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OEM Update

Healthcare industry awaits infra status

July 31, 2009 11:04 am

Healthcare industry awaits infra status
 
The flourishing and robust healthcare industry has long been requesting the government to provide infrastructure status to induce the private sector to invest, while keeping in mind the long gestation period for break-even of hospital projects. The industry is hopeful that in the new annual budget, the government would grant ‘infrastructure status’ to the sector. It will help raise investments to create a modern healthcare delivery system.
 
Apart from that, there should be special incentives and concessional interest rate for hospitals and diagnostic centres being established in smaller towns and rural areas. The last year’s budget saw the government granting tax holidays to healthcare establishments starting in tier 2 and 3 cities. Similar initiatives need to be carried out this year as well.
 
The government should also provide special tax concessions for encouraging Public-Private Partnership initiatives in the industry. The excise duty and value-added tax being charged on medical equipment and specialty medical consumables should be completely removed to reduce cost of diagnosis and treatment.
 
During the Union Budget 2008 speech, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said, “Healthcare was one of the pillars of social sector reforms in India.” He substantiated his announcement with an increase of public spending by nearly 15 per cent, taking the same to Rs 16,543 crore. Moreover, the reforms also saw a five-year tax holiday for hospitals in non-tier-1 cities, Rs 12,050 crore for the National Rural Health
Mission and Rs 993 crore for HIV/Aids prevention.

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