As far as the healthcare is concerned, I'm very happy that the government has taken a huge step in making healthcare affordable and accessible by launching Ayushman Bharat, the world's largest healthcare scheme. We need to wait and watch how the government is going to fullfill the promise of bringing over 10 crore Below the Poverty Line (BPL) families under a health insurance scheme and enhance health insurance cover up to Rs 5 lakh, which is a big amount. For example, if a family of four is covered under the Rs 5 lakh plan, the cost of premium under the private insurance as of now is nearly Rs 20,000 a year. Moreover, as it is a government programme, the premium can be reduced to Rs 10,000, but still the budget required is Rs 1 lakh crore. Nevertheless, the government has informed that Rs. 5,000-6,000 crore is needed to get the budget going in the first year and Rs. 10,000-12,000 crore annually as it scales up. I can't understand the mathematics behind it and how the government is going to roll it out.
For the medical devices industry, the budget was a disappointment. In 2016, the government had reduced the custom duty of raw materials to 2.5 per cent , but it was not done for In Vitro Diagnostic (IVD)s, which is a part of the sector. If the government really wants to ‘Make in India’, they should have reduced the custom duty of all the raw materials used in the medical devices, particularly IVDs. The government announces a lot of measures to boost local manufacuring, but it is not implemented. For example, the number of medical parks which were announced in various states is still a non-starter as none of them are operational. The projects are delayed in various states. Himanshu Baid, MD - Poly Medicure & Chairman - CII, Medical Technology Division - Medical Buyer Bureau