As our nation treads towards the ‘Amrit Kaal’, GOI has laid a good focus on some of the core needs of the health & wellness sector, emphasizing the preparedness for a broadened health infrastructure and tech-aided solutions. Coming to the health tech front, the decision to offer ICMR labs & other research facilities to private players would enable faster development of domestic manufacturers. There is a welcomed focus on promoting the use of AI in health tech. The budget provided a fine move for establishing dedicated multidisciplinary courses for medical devices with the support of existing institutions, in order to ensure the availability of skilled manpower for futuristic medical technologies, high-end manufacturing, and research that aims at realising technical advancements in the sector. However, besides establishing 157 nursing homes, it is quite disheartening to see no further major announcements in the healthcare space.
It is disappointing that against the optimistic expectations of the medical device manufacturers, no announcement was made to attack 80+ percentage of import dependency. In this budget, local manufacturers certainly expected import duty to go up by a minimum of 10% across the range of products being manufactured in India to somewhat raise the entry barrier of externally low-cost poor quality products, which mostly use local cheap electronic components and enjoy the benefit of mass production on the cost of producing. This will work against the motivation to aggressively establish Indian medical manufacturing and feels completely against the approach of Atma Nirbhar. Looks like the GOI’s promise and focus during the COVID-19 pandemic of going aggressively self-reliant in the Medical Devices sector is diluted.
MD & CEO, BPL Medical Technologies Pvt. Ltd.