Fuelling A Bright Future For India Inc: A Start-up Friendly Budget
We hope the government will flag these areas with immense urgency and consider giving healthcare its due share.
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Amidst much hype and expectations, the Union Budget 2019 was announced on 5th July 2019. The budget is pro-entrepreneurship and addresses several key issues faced by the start-up ecosystem. From providing clarity and relief in the direction of Angel Tax to removing the income tax worry for startups who have made full disclosure of the identity of the investor and source of income, there is a lot for start-ups to look forward to. Not only this, the government has also dedicated a Doordarshan channel “for”, “by”, and “of” the start-up world which is a very positive step in encouraging budding entrepreneurs in even the remotest parts of the country. Another encouraging move has been the boost given to women-led enterprises. This will ensure that more women come forward to take the start-up baton which is crucial to the development of the nation. Entrepreneurs will now be employers too and help India Inc. become a job and wealth creator.
While the overall tone of the budget is supportive, what is extremely disheartening is the lack of any attention on healthcare and increasing the spending in this sector. We are aware of the dismal 2.2% spending on healthcare in the country. Despite these statistics, it is discouraging that such a crucial metric has been left unaddressed. Ayushman Bharat was a part of the government’s ten-point agenda. However, there are no solid policies for the sector. We hoped to see some action points on several important areas including home care, affordable and accessible care, and other aspects pertaining to India’s healthcare sector. The other issues that were ignored include impetus for emergency medical services, regulation of the home care segment, and tax reforms for medical devices. It is appalling to notice that in the past 3 years, this is perhaps the first budget with zero mention of healthcare, or a higher allocation for Ayushman Bharat.
Among all the concerns, one positive that could emerge and prove beneficial to the healthcare sector perhaps is the proposed Rs 100 lakh crore investment in infrastructure in the next 5 years. Though there is no direct mention of a share for this sector, I feel this could pave way for a boost going forward.
It must be understood that while economic development is a must for any country, it can only be achieved when its people have access to affordable and quality healthcare as well. A fit economy is one where healthcare is adequate and not fragmented due to lack of policy attention. We hope the government will flag these areas with immense urgency and consider giving healthcare its due share.
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