Budget 2021 expectations: Mr. A Ganesan, Group Vice Chairman, Neuberg Diagnostics

In view of the ongoing pandemic, India needs to reinvent its health system. By now, we would have identified the gaps and fragilities related to healthcare delivery. Therefore, its development must move in line with the goals set by the Government. Government is already encouraging domestic players for catering to wide domestic demands and exporting to other countries while cutting down India’s dependence on imports.

The domestic players can continue to fuel India’s growth in healthcare sector and in order to make the ecosystem more vibrant and responsive, a few of the things that need immediate attention are:

  1. CGHS / EHS dues are not still being paid regularly, in spite of assurances by the Central Government. Besides the paperwork for submission of claims is so voluminous resulting in substantial hardships.
  1. MSME rules are only on paper and even government departments/agencies are not respecting these rules. The Government departments/agencies first should set an example by paying legitimate claims within due dates.
  1. GST on all supplies/services to Hospitals and Laboratories should be removed. Hospitals and labs have no output GST liability and hence the input credits cannot be availed by the Lab. In case the GST is abolished on supplies to Hospitals and Labs, the price to consumers will come down significantly.
  1. Health Insurance premiums, over the years, have become more expensive. To make it more affordable to larger sections of society, the GST on Health Insurance premiums should be withdrawn.
  1. As per section 80-D of the Income Tax Act, premiums paid by the individual taxpayers are allowed as deduction subject certain maximum amount, depending upon the age of the taxpayers. The maximum amount of deduction should be increased substantially to all categories of taxpayers.
  1. As per section 80-D, Preventive Health check expenditure up to a sum of Rs 5000 can be claimed as deduction, but this deduction is allowed subject to overall ceiling fixed. There has to be a separate deduction and the expenditure incurred has to be increased to Rs 15,000 and should be extended to the spouse of the taxpayer.
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