Ajay Poddar, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Syenergy Environics shares his expectations from Union Budget 2023-2024
It’s that time of year when the business community awaits the union budget, which sets the tone for the entire year. It is logical to expect the spotlight to be on the healthcare sector, in addition to stimulus for economic growth and inclusion of the marginalized.
Healthcare in India needs focused investment. With a population of over 1.3 billion, providing quality healthcare to all citizens is a significant challenge for the government. To make healthcare more affordable in India, we need involvement from the public and private sector.
As the Union Budget for 2023 approaches, the healthcare sector in India has high expectations for the government to prioritize their needs and take measures to improve affordability and accessibility.
Funding via public and private sector
The government must be an enabler and consistent policy maker to ensure better public and private investment in the healthcare industry for sustained economic growth. With a healthy population, economic growth will naturally come. Besides this, it needs commercially low capital-intensive projects at district and taluka levels to address large patient volumes and affordable access pricing to care for quality services.
Need to focus on digitization
The diagnostic sector in India is expected to focus on digitization, preventive testing, and a shift in lifestyle in the coming years. The government should continue to partner with private diagnostic industry players and enforce real-time data collection for disease surveillance and healthcare research.
Rapid and accurate diagnosis is essential for patient wellness and effective health management. We need affordable diagnostics, wellness promotion, and multi-disease diagnostic platforms. Government initiatives like the NHM’s Free Essential Diagnostics Initiative can help address the high cost of diagnostics. Mobile diagnostic facilities, like those rolled out in North-East India this year, should be expanded to border districts and remote areas to address the spread of disease and protect livelihoods during pandemics.
Inclusion of health insurance coverage for wellness tests and Ayush treatments
Health insurance that covers wellness tests and Ayush treatments could be a vital component of the Indian Union Budget for 2023. By providing coverage for these types of services, health insurance plans can help increase access to preventive and alternative healthcare for Indians. Within this budget, the government should develop a mechanism and policy framework allowing health insurance to cover wellness tests and Ayush treatments. In addition, research encouragement and funding could bring healthcare costs down to Rs 1000 per person per annum.
Funding for pilot projects
It is also recommended that there should be funding for pilot projects in evolving segments like wellness, pre-symptomatic tests, non-intrusive treatments and Ayurveda.
Focus on R&D on geopathic stress
Policy intervention and promotion in research in areas such as harmful Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) emitted during mobile and electronic device usage is also urgently required since we are adding to Electrosmog density with the rapid increase in smart devices, technology and wi-fi transmission.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the entire world was thrown into chaos. India, for its part, pooled resources and fought the virus valiantly. However, the pandemic demonstrated the country’s need for a strong healthcare initiative. It is only possible if the government prioritizes the healthcare budget this year and, in the years, ahead.