Budget 2023: Healthcare industry welcomes focus on skill development & PPP

An increase in budget allocation for health infrastructure and digital transformation will enable a futuristic development of the country’s health bodies

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New Delhi: “Technology-focused Union Budget 2023 comes at a perfect time as India accelerates the pace of the National Digital Health Mission. The budget addresses some critical gaps that have hindered the pace of growth in healthcare sector with a promise to strengthen the availability of skilled nurses in modern technology with 157 new nursing colleges being co-located with 157 new medical colleges, R&D by building facilities and collaboration with ICMR Labs, and encourage investments in start-ups, research & innovation,” said Dr Shravan Subramanyam, Managing Director, Wipro GE HealthCare.
Dr Shravan Subramanyam is hopeful that the healthcare expenditure will reach the targeted 2.5% of the GDP by 2025, as envisaged in the National Health Policy, 2017
“The government should consider expanding the PLI scheme for local manufacturing of MedTech Devices to supply infrastructure and technology-linked incentive schemes to boost R&D. The road ahead will need stronger public-private partnerships and sharper penetration of digital to take healthcare to the farthest reaches of the country. We look forward to a promising year ahead driven by the ‘Make in India’ dream, added Dr Subramanyam.
Dr Tejinder Kataria, Chairperson Radiation oncology & Cancer center, Medanta – The Medicity said, “The Annual Budget 2023 is a futuristic budget for health care. The provision of enhanced nursing education, vison for eliminating sickle cell anaemia over next 25 years, extension of existing research laboratories of ICMR organization for larger utilization across private professionals and training for. Newer medical devices through multidisciplinary courses are a few of commendable steps envisaged in this budget.”
In her comments, Chandra Ganjoo, Group Chief Executive Officer, Trivitron Healthcare said, “As expected, Budget 23-24 was a balanced effort to improve economic growth. The government’s increased emphasis on healthcare would assist the medical devices business, even though there wasn’t anything specific for the MedTech industry in the budget.”
“We expect increased demand, which will correspond with estimates that the Indian medical device market will reach Rs. 352,450 crore (US$ 50 billion) by 2025. Emphasis on announcement that public and private medical faculties will have access to some ICMR lab facilities for research, 157 new nursing colleges will be established in various locations across the nation, the pharmaceutical industry will be encouraged to invest in research through the creation of a new programme for research and development in the field,” Ms Ganjoo added.
“The Central Government has taken due cognizance of the contributions made by the Medical Devices segment to the overall healthcare industry in general and the Covid period in particular. The Government has made specific declarations pertaining to the industry, and many of these are in line with recommendations that we have been making to the Government. All these developments will promote the medical devices industry and create a favourable business environment,” said Jatin Mahajan, Secretary – Association of Diagnostic Manufacturers of India (ADMI) and Managing Director – J Mitra & Company.
“ICMR Labs across the country will be made available to the corporate and manufacturing sector for the development of Medtech products. This will specially be beneficial for the Medtech start-up ecosystem which is cash-strapped and may not have adequate resources to set up their own dedicated laboratory infrastructure,” added Mr. Mahajan.
“We welcome the Union Budget 2023 and are pleased about the promising move by the Finance Minister in the healthcare sector by allocating an increased expenditure in the budget towards healthcare. The announcement of dedicated multidisciplinary courses for medical devices to be supported by the government in institutions is a welcome step. It will ensure availability of skilled manpower for futuristic medical technology which is a much-needed step to ensure that we have trained manpower to handle the growing need of high-quality healthcare in India,” said Chander Shekhar Sibal, Executive Vice President & Head of Medical Division at FUJIFILM India.
