With the Union Budget for the year 2015-2016 just behind us, the pink papers are widespread with what Finance Minister (FM) Arun Jaitley has delivered to the nation. While some are with the notions that the budget is more inclined towards corporates and there is very less for a common man, there are others too who feel that the budget is not a big bang and it is for growth.
The Union Minister for health & Family Welfare, J P Nadda has termed the Budget 2015-2016 announced by the Finance Minister as balanced, progressive, pragmatic and pro-people. He said that the budget will lead to all around social and economic development that is inclusive and outcome oriented.
Further, Union Health Minister also stated that the resolve to support the health sector in a big way has been shown by the outlay for health in the Budget of Rs. 33,150 crore. Moreover, announcement of five AIIMS in Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Assam and Tamil Nadu and AIIMS-like institute in Bihar will provide a quantum jump in healthcare in these states and the neighbouring areas. “I welcome the move towards the Universal Social Security System backed by Accident Insurance and BimaYojana”, ShriNadda stated.
With the ministries focus on various issues including on Swachch Bharat and linking this with healthcare will address broad-based health issues in the country. It has been always believed that that good health will enable higher productivity in various sectors, and thus forms an integral component of the development agenda of the country.
While, this is what government has felt about the Indian healthcare, now let’s delve a little deeper to see how these healthcare giants translates this budget for you in their dialectal.
Shashank ND, Founder & CEO, Practo
“Prevention is better than cure and we applaud the finance minister’s efforts to focus on preventive healthcare for our citizens by targeting 6 crore toilets under the Swacch Bharat campaign. This will have a huge impact on making our nation healthier.
We’re also happy with government’s increased focus and recognition towards the Indian Start up industry. Over the last few years, the Indian Start up industry has witnessed tremendous success in providing innovative services to the nation, along with generating substantial employment opportunities. The financial allocation of Rs 1000 cr under the SETU – Self Employment & Talent Utilization program will drastically help boost the start-up ecosystem in India. The additional focus towards the strengthening of the IT infrastructure, the backbone of the Indian start up industry will accelerate the industry growth.
As a young company at the intersection of health and technology we’re very pleased with the government’s focus on both these sectors and look forward to working with various stakeholders to improve healthcare access for a Digital India”
Munish Daga, CEO, Remedinet Technologies
“In a fresh attempt to make healthcare accessible and affordable, the union budget 2015-16 released today spoke about the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana. This is a universal social security scheme for the poor and the underprivileged, enabling the beneficiaries to have access to insurance products. Additionally, the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, linked to Jan Dhan will provide a cover of 2 lakhs for accidental death risks for a mere premium of Rs. 1 per month.
The increase in the limit of tax deduction for health premium from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 30,000 for senior citizens and to 25,000 for others and subsidizing premium for the elderly will definitely encourage citizens to buy health cover. While these initiatives will certainly boost reach and affordability of healthcare services, the need for effective delivery mechanisms for all these schemes remains unaddressed.
The schemes aim to cover a large section of the society and thus, a huge influx for healthcare demands. To cater to such demands, there needs to be a push for an efficient healthcare delivery mechanism, one that is backed by solid technology. Technology intensive processes will make healthcare delivery simple, standard, transparent, easy, and cost-effective. Without the integration of robust technology across all sectors including healthcare, the dream of achieving a cashless Indian society is impossible. “
Mr. Amol Naikawadi Joint Managing Director, Indus Health Plus
“The increase in tax exemption limit was a positive move to encourage people to equip themselves with health insurance. Another similar move was the increase in exemption limit for NPS scheme. The pharmaceutical industry did not see any major changes from the budget. Overall we see senior citizens been given many incentives in this budget especially when it comes to healthcare. However we are hopeful that government will take some more steps by looking at some reforms this year focusing on health insurance premium and medical treatment.
Siddhartha Bhattacharya, Country Manager, India, ACCESS Health
”It is heartening to see that the budget recognizes health enablers like cleanliness, sanitation and welfare of general population, particularly the vulnerable sections. However, a distinction has to be made between core healthcare and areas where cross linkages exist between different ministries. India’s core health care systems require smart investments in human resources, capacity building, infrastructure, technology and integrated care in both urban and rural setups. We hope that the new health policy on the anvil will address this critical need.”
Ambarish Gupta, CEO and Founder, Knowlarity Communications to the Union Budget presented today:
With the latest budget release by Arun Jaitley, it was expected that many open ended loops will be closed for tech start-ups like tax relaxation, more youth programs for budding entrepreneurs, relaxation for angel investors etc. Even though a promising budget is released from a start-up perspective and rate of Income-tax on royalty and fees for technical services reduced from 25% to 10% to facilitate technology inflow, few of the expected changes have been postponed for next year such as service tax relaxation on products and the simplifying the complex Company Act 2013.
Currently initial sum of Rs 150 crore is promised to create world class IT hub to take advantage of our competitiveness. Other concerns of IT industries for a more liberal system of raising global capital, incubation facilities in our Centres of Excellence, funding for seed capital and growth, and ease of doing business etc. would be addressed for creating hundreds of billion dollars in value. We are expecting these programs will add on to our advantage with other initiatives like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’. Government is also establishing the mechanism ‘self-employment’ to support all aspects of a start-up business. This would be beneficial to build new or existing start-ups from the scratch. The budget also included hopes to improve ease of doing business in India with minimum government and maximum governance.
One of the most promising aspects was about reducing the corporate tax from 30% to 25%, but it is again a plan which will be executed in the next 4 years. Government is also establishing the mechanism ‘self-employment’ to support all aspects of a start-up business. SETU (Self-Employment and Talent Utilization) will be set up as techno-financial, incubation and facilitation programme to support growing start-ups. 1000 crore is promised to be set aside as initial amount in NITI. These initiatives will definitely encourage and grow the spirit of entrepreneurship – to turn youth into job creators.
Though there is nothing much in the bucket for the angel investors who are the main source for any start up growth, we hope that the promised programs will be executed effectively & results would be seen unlike last year.
Nigel Eastwood, CEO, New Call Telecom
“The Government delivers on its promise of strengthening the infrastructure sector. We, at New Call Telecom, strongly believe that small and medium sized companies hold the key to growth and by giving start-ups a boost will only expedite their growth story. The reduction in corporate tax from 30% to 25% over next 4 years is a welcome one. The reduction on taxes on technical services from 25% to 10% will also cut down costs for service providers like us who have focused plans for realizing the Digital India dream. Overall the budget looks realistic and a stepping stone to India’s growth story. I second the Finance Minister – India is about to take off.”
Sanjeev Sarin, Founder & CEO, Ozone Networks
“In my view, the budget reflects a lot of confidence that the new Government has shown since the time it took charge of the office. It also projects a highly positive and optimistic roadmap for companies and investors looking to do business in India, thereby giving a boost of confidence to FDI in India and clearly sending out a signal that it’s simpler and lucrative to do business in India. It’s a budget for the working class and professionals. It gives a big boost to the farming and manufacturing sector and also encourages employment opportunities by giving preference and building a strong foundation to domestic manufacturing in India. A very encouraging step forward is the decision to induce investment by 70,000 crore in the infrastructure sector for FY 15-16. Health & Education has been a strong focus in the budget and the Government should be lauded for its decision to provide concession to senior citizen on medical expenses.”