'Make input tax credit available for healthcare'

Ms. Niira Radia, Chairperson, Nayati Healthcare

The three focus areas for government to consider in the upcoming budget. -- One, the capital intensive nature of the sector. Since healthcare comes under Essential Services Act, it is imperative that it be accorded priority sector status. The technologies deployed in super specialization hospitals are imported and are expensive since there is no indigenous equivalent. Duties levied on these imported equipments should be reduced or removed. Also, input tax credit should be made available for healthcare. Good health is a basic right to dignity of every citizen.

Second, and most important part, is the concentration of healthcare services in the metros. Whilst 80% of the population lives in the non-metros and rural areas, yet concentration of hospitals are in the metros. The Government needs to incentivize creation of tertiary care facilities in tier 2 and 3 cities to boost the overall healthcare ecosystem of the country, just the way it was done in telecom and aviation. Whilst Ayushman Bharat is a laudable initiative as it aims to reach low income groups on a large scale, we need infrastructure in these smaller towns to cater to the very patient the scheme intends to serve. 

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Third, the Ayushman Bharat scheme needs to relook at its pricing from an economic viability and large scale participation of the private tertiary care hospitals. While the efforts of the Govt to drive preventive healthcare for the masses is significant, still more budget allocation is required which makes private sector hospital participation realistic and feasible. Likewise other govt. schemes need to learn from Ayushman on its efficient payment process which is fast tracks patient approvals as well as payments to the hospitals. This will help hospitals to participate enthusiastically for all govt. led schemes.

Niira Radia is the Chairperson of Nayati Healthcare. 

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