By Mr Ashok Patel,
Firstly, as a manufacturer of a key lifesaving medical device such as ventilators and related equipment, we deeply appreciate what the government has done so far to boost the domestic manufacturing of ventilators. However, now that the Budget is less than a month away, we expect the government to even go a step further.
For instance, in continuity with the spirit to promote indigenization with the larger goal of moving towards an Atmanirbhar Bharat, the government could consider raising import duties on medical devices valued at less than 50 lakh to a flat 25 per cent from the existing 0 to 10 per cent.
As a corollary, it should also abolish custom duties on raw material imported to be used in the manufacturing of medical devices domestically. With the 5 per cent healthcare cess and social welfare surcharge amounting to anything between 1.5 to 2 per cent, the cost of the raw material in total rises by about 7 per cent rendering the final domestic product somewhat less competitive.
Furthermore, the government should also come up with preferential policies in terms of financing of medical devices such as easy loans, long-term maturity etc. In addition to providing for government-backed warehousing facilities at city levels for medical device manufacturers, any government tender for medical devices must reserve at least 60 per cent of the total contract value, irrespective of the actual amount, for domestic manufacturers in terms of procurement.
These measures would further catalyze the ongoing drive towards accomplishing an Atmanirbhar Bharat.
(The author is the founder & CEO of Max Ventilators)