A Unique Budget but Healthcare Remains a Neglected Orphan Say eMediNexus Founders Nilesh Aggarwal and Amit Sharma

01 March, 2016

While India is one of the fastest growing economies today; it faces major challenges including a demographic dividend losing relevance with an uneducated population, intense poverty, poor infrastructure, and difficulties in doing business. Economics in a country at the stage of development that India is in will necessarily be subservient to politics. The government holds disproportionate power to promote economic prosperity and growth.
There were several focused points of notice on economics and early stage companies in the 2016 budget, including the 100% tax deduction for three years for startups, proposition for a special patent regime, and commitment to single day registration of business.  Long-term capital gains pertaining to startups now face a lower holding period from three to two years; however, this still does not create a level playing field with listed companies or approach the 0% capital gains tax in some more advanced economies. MSME corporate income tax rates were also proposed to be lowered to 20% plus surcharge and cess, which is encouraging.
From a standpoint of the healthcare sector, however, there was not much attention towards meaningful reform. Increasingly, social sectors hold the potential to transform the productivity of the nation overall and bring equality in condition. There was a concerted effort in this budget on addressing issues in education, skilling, and financial inclusions, which were bold steps in the right direction to accelerate the underlying conditions leading to poor access in these segments, but healthcare and healthcare education received little mention.
Sharing their thoughts Co-Founders of eMediNexus, India’s fastest growing professional networking platform for doctors – Nilesh Aggarwal and Amit Sharma said, “Given a plethora of overall economic and social considerations, the Finance Minister had a massive task ahead of him. The budget's populist orientation and the fiscal restraint demonstrated were positive. From a standpoint of assistance to the healthcare sector though, aside from a health scheme providing Rs. 1 lakh cover per family, access to cheaper medicine through public distribution, and a focus on providing dialysis services through the PPP modality, there was little to cheer about. We were particularly hoping for focus on healthcare education, which is the major bottleneck to increasing the supply of healthcare provision in the country. These include freezing accreditation standards for continuing education, increased incentives for the pursuit of further medical studies, and solutions to the chronic lack of educators at medical colleges across the country”. 
“Enhanced medical education would also lead to better decisions with patients, lesser cases of medical negligence, lower mortality, fewer adverse drug interactions cases and improved quality of treatment overall. eMediNexus is striving to create a virtual, digital education environment for all medical practitioners to boost their learning and understanding of clinical cases, and we would support the government in any of its future efforts in this space,” they added.