Govt has given a cold shoulder to MedTech sector in Budget 2018: AIMED

As per the Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMeD), the union budget 2018 has given step-motherly treatment to the medical devices sector and has not met the expectations of the domestic industry

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New Delhi: The Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMeD) has expressed deep disappointment and anguish over the Union Budget 2018-19 giving cold shoulder to the Indian medical device industry.

In his reaction, Mr Rajiv Nath, Forum Coordinator, AIMED explained, “We were expecting the government to move forward on promised reforms and anticipated conducive measures to boost domestic manufacturing of the medical devices. It is frustrating that the government has not included any measures for promoting the growth of $10 billion Indian Medical Device market in the Union Budget 2018-19 as has been done for consumer electronics, food processing, footwear, etc. It reeks of step-motherly treatment.”

Mr Nath added: “The sector was looking forward to clear and specific promotional measures since it was one of the first five sectors included for ‘Make in India’ initiative. Regrettably, nothing has been done to improve domestic manufacturing in the sector. And that too when the Indian medical device industry has opted for self regulation wherever necessary for strengthening the government’s hands  in improving affordable healthcare in the country.”

“Though budget’s focus on providing universal healthcare services is a step in the right direction for building a healthy nation, the domestic industry is left in the lurch by not giving it necessary protection against imports,” Mr Nath felt.

Mr Nath mentioned that nominal tweaking in custom duty applicable to medical devices is urgently needed to address Rs 27,300 crore import bill and 70-90% import dependency.

“If the government is still serious about ‘Make in India’ it can still include some minor legitimate demands of our industry which will go a long way in making medical device industry internationally competitive and world class and boost ‘Make in India’ program,” he said while explaining, “The government needs to increase the basic import duty on medical devices in the range of 10-15 per cent to make manufacturing more viable than importing, and give nominal protection to investors. The reduction of duty on raw materials to produce these devices and diagnostics to 2.5% must happen too.”