Healthcare sector should have gained more priority in Union Budget 2022-2023
Dr. Alok Roy, Member, FICCI, Health Services Committee and Chairman Medica Group of Hospitals
“India Inc. and especially the Healthcare industry which has been battling COVID-19 pandemic since last 2 years was expecting more investment on public health and healthcare infrastructure from this year’s union budget. The budget has just focused on mental health and digitization of healthcare sector. The very fact that Government has focused on digital healthcare shows that finally healthcare sector is being considered as the prerequisite to ensure economic well-being of the country. Budget 22-23 seems very disappointing for the healthcare sector. India’s growth is estimated to be at 9.27 percent and healthcare will play a major role in the boost. Strengthening of health infrastructure, speedy vaccination programme implementation has strengthened the Indian healthcare system. The decision to start an open platform for the national digital health ecosystem is a welcome move. The emphasis to roll out digital registries of health providers, health facilities, unique identity consent framework with and universal access to health facilities will add more values to Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission. We the healthcare providers heartily welcome the Government’s focus on mental health issues as this has set an alarm across age groups post the COVID pandemic. The announcement of launching the national tele mental health program which will include a network of 23 telemedicine mental health centers of excellence is a much appreciative move that the government has decided.
It was expected the government to look at increasing the healthcare expenditure above 2.5 per cent of the GDP but there was not adequate attention paid to it. Although there had been a rise of 137% allocation in healthcare sector last year much was fulfilled in reality by the government. Overall, the proposals made in the Budget 22-23, should have made quality healthcare accessible and affordable. The government should have focused more on primary healthcare investment and made the Healthcare system as National Priority’ status, as was done for the IT sector.