Business Standard

Healthcare sector awaits GST leeway in Budget 2018-19


ANI New Delhi [India]
Ahead of the presentation of the Union Budget 2018-19, the healthcare industry is one that has been anticipated to gain significant importance in the Budget allocation.
In the past few weeks, reports on infrastructure for healthcare, greater attention to curbing malnutrition and the establishment of better medical facilities have been doing rounds.
Apart from this, here are some key expectations from the sector:
"We sincerely hope healthcare industry would be given some leeway in terms of GST implementation. This will ensure better services to patients by healthcare providers. This will also result in greater accessibility of care and services by the common man. The government must also come out with clear roadmap to make medical insurance more popular. It must also exclude the medical insurance premium exempt from the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Given the acute shortage of manpower, there is need to industry representation in central universities and even medical colleges so that healthcare industry can source talent appropriately," said Dr Dharminder Nagar MD, Paras Healthcare.
"We look to forward to government's support to address 3A's of Affordability, Accessibility and Accountability to make healthcare ecosystem accessible to all. The GST cost could be exempted by the government as it is passed to the patients making a rise in the cost of healthcare. The government also needs to work towards manufacturing medical devices in India to reduce the cost and increase availability for all patients. We also request the government to work towards increasing accessibility by supporting PPP models, providing subsidies, investment to private players and welcome opportunities for start-ups. We are hoping the government to encourage private healthcare providers by lessening the pressure and intervention in private investment. In addition to this, the government should also focus on CGHS hospitals and better usage of the amount provided to them to make services available to masses," said Ravi Virmani, CEO and Founder, Credihealth.
"Critical care equipments like Ventilator, Oxygen Concentrator, BIPAP, and CPAP are under 12 percent GST and 7.5 percent Customs Duty. Since these are life saving equipments, these should be made tax free. Mobility Assist equipments like wheel chair / Walking stick / Crunches are under 5-7.5 percent GST. Under VAT they were tax free. The mobility assist equipments should be made tax free. Spare parts for all medical equipment are being taxed at 28 percent GST. This is too high and should be taxed at a lower rate as the original equipment," said ?Meena Ganesh, MD and CEO, Portea Medical.
On a related note, the Budget will be presented on Thursday by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
This will be the last full-fledged budget of the Narendra Modi-led government and the first post the rollout of the GST.

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First Published: Jan 31 2018 | 6:05 PM IST

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