'Need to incentivise R&D in Basic Medical Sciences'

Budget 2021 | 'Need to incentivise R&D in Basic Medical Sciences, says Frontier Lifeline Hospital CEO

K M Cherian. Credit: Frontier Lifeline Hospital.

By Dr K M Cherian,

In a country like ours, healthcare has always been expanding and it is only fair that the dire concerns of this sector should be addressed. Firstly, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that frontline workers & medical professionals are of utmost importance to the nation. The healthcare system of a country during the Covid pandemic became a testament to its strength. In a populated country like ours, there is a significant lack of medical and healthcare professionals. It is imperative to make provisions in budget to address this issue by providing funds for skilling in educational institutions- both private and public.

There is a dire need to incentivise R&D in Basic Medical Sciences and other areas, to ensure progress of indigenous technology. It is high time we start giving importance to innovation within the nation. The government has to support the progress, without discrimination.

Take my example- I left my permanent resident status in the US and Australia, to come and serve my country. I commenced the job in our motherland at a meagre salary bearing all difficulties of government restrictions and rules. I have tried my best, contributing and opening up new technologies in the country. But I was not encouraged to take any advantage of knowledge due to bureaucratic and other regulatory restrictions. The way to go forward in terms of research especially in indigenous research to achieve the goal of MAKE IN INDIA, and make affordable healthcare for common man has not been supported by Government agencies including Financial institutions such as Public banks and other scientific bodies of govt of India such DST, DBT etc. I wanted to build India’s first Bio-medical science park, which is tied up in red-tapism.

Last year, I filed a Public Interest litigation (PIL) in the Madras High Court expressing deep anguish over numerous obstacles faced by scientists across the country due to lack of farsighted government policies for the promotion of medical research. We are yet to see any results. Even recommendations from NITI Aayog has been ignored.

I sincerely hope and wish, that there are effective policy changes as promised by Hon’ble Prime Minister will help in the prospective of future generations and medical professionals. It is important to note that world economic forum has declared 2030 as decade bio-economy.

Even though the Government has been condemning about brain drain from India, I sincerely hope the brains will not be in the drainage.

(The author is CEO & Chairman, Frontier Lifeline Hospital)