Meena Ganesh, Co-Founder & Chairperson, Portea Medical, said “In this Union Budget, the government has focused on some of the core needs of the health and wellness sector. The plan to establish 157 nursing colleges as collocated facilities alongside medical colleges will help cover the shortage of trained healthcare workforce and lead to greater healthcare coverage of the out-of-hospital medical services. The plans to provide access to ICMR labs and other R&D facilities as well as a collaborative approach to pharmaceuticals research and encouragement of private sector investments, multi-disciplinary training for R&D and manufacturing of high-quality medical devices, and various other such measures are going to augur well for the overall universal healthcare access and quality in India.”
“Overall, the budget has made a progressive stride towards the healthcare and startup sectors as well as in terms of giving a boost to women and their economic empowerment. These are encouraging announcements, and we hope for timely and adequate execution of the same in the months ahead,” added Ms. Ganesh.
In her comments, Runam Mehta, CEO, HealthCube said: “The decision to provide multi-disciplinary training for the development of medical devices and support for the manufacturing of high-quality devices is going to be a key enabler for the domestic medical devices industry. These courses will not only ensure the availability of skilled manpower for future medical technology but also offer opportunities for high-end manufacturing research. The decision of opening up facilities in select ICMR labs for research by private and medical colleges will enable better infrastructure access for both individuals and organizations who are looking at undertaking research and innovation in this area. I appreciate the mission to eliminate sickle cell anemia by 2047 through awareness generation and universal screening of 7 crore people in affected tribal areas; an essential step taken in the right direction.”
“We are also looking forward to seeing some announcements about increasing customs duty on the import of medical devices and PLI for domestic medical device manufacturing and development. To make India a hub for medical device manufacturing, it is also imperative for the government to support the sector through fiscal measures. Overall, the announcements show the intent of expanding medical device manufacturing in India, and we hope to see further progress in this area,” Ms Mehta added further.
Dr. Arbinder Singal, Co-founder & CEO, Fitterfly in his statement said, “As a Digital Therapeutics platform, it is encouraging to see the government focus on AI and IoT integration in health management. This will help in increasing the adoption of smart wearables such as Continuous Glucose Monitors and other devices that record vitals. Empowering medical devices and technology developers would lead to greater access, affordability and effectiveness of health management services. A number of skill development initiatives including the setting up of 157 nursing colleges across India will also help in creating a much larger pool of trained healthcare workers who will subsequently play a key role in disease management and monitoring. We hope that these decisions are implemented through effective and easier collaborations between the private and public sectors.”
Commenting on the budget, Nilesh Aggarwal, CEO, IJCP Group and Founder, MedTalks said, “The Union Budget 2023-2024 has a strong focus on the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, which is a welcome move. The new program for research for pharmaceuticals is particularly important, as the emergence of new illnesses globally poses a risk of collapse to the healthcare system if high-quality research is not conducted continuously. Additionally, the 157 nursing colleges that will be set up will help to address the shortage of quality care in healthcare. There is a welcome focus on medical devices and promoting the use of AI in healthcare. Digital health is of uttermost importance in the post-pandemic era and a greater focus needs to be laid on making healthcare more accessible and affordable. We wished to see more provisions for healthcare infrastructure and medical education. Overall, this budget is a step in the right direction when it comes to prioritizing healthcare investment and ensuring access to affordable treatments.”
In her comments, Dr. Veena Aggarwal, Consultant women’s health, Trustee, Heart Care Foundation of India said, “We welcome the increased focus on healthcare research which will enable us to be better prepared to tackle all new and unknown illnesses that we may be threatened by in the future. Promoting nursing education through the setting up of 157 new nursing colleges will help make quality care accessible to a larger population. We hoped to see more focus on training centers on heart disease and CPR  in the budget given the drastic increase in the number of heart attacks among the younger population in India. Metabolic diseases deserve specific attention as well given the pandemic proportions of these diseases due to the high-stress and unhealthy lives that the population at large is now leading. Mental health has come to the fore with COVID-19 in mammoth proportions and deserved to be given more priority in the budget as well.”
