Healthcare service providers want the government to increase healthcare spending in this year's Budget and ramp up infrastructure in the sector.
"The public spend in healthcare needs to increase from the current 1.2 per cent to at least 2.5 percent of GDP in the next 3 years, much of which should be invested in creating and modernising our infrastructure. Hopefully, the budget for 2021-22 would take the important first step towards this," Manipal Hospitals MD & CEO Dilip Jose said in a statement.
Jose added that the immediate and proactive actions of the government and the tireless efforts of healthcare workers helped the country navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, but it also exposed the loopholes in the healthcare system and highlighted the need for a major infrastructure ramp.
Calling every hurdle an opportunity, Nikhil Baheti, Global CFO, LAXAI Life Science wants the government to use the hurdle posed by the pandemic as an opportunity to make India a supply partner for the world.
He said, "Government should use this opportunity and introduce a landmark budget helping this shift. Among other things it should focus on incentivising domestic Pharma purchases, push for Make In India, encouragement to start-ups and to facilitate better infrastructure."
Metropolis Healthcare Promoter & MD Ameera Shah said, "The lack of adequate public health infrastructure in India combined with a high out-of-pocket expenditure imposes a high financial burden on Indian households and therefore increasing the healthcare budget allocation in the coming decade is of utmost importance".
The need of the hour is to strengthen the provisioning of healthcare services through public-private partnerships, she added.
"While the healthcare segment has been a key focus area and part of country's development plan through various comprehensive initiatives including Swachh Bharat, Ayushman Bharat, National Digital Health Mission and now '"Mission COVID Suraksha'", the long-term response to the virus needs a significant part of budget allocation," SRL Diagnostics CEO Anand K said.
Vandana Luthra, Founder and Co-chairperson, VLCC Group said the pandemic has highlighted the importance of healthy living and the government should bring wellness programmes for people suffering from lifestyle related ailments under health insurance coverage. This would help reduce the burden of curative healthcare infrastructure in the country.
Luthra said, "Higher resource allocation for improving the Skill Development ecosystem in the country would also be a welcome move. The fact is skilling / reskilling / upskilling of youth is a critical need given that over a third of the country's population will be in the 10 to 34 age group in 2021 and as per some estimates over 300 million youth need to be given skills training for ensuring gainful employment for them."