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BUDGET WISHLIST: Industry for continued emphasis on preventive health care

In the run-up to Union Budget for 2015-16, Business Standard looks at major developments and industry expectations in key sectors of the economy

BS Reporter 

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HEALTHCARE SECTOR
 
KEY DEVELOPMENTS 

  • Robust growth: India’s healthcare industry, valued at $99 billion, is growing exponentially. Healthcare consumption is expected to increase progressively in the future, in line with economic growth
  • Home-based healthcare: Once an unorganised and fragmented sector, it is drawing investors’ attention and becoming a technology-led industry
  • Next frontiers: Significant growth and refinement of health infra is anticipated. Smaller cities and towns are the next frontiers of growth, driven by both standalone and corporate hospitals
  • Expansion: Major organised players are looking to establish presence in Tier-II and -III  cities. Private equity and venture capital firms’ investments in health care have surged, and the govt is emphasising on universal access to health services



KEY ISSUES 
  • Financing: Health insurance has a low penetration and out-of-pocket spending is considerably high
     
  • Infra: There is a shortage of healthcare infra and manpower, with variations in healthcare delivery. At the end of the 12th Plan period, India will need to add at least 650,000 beds by 2017, by conservative estimates

CEO BYTE:

Sunita Reddy MD, Apollo Hospitals
“The year 2014-15 saw some very progressive initiatives from the government. We hope it will continue to lay emphasis on preventive health care this year. Given the rising incidence of lifestyle diseases and the need to prevent loss of productivity, it is imperative that employers get a separate annual deduction of up to ~7,500 per employee, once every two years”


Business Standard had invited readers’ queries on the for 2015-16. A PwC expert answers key questions

Rana Mehta, partner & leader (health care), PwC India
Could we expect any scheme for the welfare of old people in terms of health insurance, medical expenses, hospitalisation, etc? — RA Radhakrishna

Today, over 100 million of India’s citizens are more than 65 years old; this number will reach 240 million by 2040. The National Health Assurance Programme, with the provision of free basic primary care, diagnostics and medicines, will go a long way in mitigating the suffering of the elderly who cannot afford care. The National Programme for the elderly, which looks at establishing geriatric wards in district hospitals, will cater to chronic, terminal & degenerative diseases, and promises a renewed focus on this ill-developed speciality in India

First Published: Tue, February 24 2015. 13:18 IST