Budget 2020 ensures health and education for all
Health and education are the two social pillars that showcase the prosperity of a nation. An outlay of Rs 1 lakh crore and Rs 69,000 crore on education and healthcare respectively will surely and significantly improve the education and healthcare standards of the nation.
The Bharat Net’s Rs 6,000-crore boost for Internet connectivity and Rs 8,000 crore allocation for setting up National Mission for Quantum Computing and Technology over the next five years will ensure Internet and digital technology penetrate the farthest corners of the country. This should significantly ensure penetration of information technology across educational institutions of the country.
The Budget has slashed the IT rates, which should help in increasing consumption. Overall, the budget is focussed on increasing agriculture and rural income and building infrastructure development, and truly echoes the slogan ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas.’
Abolition of dividend tax abolished will reduce the burden on companies
The focus has been given on improving health infrastructure in the country and to ensure that quality medicines at an affordable price are made available to the masses. Abolition of dividend tax abolished will reduce the burden on companies. Rs 1,000-crore allocation for technology upgradations, R&D, business strategy will provide encouragement to mid-size pharma companies in increasing exports. Generic medicines will get a boost as Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi stores will expand to every district. This would be positive for both SME pharma manufacturing units as well as small domestic medical devices makers who supply to the scheme. With the government’s initiative, not only can the industry support the government in providing affordable and efficacious medicines it will also help to mark its presence in the global markets.
There should have been a greater impetus to strengthen the R&D backbone of Indian companies
Strategic allocations have been made in this Budget for agriculture, education, health, water, sanitation and skill development. Allocations in support of the Ayushman Bharat are encouraging and help the country inch closer the ambitious
goal of universal healthcare. While we are appreciative of the focus on healthcare capacity creation, we would have loved to see a greater impetus to strengthen the R&D backbone of Indian companies. This is critical for creating sustainable competitiveness in the Indian industry in areas like medical devices where we are trying to reduce import dependence. Triggering intensive innovation engagement would have ideally complemented the medical device cess introduced.
The Finance Minister has emphasised many futuristic areas
The Finance Minister has emphasised on many futuristic areas. Recognising the new economic trends, the budget outlined plans for harnessing the potential and opportunities offered by artificial intelligence, Internet-of-Things (IoT), 3D printing, drones, DNA data storage, quantum computing, etc.
Health and wellness have received due attention in the budget
A holistic effort by the government to facilitate ease of living and ease of doing business, the 2020 budget comes as a hope for the stagnant economy. With an allocation of Rs 69,000 crore for the healthcare sector and Rs 35,600 crore for nutrition-related programmes, health and wellness have received due attention in the budget. Apart from the healthcare, promoting entrepreneurship and facilitating easy tax structures for business, strengthening the infrastructure and cold chain logistics as well as focus on skill development, are areas that will hugely benefit the nutraceutical sector in India. As entrepreneurs in the nutraceuticals space, a promising sector with huge growth potential, I see tax policies like reduction in corporate tax for companies to 22 per cent, removal of DDT and simplified return for GST being introduced from April 2020, as impactful initiatives that will help drive business.
Allocation for nutritional-related plans will go a long way in improving the nutritional quotient of its citizens
We laud the gesture of the Government of India to allocate Rs 69,000 crore for the health sector in FY 2021. Additionally, the allocation of Rs 35,600 crore for nutritional-related plans will go a long way in improving the nutritional quotient of its citizens. We welcome the government’s plan to establish two National Science Schemes for production of medicines, while also urging the government to harness the power of natural ingredients and herbs in the production of medicines, thereby making the medicines free of chemicals. The need of the hour is to improve the nutritional quotient of people by providing herbal-based health solutions, particularly in areas where modern medicine is not of much help.
Focus on child nutrition, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers will help in improving health levels
The finance minister (FM) has reiterated the government’s commitment to the health sector by providing Rs 69,000 crore for the healthcare sector. She has identified Access to Health for all sections of the society as a key part of Aspirational India, one of the three prominent themes around which the budget was woven. The FM has announced the expansion of Pradhan Mantri Jan Aroyga Yojana by creating an infrastructure for health services by facilitating the setting up of hospitals in aspirational districts. She has also proposed expansion of Jan Aushadhi Kendra schemes to all districts, which will allow citizens access to drugs to affordable prices. The focus on child nutrition, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers will also help in improving health levels.
