The healthcare industry on July 5 expressed disappointment over the Union Budget 2019-20 saying it hardly touched upon the sector and asked the government to consider increasing public spending on healthcare.
"There has been no significant announcements pertaining to healthcare in Union Budget. While there was hope that the allocation for health sector in view of the requirement for funding the Ayushman Bharat, this has not been allocated," Aster DM Healthcare Founder Chairman and Managing Director Azad Moopen said.
It is good that the focus is in education and "I hope that there will be more funding for starting and upgrading medical colleges," he added.
While appreciating the overall Budget and terming it a holistic and visionary Budget with many positives for the rural and social sector, Biocon CMD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said, "...however, absence of any incentive for healthcare in the budget is a big miss."
Max Healthcare in a statement said: "The private healthcare sector had a lot of expectations from the Union Budget. Unfortunately, the Union finance minister in her speech in Parliament, hardly touched upon this sector."
The private healthcare sector has been requesting the government to explore opportunities for collaboration and working together towards strengthening public healthcare initiatives as well as ironing out gaps in the implementation of Ayushman Bharat initiatives announced last year. Sadly, little progress has been made, the statement said.
"We urge the finance minister to consider increasing public spending on healthcare to achieve the vision of 'healthcare for all' in the foreseeable future," it added.
Industry body All India Medical Devices (AiMeD) expressed deep anguish over continued neglect of the domestic medical devices manufacturers by the government.
"It is appalling to notice that for the past 3 years, it is the first Budget with zero mention on healthcare not even higher allocation for Ayushman Bharat," AiMeD Forum Coordinator Rajiv Nath said.
Despite umpteen reminders, the Union Budget 2019-20 has not heeded to AiMeD's suggestions on extending tax and non-tax protection to the domestic medical devices industry, he added.
"While the government laid a lot of emphasis on cleanliness and sanitation, we were hoping to see reforms in the healthcare sector. One of the points overlooked in the Union Budget 2019 is the lack of impetus for the emergency medical services sector," Ziqitza Healthcare Chief Financial Officer Manish Sacheti said.
Though there have been no direct mentions for the healthcare industry, the proposed Rs 100 lakh crore investment in infrastructure in the next 5 years could pave way for a boost in the healthcare segment, P D Hinduja Hospital & MRC CEO Gautam Khanna said.