The government’s intention to spend on healthcare will continue, increasing the percentage of GDP (combined State and Centre) spending on healthcare from the current 2.1 percent to 2.5 percent. This will help the country partially achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
What goes down must come up. As the global economy wobbles its way out of the pandemic and a war, India is ready for a sprint.
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The Indian economy has shown strong traction -– a 7 percent GDP growth reflects an incredible momentum in the light of international developments. The narrative and the themes we speak about every year have become more future ready-– whether it is Green Tech, Sustainable Cities, Natural farming, Infrastructure in Tier 2, 3 cities or R&D, AI and skilling for futuristic jobs.
The Chief Economic Advisor’s statement that Digital Public Infrastructure can contribute up to 100 basis points to GDP growth is of specific interest to us. We hope to collaborate with the Government to unlock potential in the digital health ecosystem space.
We commend the nuance and precision with which topics such as Neglected Tropical Diseases are dealt with. The move to make the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) laboratories available to private sector research and development teams opens up new possibilities for us to collaborate on clinical trials and research with the ICMR.
The announcement to replace old ambulances is another step in the right direction. We are excited with the potential to develop AI, with Health as a Centre of Excellence, to find path-breaking solutions that re-imagine healthcare delivery. Our larger goal of keeping the people of India healthy, will be strengthened by this initiative.
The world over, there is a need for trained nursing staff and medical devices. India has the potential to cater to both requirements. The establishment and co-location of 157 new nursing colleges with medical colleges set up since 2014 will have threefold benefits – offering education and training, employment opportunities and filling the supply gaps. On a personal level, we are happy that the budget has given relief to our salaried class – medical technicians, nurses will benefit greatly as they will have more cash in hand to spend and to save.
We believe that the government’s intention to spend on healthcare will continue, increasing the percentage of GDP (combined State and Centre) spending on healthcare from the current 2.1 percent to 2.5 percent. This will help the country partially achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. However, we still fall short in terms of spending as a proportion of GDP when compared to the other BRICS countries.
We hope that collaboration between the state, industry and academia will bring about more efficient health outcomes.
Capital expenditure on infrastructure development has been hiked by 33 percent to Rs 10 lakh crore for 2023-2024. The newly established infrastructure secretariat will assist in attracting private investment. In addition to tangible assets, the budget addresses the need to focus on soft assets – jobs, youth, skilling and future-ready skill sets.
As Helen Keller once said, hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible.
Expectations of the economy are often self-fulfilling. In the context of the Union Budget, we have just the right elements for economic achievement. A nation that has proved its resilience, a Government that is committed to growth and job creation and a robust financial plan to see it through.What remains to be seen is how well all these elements combine to culminate in making India the brightest star in the international economic firmament.
—The author, Suneeta Reddy, is Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd. The views expressed are personal.
(Edited by : C H Unnikrishnan)
First Published: Feb 2, 2023 1:37 PM IST
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