Letters to the FinMin: Start-ups deserve a 2-year tax

by Jayadeep Reddy, CEO & MD, e Health Access Pvt Ltd

Dear Mr Finance Minister,

In times where practically everything is available at the click of a button, healthcare is being increasingly delivered in unconventional ways. The truth is, healthcare is becoming much more accessible as information about health and medicine is now easily available to the public. So are health care services. Testing and diagnostics too have benefitted greatly from the digital and information age.

Since the public is becoming more and more accepting of these modes of healthcare delivery, a plethora of start-ups is entering this domain. But it is crucial that start-ups sector receive the requisite support so that the benefits reach the public efficiently and effectively. If the government so chooses, who knows, we may even see an Apple or a Google being built in India !

Boost technology that supports healthcare

Ideally, healthcare should account for 10 per cent of our budget as this an essential service. When you look at what other countries are spending on healthcare vis-à-vis India ’s GDP, we are lagging far behind. So, for instance, technologies that enable patients without proper medical facilities to reach a doctor must be incentivised. Telemedicine is one such area. While seeking investment, healthcare entrepreneurs should be able to justify how their technology reduces costs for the taxpayer, drives revenues for device makers, creates convenience for patients and improves the reach and care of doctors. It is not difficult to demonstrate this.

This year, we expect a policy framework for telemedicine that will attract substantial FDI for India .

Give back to society

About 15-18 per cent of our profits go towards taxes but this money is not being ploughed back to society. Even though the budget never fails to sound good on paper, the fact is, political and bureaucratic corruption doesn’t allow these noble intentions to trickle down to either the healthcare industry or consumers. While the budget should reduce the widening fiscal deficit, it must also bridge the expanding wealth gap. Thus, there is need for caution and a meaningful evaluation of tax money before it is assigned to various sectors.

Encourage start-ups

Start-ups have an important role to play in the economy today and the budget can boost the entrepreneurial spirit by offering a tax rebate for up to 2 years. Innovation and entrepreneurship fuels growth. Support from the government will enable entrepreneurs to provide employment and reverse the brain drain. In other words, the government should create an investment-friendly environment, which results in more business opportunities in India .

Jayadeep Reddy, who has worked as a manager and a consultant in the hospital and pharmaceutical industry, set up e health Access Pvt Ltd at the age of 26. The company provides healthcare solutions through telemedicine technology.

-As told to Nikita Peer

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