Budget 2017, does it hits the healthcare sector target?

While revealing his fourth budget, Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister, Government of India, has come up with plethora of proposals for the medical and healthcare industry

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While revealing his fourth budget, Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister, Government of India, has come up with plethora of proposals for the medical and healthcare industry. But it seems like the FM has not been able to satisfy each member of this vast sector. The budget has certainly brought a wide smile on the faces of people dealing with medical devices but it didn't back the government's vision to make India one of the top three pharmaceutical markets by 2020.

In a bid to beef up the medical education in the country, Jaitley announced installing two new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Gujarat and Jharkhand, while also creating 25,000 more post graduate seats in medicine.

Speaking about the recently pitched proposals, Utkarsh Palnitkar, Partner and Head- Life Sciences, Partner and Head- Infrastructure, Government and Healthcare, KPMG, India said, "The life sciences sector had great expectations from the Budget not only from a fiscal incentives perspective but also from a regulatory angle; more so, given the government's vision of making India one of the top three pharmaceutical markets by 2020."

"However, this year too, no specific impetus was given to the sector. While the move to eradicate certain diseases; the proposal to set up two new AIIMS; additional post-graduate medical seats; proposed amendments in the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules; and new rules for medical devices are welcome, the Budget has not specifically addressed imminent challenges directly affecting the sector," Palnitkar said.

He also elaborated by stating that if the country wants to survive in this competitive global market, the government needs to focus on some specific areas. "In order to stay competitive in the overseas market and given the uncertain global climate, it was expected that specific impetus or incentives would be given to innovation in the form of weighted deduction on R&D, incentives for patents, exemptions of certain duties and taxes, etc. These demands remained largely unaddressed, giving no specific reason to cheer for the sector as a whole in 2017-18," he said.

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