Charting a Healthy Future: Budget Wishlist Calls for a 5% GDP Allocation, Rural Healthcare Boost, and Global Collaboration in Indian Healthcare Reforms

“In the last Union Budget, the overall impetus for the healthcare delivery sector was missing. We are hoping that this will get addressed in the upcoming Union Budget with an increase in budget allocation to a minimum 5% of the GDP which is essential to fulfill the need gaps.

Expanding Healthcare Access
There is a need to have more hospitals and healthcare facilities in rural and suburban areas to meet the rising demand given that Ayushman Bharat is aiming to make affordable healthcare accessible for 500 million people. Hope the government will put more focus on public-private partnerships (PPP) to address this, and also permit 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in both Health Insurance and Retail Pharmacy sectors.

Medical Education and Research Reform
While the last budget announced the establishment of nursing colleges alongside medical colleges, there is an urgent need for comprehensive reform of medical education to ensure that the medical professionals of tomorrow are aligned with contemporary healthcare needs. This brings forth the need to develop medical colleges, nursing colleges and paramedical colleges in all the 500 district hospitals in the country.

The healthcare sector is evolving rapidly, and this has been fast-tracked by the pandemic and there is a significant need for the professionals of tomorrow to learn and develop as per this evolution. The revamp will also require significant investments to integrate access to technology, more practical approaches, research and innovation driven methods and qualified professionals to help shape the best minds. A substantial allocation, including the setting up of Central Medical Research and Innovation Institute in each state would be a good start. Setting up a Central Digital Health and AI University will also help deploy technological innovation in healthcare to address challenges such as accessibility and equity along with healthcare costs. Additionally, there should be a specialized university catering to NRI students intending to return to India for academic pursuits.

NRI Concessions
We were also hoping for concessions for NRIs residing abroad like reduction on TDS for those who have a source of income in India and are required to pay taxes in the country they reside in. Other considerations include affordable airline fares to SAARC and GCC countries to support the growing trade and business collaborations between the regions, along with the implementation of a health scheme for those returning to India for retirement, among other beneficial measures.”

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