Health budget ‘reassuring’, welcomed by industry

March 16th, 2012 - 11:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Pranab Mukherjee New Delhi, March 16 (IANS) The healthcare industry Friday welcomed Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s announcement reducing excise duty on life saving drugs and emphasis on preventive health check-ups.

“The budget was reassuring. The finance minister ensured a strong focus on inclusive growth and an equally robust thrust to address the bottlenecks in infrastructure development,” said Prathap C. Reddy, chairman of Apollo group of hospitals.

“Tax exemption of Rs.5,000 for preventive health checks is very encouraging. With ample communication, it would encourage early detection of diseases like cancer, heart diseases and diabetes which are on the rise,” Reddy added.

India’s health allocation was hiked by 14 percent in the budget for 2012-13. Mukherjee proposed to extend concessional basic customs duty of five percent with full exemption from excise duty and anti-subsidy duty to six specified life saving drugs and vaccines used for the treatment or prevention of ailments such as HIV/AIDS and renal cancer.

“Considering the high morbidity rate we have, it is important to have tax relaxation on life saving drugs like Rotavirus. Rotavirus can prevent deaths caused by diarrhoea and this is would be a very good step,” Ajay Bakshi, chief executive officer at the Maxhealthcare group, told IANS.

Said Amol Naikawadi, joint managing director of Indus Health Plus: “The focus on preventive heath check ups will benefit the normal consumer, people working in stressed conditions and people with lifestyle diseases.”

“This is a very positive move which will lead to enhanced awareness of preventive healthcare which is at the state of infancy in India,” Naikawadi added.

The budget also focused on better health services to the poor in rural as well as urban slums, increasing the outlay of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and launching the National Urban Health Mission.

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