the budget by Honorable Finance Minister, Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, our country would see the much needed recovery and boost to the healthcare sector of India. Setting the goal of ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat,’ an allocation of INR 15,700 crores to MSMEs and increasing the tax holiday for start-ups, the government has reposed its faith in the idea of entrepreneurship, thereby boosting confidence among aspiring young entrepreneurs and the start-up world”.

Mr Amitoz Singh, Founder & CEO, Nirvasa Healthcare

“With Make in India to Atmanirbhar Bharat, the FM Nirmala Sitharaman has put health and well-being at the centre of the budget by introducing it as one the six pillars of the 2021-22 historic budget. In this year’s budget, FM proposes the extension of tax holiday for start-ups by one more year, which will strengthen India’s start-up sector, especially Healthcare. Further, the investment of Rs. 64,180 crore in Healthcare under PM Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana will help drive focus towards developing capacities of healthcare systems. I’d like to congratulate FM Nirmala Sitharaman for reinvigorating the healthcare system and approaching it holistically to uplift human lives in the country.” 

Dr Ramakanta Panda, world’s leading cardiovascular thoracic surgeon, Managing Director & Vice Chairman, Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s economic vaccine, her third budget was announced today. She has spoken of six pillars of development- health & wellbeing; physical, financial and capital infrastructure; inclusive development for aspirational India; reinvigorating human capital; innovation and R & D and minimum government and maximum governance. There is definitely a major emphasis on infrastructure. They have announced a total spend of around 2 trillion on healthcare and mega national highway projects which is always a boost for the economy. The allocation to health in this budget has been increased substantially. The areas of focus will be preventive and curative healthcare as well as wellbeing. There is a 137 % increase in the allocation from the previous budget. Also 35 thousand crore has been budgeted for the COVID 19 vaccination expenditure in financial year 2021- 22.

Abhishek Trigunait, Global Chief Technology Officer at ZS

“It’s heartening to see the increased budget outlay of 2.23 lakh crore, with a whopping 137% increase from the last year. Additional healthcare spending of Rs 64,180 crore under PM Atmanirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana will enable Indian Healthcare ecosystem to plan better for curing new and emerging diseases.

The focus on public health is very visible with the setup of Integrated public health labs in every district and the goal to have 17,000 rural and 11,000 urban health and wellness centers. This will go a long way in increasing access at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, with focus on preventive and diagnostics-based healthcare for the masses. A key challenge however will remain in reaching this goal efficiently, keeping key quality targets in mind.

The spending on COVID of 35,000 crores, though expected, would go a long way in helping everyone deal with this pandemic and help India emerge stronger, reading to a speedy recovery.”

Mr. Satish Kannan – Co-founder & CEO, MediBuddy

The Union Budget 2021 will indeed be transformational for the healthcare sector in India. We were initially eyeing a marginal increase in the budget allocations and were rewarded with a record increase of 137% and Rs 2,23,846 crore has been allotted for the healthcare sector, exceeding our expectations. The new PM Aatmanirbhar Swasthya Bharat Yojna scheme seems propitious focusing on preventive, curative and health wellness. The government keeping an enduring outlay in mind has focused on gradually increasing and strengthening the operations of healthcare units across the country, in both rural and urban areas. The focal point seems to be making healthcare accessible for all. The budget also mentioned provisions for reducing air pollution, water pollution and improving nutrition, which are also necessary as they are often the underlying causes of many diseases. The government’s step to allocate 35,000 crores for the Covid-19 vaccine rollout is also truly welcome.

We are also happy that the government has laid down measures and provisions for expanding the
telemedicine and health tech sector, considering the pivotal role it has played in providing primary
care amid the pandemic. The plan to retain the tax benefits for startups for one more year is also a
welcome measure.

Mr Varun Khanna, Fullife Healthcare Director and Co Founder

“The increase in budget allocation to the healthcare sector by 137% from last year shows how committed the government is in building accessibility for all. We are happy to see the different schemes announced by the government including the allocation of Rs 35,000 crores for COVID-19 vaccines and the focus on primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare, which will help India, build a more strong health base. For key industry players and manufacturers like us, we are glad to be a part of a national effort to make India a hub for high-quality nutrition and healthcare so that we can together achieve the government’s dream of being Atmanirbhar and a healthcare business epicentre for the world. What we additionally want is the economy’s reset for a sustainable year to strengthen deliverance and supply of nutritional outcomes.”


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