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Emphasis on healthcare low compared to requirement

It is a social budget for Bharat…which is required and necessary but some of the key sectors could have received more emphasis

Ranjit Shahani        Last Updated: February 29, 2016  | 19:44 IST
Ranjit Shahani, Novartis India Limited
Ranjit Shahani, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Novartis India Limited

Budget is a journey and clearly one year does not tell the full story - but this was Budget No. 3, so expectations were singularly high

It is a social budget for Bharat…which is required and necessary but some of the key sectors could have received more emphasis

Healthcare even though mentioned, the scale of what is required vs actual emphasis was singularly low. The insurance cover for BPL families is commendable. However removing duties only on dialysis machines was a drop in the ocean particularly given the fact that just two weeks ago the FM had increased customs duties on 76 life saving drugs including even those on drugs donated! Opening 3,000 Jan Aushadhi stores in quite an unambitious target given that there are 650,000 pharmacies in the country!

A long standing need has been to increase healthcare investments as percent of the GDP to 2.5 per cent from the abysmal 0.8 per cent. There has been mention of this to go for this number each year - but there is no movement whatsoever.

HIGHLIGHTS:Union Budget 2016

Higher education should have been liberalised. If we want to make world class universities in India when we do not figure even in the top 200 then we should allow private public partnership, liberalised norms for setting up new innovative educational institutions including support from leading international universities to build capacity in the education sector.

Overall there are a slew of measures that will help keep the economy in the kick-started mode as outlined in the FMs nine strategic pillars.

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