#Budget2021: MedTech sector gives thumbs up, hopes govt will address concerns

A look at the reactions of key stakeholders representing Indian and multi-national companies from the medical technology landscape

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New Delhi: While top Indian medical technology associations have appreciated the massive allocation for healthcare in the ‘Union Budget 2021’, they have also hoped that their respective concerns would be addressed in the due time.
While Pavan Choudary, Chairman and Director General, Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI) expressed his disappointment over the non-inclusion of many key demands, he at the same time is happy about health being made a top priority. He mentioned, “The rolling back of the health cess is our other demand which will help us preserve jobs, jobs which are instrumental in making the Healthcare workers become patient ready at the time of a healthcare crisis like this. In a similar expression of patient interest, we have also sought that the GST slab for medical devices be brought down from 12% to the rate of preferential products i.e. 5%. Though these demands have not been accepted yet, we are pleased to note that the budget is reflective of the realization that healthcare is a vital sector and the government is going in a thorough fact-finding mode to make evidence-based fiscal policy.”
“We are quite sure that this mode will automatically throw up the real performances of various industry groups against their promises,” said Mr Choudary.
Hailing the Union budget 2021, Rajiv Nath, Forum Coordinator of Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMeD) said “Sometimes a crisis helps to come out with bolder decisions. Major fillip to Healthcare through PM Atmanirbhar Swastha Bharat Yojna, PLI Scheme, Health Infra allocation, focus on new and emerging diseases & health labs will surely address major gaps.”
“Finally, we may have something to help accelerate medical devices manufacturing as a Make in India enabler so that Indian National Healthcare security concerns are addressed – the inadequacy of which is being exposed in the crisis to address the coronavirus epidemic preparedness. We look forward to reading the fine print,” Mr Nath said.
Pointing towards the disappointment of Indian Medical Device Industry over the absence of any changes in custom duty as done for other sectors, Mr Nath said that he was very hopeful that the fine print of the Union Budget would have possibly acted upon our recommendations on a Predictable Tariff Policy for a Make in India push for Phased Manufacturing Plan for Components and Finished Medical Devices and allocations for Testing infrastructure as well as for Med Tech Parks and Cluster developments.
“Supporting Policies are needed so that Indian Medical Devices Industry can make quality healthcare accessible and affordable for common masses, aim to place India among the Top 5 Medical Devices manufacturing hubs worldwide and help end the 85% import dependence forced upon us and an ever-increasing import bill of over Rs. 42,000 Crore,” concluded Mr. Nath.
As per A Ganesan, Group Vice Chairman, Neuberg Diagnostics, “With a substantial increase in healthcare outlay, the government has given a much-needed shot in the sector’s arm. With a substantial increase in healthcare outlay and key emphasis on public-private partnerships, the entire value-chain in the healthcare sector will gain new momentum and will see major collaborations amongst stakeholders.”
“The announcements of centrally funded – Aatmanirbhar Health Yojana will strengthen our primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare, and setting up of 15 health emergency centers with a focus on curative and preventive health and wellbeing will scale up the delivery of affordable healthcare services,” added Mr Ganesan.