Healthcare likely to be top priority for Budget: ASSOCHAM-Primus Partners’ survey

Sunday, January 31, 2021

New Delhi, 30th January 2021:
The healthcare sector is likely to get by far the maximum attention of the government in the Finance Minister, Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman's Budget for 2021-22, an ASSOCHAM-Primus Partners' survey has noted.
 
In a survey covering more than 550 participants, 39.7 per cent respondents said healthcare would get the highest priority in resource allocation and policy support, in the face of the country braving the once-in-a-century global pandemic.
 
Manufacturing emerged as the second most important sector, with 14.7 per cent respondents expecting it to receive the Finance Minister's attention, followed by MSMEs (11.4 per cent), real estate (10.7 per cent) and infrastructure (9.6 per cent).
 
“The COVID-19 pandemic tested the limits of the global healthcare system. While the Government's proactive measures and the frontline workers' tireless efforts have helped tide the way, the pandemic has also brought forth the fragility of the healthcare system.”
 
When asked which measures can strengthen the healthcare and pharma sector, 67.3 per cent respondents expect the allocation of a fund to modernise existing primary healthcare infrastructure. This was followed by an expectation (62.9 per cent) that the Government should increase investments in creating new primary healthcare infrastructure.
 
When it comes to aspirations of individual taxpayers, 79.3 per cent respondents said they would like cut in personal income tax rates, especially in the wake of pressure on their earnings in the pandemic-hit economy.
 
While Corporate tax rates have been reduced, individuals pay taxes at higher rates. Rationalising taxes for the individuals is critical as reducing the tax burden on individuals would enable further spending. This much-needed push to demand would help in creating a multiplier effect in the economy.
 
“A significant increase in the public expenditure is inevitable. The pandemic has taught us there are no choices other than large scale public investment in building primary health centres, hospitals at the district, state capital level. Even in metro cities, scaling up infrastructure in state-run hospitals is required; even as we need to spend more on crediting and upgrading medical education and research facilities. As has been stated in the Economic Survey, there is a strong feeling within the government to raise public expenditure on healthcare three-fold from 1 per cent of GDP to 3 three per cent of GDP,” ASSOCHAM Secretary General, Mr Deepak Sood said.
 
The Indian economy also needs to witness enhanced investments from the public and private sectors. However, the quality of investments and speed of project implementation would drive growth. The ambitious National Infrastructure Pipeline is a critical enabler for growth, but success would depend on implementing the projects worth Rs 111 lakh crore in a timely manner. As India follows a calibrated fiscal policy amidst this crisis, an impetus to growth will lead to lower debt-to-GDP ratio.
 
Mr Sood also said, “At the same time, to support the economic health of the nation, amidst the rising green shoots of recovery, the upcoming Budget must frontload infrastructure investments. The Budget’s allocation towards infrastructure and housing development will create a much-needed multiplier impact in the economy.”
 
 
About ASSOCHAM:
ASSOCHAM initiated its endeavour of value creation for Indian industry in 1920. It was established by promoter Chambers, representing all regions of India. Having in its fold over 400 Chambers and Trade Associations, and serving over 4.5 lakh members across India. ASSOCHAM has emerged as the fountainhead of Knowledge for Indian industry, which is all set to redefine the dynamics of growth and development in the Knowledge Based Economy. More information available on www.assocham.org
 
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