Hari Subramaniam, Founder & Director, LifeSigns, said, “The budget for 2023–24 is a significant step forward for the health-tech sector. With a focus on strengthening the research infrastructure and investment in digitalization through 5G, it sets a positive trajectory for companies like ours. The establishment of new nursing colleges and the allocation of resources for medical research and pharmaceutical innovation demonstrate a commitment to improving healthcare access and outcomes.”
Sohit Kapoor, Founder DRiefcase commented: “The National Data Governance Policy can truly be a game-changer. It has the potential to unlock tremendous value from data, especially healthcare data. The Policy, along with the recently announced Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM), will encourage legitimate use of data, thereby enhancing the overall privacy framework in the country.”
“We welcome today’s announcement on enhancing research capacity for ICMR with the help of public private partnerships (PPP) which will pave the way for new clinical trials, advancements and future collaborations,” said Varsha Phadke, Dean, K.J.Somaiya Medical College, Hospital & research Centre.
“The thrust of the budget on digitilization struck me as the single biggest takeway. From establishment of three centers of excellence for artificial intelligence, creation of 100 labs for developing applications using 5G services to policy announcements like formulation of National Data Governance policy for enabling access to anonymised data and setting of the digiLocker solution for centralization data access – the budget was extremely forward looking, commented Raja Jamalamadaka, Managing Director, Roche Information Solutions India.
In her comments, Shabnum Khan, Founder, 750AD Healthcare said, “An increase in budget allocation for health infrastructure and digital transformation will enable a futuristic development of the country’s health bodies. Additionally, special focus on green energy and sustainability are key takeaways that will help in fostering sustainable products in the country. Also the budget declared that new programs for pharmaceuticals will be formulated and investment in research would be encouraged. With such a step it will boost not just the infrastructure but also the backbone of the healthcare sector with advanced research in medical sciences.”
In his comments, Dr Harshit Jain, Founder and Global CEO, Doceree said, “The Union Budget 2023-24 presented by our Hon’ble Finance Minister is committed towards providing significant stimulus to the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry with increased allocation of funds (as compared to previous year) and we duly welcome it. Government’s financial and infrastructural impetus focused on improving skilling and education in the sector, especially in nursing care and multidisciplinary knowledge in medical devices, shall significantly improve the availability of skilled personnel in healthcare.”
In his comments, Sudhir Raj Thout, Research Fellow, The George Institute for Global Health India said, “We welcome the announcement that cigarettes would be more expensive with the increased custom duty of 16%. This is a positive move in the right direction in reducing non-communicable diseases in the country; especially as it discourages the younger population from smoking.”
Gaurav Dubey, Founder & CEO of LivLong in his comments mentioned, “As our nation is at the forefront of healthcare services, the budget for the fiscal year 2023 has created ample opportunities for the health sector. In terms of escalating the quality of healthcare services, the stride to build 157 additional nursing colleges alongside the 157 existing medical institutions since 2015 is commendable. This will prove to be a beneficial step for the further advancement of homecare services, which will become a mainstay of the clinical protocol. Therefore, the demand for medical consulting services will increase, and more experienced and qualified personnel will enter the industry.
“Furthermore, 5G-empowered healthcare apps will be developed by the engineering institute, as 5G will enhance telehealth services significantly. Hence, medical professionals will be able to treat patients more effectively in real-time and will reach rural regions promptly due to improved communication. The aforementioned steps will ultimately lead to an improvement in healthcare services,” Mr Dubey added further.
Rahul Misra, Founder, Vesta Elder Care said, “The finance minister announced that 157 additional nursing colleges would be built in addition to the existing 157 medical colleges instituted since 2015. Hence, this is a tremendous step towards India’s goal of providing quality medical care to all citizens. Furthermore, with the funds allocated for this fiscal year, the health sector can help further improve access to medical staff services by training more nurses and medical professionals. Additionally, intending to make India a “health superpower,” the government took the step to make ICMR labs available for research by public and private medical facilities, which is commendable and an essential milestone in the healthcare sector.”

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