The positive outlook from the budget will see the growth of Ayushman Bharat
The Union Budget 2020 is focussed on accelerating and enhancing the public health facilities. The positive outlook from the budget will see the growth of Ayushman Bharat, besides allocating Rs 6,400 crore for the scheme. The FM also said that the AB-PMJAY scheme would be expanded by setting up more hospitals in the tier-II and III cities under the public-private-partnership (PPP) route. This will be reaching out to villages and mass audiences. The plan of proceeds from medical devices would be used for the development of hospitals. This positive initiative by the government foresees a brighter future towards a greater growth trajectory in India and the pharma sector. The government will provide viability gap funding for the process. This apart from the expansion of the Jan Aushadhi scheme will also stock more surgical along with medicines. This would be positive for both SME pharma manufacturing units as well as small domestic medical device makers who supply to the scheme. The government also laid focus on eliminating tuberculosis from India. This is truly a public health budget.
I see a lot of turnaround potential in proposed Budget 2020, though fair implementation remains a concern
Budget 2020 was as crucial as difficult especially for certain sectors like healthcare. India’s healthcare industry needs to be strengthened manifold.
As technological progress in the healthcare sector continues to influence trends globally, with the beginning of the new decade, Budget 2020 delivers on the healthcare front seems to be a catalyst for this at a national level.
The allocation of additional funds, new reforms and the proposals of more specific initiatives have the potential to make way for unprecedented developments in the sector.
I see a lot of turnaround potential in proposed Budget 2020, though fair implementation remains a concern.
I would have liked to see a significant financial incentive to boost exports and improve the competitiveness of the pharma sector
The industry had high expectations from this Budget as it was seen to be an opportunity to announce big, bold reforms given the state of the economy. On that count, there is a degree of disappointment in some quarters as expectations have not been met.
However, I am happy to see that healthcare continues to be an integral part of the government’s key priorities. The announcement on the expansion of the Ayushman Bharat programme by setting up additional hospitals in tier II and III cities is a welcome move. Other measures in improving the healthcare infrastructure and capacity building in the sector are also commendable.
I would, however, have liked to see a significant financial incentive to boost exports and improve the competitiveness of the pharma sector. I hope this will take shape with a new export incentive scheme.
The overall thrust on ease of doing business, regulatory simplicity and policy stability should help the pharma industry scale new heights.
The overall thrust on ease of doing business in terms of regulatory simplification and policy stability should help to realise the potential of the industry going forward
The healthcare sector continues to be an integral part of the key priorities of the government. While the incentives introduced by the finance minister in terms of using taxes on medical devices to building the healthcare ecosystem and additional hospitalisation facilities in tier II and III through Ayushman Bharat is commendable, the other initiatives that will give India a competitive edge in the global healthcare market would be the New Export Incentive Scheme, making the manufacturing process align with the Make in India and Discover in India narrative. This will provide impetus to local manufacturing, handholding support for R&D. Upskilling programme for paramedical personnel will play a major role in scaling the healthcare infrastructure in the country. The overall thrust on ease of doing business in terms of regulatory simplification and policy stability should help to realise the potential of the industry going forward.
A budget focused on ‘wellness’
In this Budget, the government has allocated Rs 69,000 crore for healthcare and Rs 9,500 crore for senior citizens and Divyangs, making it a wellness budget. The allocation complements the mood and aspiration of the population in India towards wellness and preventive healthcare.
The 5 per cent cess on medical equipment imports is welcome and will help the domestic industry.
Over 6 lakh Anganwadi workers have been equipped with smartphones to track the nutrition status of 10 crore households. This is smart data analytics in the display.
The Budget did not announce anything directly for the pharma industry, although the industry was hoping for incentives in R&D and manufacturing.
In these challenging times, the pharma industry will have to innovate and undergo a digital transformation; benchmark itself with the world’s best in terms of quality in terms of products and processes. There are opportunities to be technologically innovative by acquiring companies and start-ups both on products and research front.