Budget 2019: Healthcare startup wishlist for FinMin

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The new government is all set to roll out the first set of policies as part of the budget. While last year, a lot of focus was given to start-ups and making things conducive for them, this year, the policies must be aimed at more concrete action. Following are the quotes on pre-budget expectations from healthcare industry leaders.

 

Ms Meena Ganesh, MD & CEO, Portea Medical  

It is heartening to see how the government has been promoting healthcare startups in India and increasing the spending on healthcare. However, it comes as a disappointment to observe how life-saving equipment such as ventilators, BIPAP and CPAP, etc. have been placed under heavy taxes. Even something as basic as crutches and wheelchairs has been put under the 5% to 7.5% GST bracket. These are essentials and should not have been taxed. It is perplexing to see how the medical equipment spare parts are being taxed under the highest slot of 28% GST. This is highly debilitating for the healthcare industry. We hope that there will be a critical evaluation of the situation and that there will be serious thought given for making healthcare essential equipment tax free.  

 

Ms Saroja Yeramilli, CEO and Founder, Melorra  

The government had taken some good measures in the interim budget earlier. It is really encouraging to see them emphasizing on mutual progress and prosperity across all sections of society. We believe that there is a need to make ESOP taxation available in the hands of the employee at the time of sale, as opposed to during the time of exercising rights. To bolster start-ups and their financial planning, it is important to make a special accounting software / ERP available to those with a turnover of less than INR 100 crore, free of cost. There must also be capitalization of all marketing and brand-related expenses in the initial 5 years of business. We also hope the government will consider contributing towards the employer PF portion without any restrictions on turnover and headcount for the initial 5 years.

 

Mr Saurabh Agarwal, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Medlife.com    

The healthcare sector is one of the biggest contributors to the Indian economy and accounts for 6% of the country’s GDP. However, it is also fragmented due to issues such as over-dependence on a few institutions, delay in access to timely and quality treatment, lack of primary care infrastructure, and high costs. With Shri Narendra Modi assuming office once again as the Hon’ble Prime Minister, we are hopeful of some conducive policies for this sector in the budget ahead. Few of our expectations from the budgets include better healthcare access and infrastructure, health insurance, focus on preventive care and Diagnostics expanding the reach of Ayushman Bharat, and most importantly approval of E-pharmacy rules to ensure availability of medicines across the country. There is an urgent and massive need for innovative, tech-based, large-scale as well as affordable healthcare solutions in the country. With the government pushing for affordable and accessible healthcare in its last term, we expect this year’s budget to take some concrete steps towards the same this year. 

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