By Dr. RB Smarta
Overall, Budget 2021 is a very promising and encouraging budget for the health and wellness sector. Happy to see that health and well-being have been given due importance and noted as the first pillar of the budget. Most of our suggestions have been incorporated.
Increasing outlay by 138 per cent and the focus on strengthening the healthcare infrastructure across the primary, secondary and tertiary levels is a welcome move. The investments allocated for the detection and cure of new and emerging diseases renewed thrust to Mission Poshan, skill development appropriate to the healthcare segment and commitment to meet one of the SDGs on infant mortality is commendable.
I believe all these steps combined will benefit millions of Indians and help us move ahead on the goal of ensuring healthcare access for all. The budget has also given a fillip to innovative, agile companies and has opened several avenues for them. The API sector will get an incentive to boost PLI and the tax holiday to R&D is another positive move.
The only let down in a sense has been that while the government has increased funding and allocation, in some areas it has increased the cost of doing business. Again, given that healthcare is a state issue, the onus will be on the states to ensure that these allocations reap benefits.
On the whole, I would give the budget a thumbs up, but resource allocation and on-ground implementation will be critical for success. I would also like to see prevention, cure and wellness being continuing themes for the budget y-oy.
The author is Managing Director, Interlink Consultancy. Views are personal.