Express Pharma

Budget Blues


Positive budget, must ensure implementation and delivery
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson, Biocon

20150331ep34FM’s speech was clear and compelling showing a positive roadmap for the Indian economy. The budget has addressed key needs of both corporate and social sectors. However, I expected more granularity for the implementation of the flagship ‘Make in India’ programme. The Skill India, Swachh Bharat and a new fund for start-ups is a welcome move, however, I expected more enabling provisions that would encourage investor funding.

The setting up of the Atal Innovation Mission with an outlay of Rs 150 crore is a step in the right direction, but it is more in the nature of modest seed funding to ‘Innovate in India’.

The budget does not provide any significant impetus to R&D in the pharma and life sciences.

The proposed Universal Social Security System is perhaps the most important reform which I hope in time, will be linked to universal healthcare.

The reduction in corporate tax, commitment to GST implementation, deferment of General Anti Avoidance Rules (GAAR) and easier norms for overseas investors to invest in AIFs are expected to improve the investment climate in the country.

Overall the budget is a clear roadmap for investment and growth. However, we must ensure implementation and delivery of all these proposals to take us to the promised destination.

There is no direct impetus to the pharma industry
Sanjay Murdeshwar, Managing Director, AstraZeneca Pharma India Ltd (AZPIL)

20150331ep35Overall, it is a positive and balanced budget. Increase in infrastructure investments, roll out of GST next year, single window in regulatory processes and phased reduction in corporate tax are steps in the right direction.

Even though there is no direct impetus to the pharmaceutical industry, plans announced for the healthcare sector are welcome. Setting up of five new AIIMS across the country will help patients and medical education. Three more National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research will play an important role in bridging the skill gap. The National Skills Mission is an excellent endeavour in this area. Improving accessibility to healthcare has been stimulated through raise in health insurance premium from Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000. Rs 150-crore announced for scientific research is a positive move, though incentivising medical/ pharma research would have helped trigger more R&D investments into the sector.

This is a positive start with more hits and not many misses, it remains to be seen how effectively it will be implemented.

Atal Innovation Mission will foster culture of innovation
Rajiv Gandhi, CEO and MD, Hester Biosciences

20150331ep36There are lot of positives in this budget. FM has focused on economic reforms and on reviving the investment cycle in the country. Setting up Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and earmarking a budget of Rs 150 crore will foster a culture of innovation, R&D and scientific research in India. Launching three new National Institutes of Pharmaceutical Education and Research in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh will also give a boost to the R&D in pharma sector. Proposal to reduce corporate tax from 30 per cent to 25 per cent and rationalisation of exemptions along with commitment to implement GST from April, 2016 are welcome steps.

All in all, it is a balanced budget.

Budget had very little measures specific to support the growth of pharma industry
Nitin Goel, Managing Director, IMS Health South Asia

20150331ep37The proposal to set up three National Institute of Pharmaceuticals Education and Research is a welcome move from a long-term perspective. However, overall the budget had very little measures specific to support the growth of pharma industry. Considering the low investment in R&D in the sector, specific measures to incentivise companies on R&D was expected and the budget did not provide any guidance in this direction.

Similarly, there have been no initiatives announced to boost the bulk drugs industry which is facing stiff competition from China.

Breath taking effort by FM
Dr Habil Khorakiwala, Chairman, Wockhardt

20150331ep38Indeed a breath taking effort by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. It envelops every section of society and commits to initiate social security network
for all.

There are measures for global competit-iveness and “Make in India’ – a reality.

Rs-150 cr too little for innovation fund
Satish Reddy, Chairman of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories

20150331ep39The budget is a clear one, with a focused growth trajectory for the next three-four years, broadly in line with the expectations of India Inc. The significant outlays on infrastructure of Rs 70,000 crores and power projects that will provide a much needed additional 4k MW, are steps in the right direction towards revitalising the investment climate in the economy.

While I believe this (the revision in the corporate tax structure) lays out a path for an easier and simplified tax administration in terms of exemptions being rationalised, we will need to see what the fine print entails on this front.

The announcement to implement the GST regime from April 2016 is a good step, which is long overdue. The reduction in the inverted customs duty structure of 22 items will help the ‘Make in India’ initiative of PM Modi and is another positive step in the right direction.

The introduction of a bankruptcy law, on the lines of globally accepted norms, will go a long way to streamline business processes and loopholes, which is what India needs. However, one of the disappointing aspects of an otherwise good budget, was the grossly inadequate outlay of just Rs 150 crores on a fund that was announced to fuel innovation. Much more could have been done in this area, especially from a pharma industry perspective, so as to really propel India’s healthcare to a whole new level.

This budget provides a lot of clarity and much needed direction and will serve well in setting the agenda for positive growth and ease of doing business.

No specific impetus for pharma
Utkarsh Palnitkar, Head of Advisory and national leader of pharma sector, KPMG

20150331ep40Like most other sectors, the pharma sector also had high expectations, more so from the perspective of ‘Make in India’ campaign where the pharma sector has been a shining example of India’s growing dominance.

It was expected that specific impetus be given to the pharma manufacturing through announcements of clusters and concession related to taxation related to manufacturing as well as the irritants such as service tax on clinical trials.

As such other than the overall announcement of ‘Health for All’ and creation of NIPER in three states, the budget does not any specific impetus to the pharma sector.”

It remains to be seen if further study of the budget yields any good news for the pharma sector.

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