By Health In Five Writer
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2022 with a lot of expectations and talks around much increased outlay on health and pharma sectors. Though there were no big bang announcements related to healthcare, a few of the initiatives listed out by the finance minister may help bring back focus on mental health awareness and universal access to health facilities.
— HealthInFive.com (@HealthInFive) February 1, 2022
Here are the major highlights of the Union Budget 2022 related to health and healthcare:
- A national #mentalhealth program will be launched. The pandemic has accentuated mental health problems
- An open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem will be rolled out. It will consist of digital registries of health providers and health facilities, unique health identity and universal access to health facilities.
- #ECLGS extended up to March 2023 and expanded by Rs 50k to Rs 5 lakh crore. Incremental amount earmarked for healthcare sector.
- A New National Tele Mental Health Programme will be launched. This will include a network of 23 Tele-mental centres.
- Mission Shakti, Mission Vatsalya, Saksham Anganwadi & Poshon 2.0 were launched recently to provide integrated benefits to women & children. Saksham Anganwadis are providing improved environment for early childhood development.
The Union Health Minister, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya gave the following reactions
A National Tele-mental health programme will be launched.
This will include a network of 23 tele-mental health centres of excellence with NIMHANS being a nodal centre & IIIT Banglore providing technology support: FM @NSitharaman Ji#AatmanirbharBharatKaBudget
— Dr Mansukh Mandaviya (@mansukhmandviya) February 1, 2022
Industry Reactions to Budget 2022-23
If you look at Budget, there’s very little mention of healthcare. 2-3 things help us – one is the fact that the skilling initiative has been intensified, it is good. We need skilled manpower to assist with the healthcare system. Secondly, there’s a National Health Registry which also provides a full platform for everybody to be able to be in network to know what the state of our infrastructure is, what’s the ability to deliver healthcare. Thirdly, mental health initiative will definitely help. But beyond that, none of the other issues were addressed in this Budget. — Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman-MD, Medanta
The E-Health Research Center at IIITB has been working with NIMHANS, National Health Mission, Govt of Karnataka, on e-Manas, a first of its kind, software platform for mental health management. This has been deployed by the Govt of Karnataka and is being extended to the monitoring of the DMHP program as well as psychiatric rehabilitative services. As part of the tele mental health network that NIMHANS will now help setup, IIITB will help integrate eManas with tele-health services, thus providing a comprehensive platform for mental health care that can scale up nationally. — Prof T. K. Srikanth, Head of E-Health Research Center, IIIT Bangalore
The Centre had already taken big steps to build a digital health ecosystem through the establishment of the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM). The importance given to high-quality healthcare, the plan for a National Digital Health Ecosystem, the tele mental health program and the extension of the tax breaks to startups in this budget are all measures in the right direction. We highly welcome the implementation of such measures. The burden of chronic diseases can decrease significantly with the use of advanced techniques like preventive genetic testing. Hopefully, this aspect will be more in focus in the coming years. — Dr. Surendra k Chikara, Founder & CEO, Bione
As a leader in the mental health service scenario in Mumbai we welcome the initiative with regards to the availability of the National Tele Mental Health Program. A thrust to facilitate the objective treatment packages covered by medical insurance in the field of mental health was something we expected in this budget. Also, we are pleased to be a part of the National Digital Health Mission. The initiative on speedy vaccination has been long overdue and universal availability of vaccination for all sections of the population is needed. Disappointed that there has still been no increase in healthcare budget as a proportion of GDP. Lastly, in view the difficult times which healthcare industry has faced in the last two years some support in terms of concessions in developing compliance infrastructure related to fire and other safety norms was expected. — Dr Vispi Jokhi, Chief Executive Officer, Masina Hospital, Mumbai
With India in the midst of a third wave of the pandemic, healthcare, including digital healthcare, and mental health has been a focus in Budget 2022-23. The Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman launched an open platform for the National Digital Health Ecosystem, which includes digital registries of health providers and facilitates a unique health identity, a consent framework, and universal access to health services. The Finance Minister also stated that 95% of the 112 aspirational districts had made substantial progress in key sectors such as health, nutrition, infrastructure etc. and that efforts would now be focused on areas that were underperforming. We are hopeful that the Government impetus will improve India’s ability to access world-class medical cold chain products while also improving India’s export competitiveness in this industry. — Jesal Doshi, Deputy CEO, B Medical Systems
The Union Budget 2022-2023 is a welcome move for the start-up ecosystem. FM Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget extended the redemption of taxes from three consecutive years to further extending it by one more year which is a big boost for young start-ups in India. We really appreciate the Indian government’s continuous efforts to improve digitization and increase digital and financial inclusion in the country which are key factors leading to growth. The Government’s emphasis on ‘One Nation, One Registration’ will facilitate the ease of living & doing business in India. Besides this, the FM also announced that 25,000 compliances have been eliminated and 1,486 union laws have also been revoked which will make it easier to do business in the country. This will provide an impetus to the business economy and hence ease the process. Also, the Government has recognized the power of “Nari Shakti” in India and revamped the schemes like Mission Shakti, Mission Vatsalya which will benefit the women in India. — Shilpa Khanna Thakkar, CEO, Chicnutrix
Mental ill-health can have devastating effects on individuals, families, and society, and the Covid 19 pandemic has triggered an exponential rise in mental health issues, with a large number of people reporting anxiety and depression. Therefore, the Finance minister’s announcement of rolling out a national tele-mental health program is a welcome step. As per the budget announcement, the telehealth program will be operated by a network of 23 mental health centers of excellence under NIMHANS and tech support by IIIT, Bangalore. — Rajneesh Bhandari, Founder, NeuroEquilibrium
The Union budget 2022-2023 presented by the Hon’ble Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman has boosted the morale of the healthcare industry. With the ongoing pandemic, it is a welcome change to see the digital emphasis on healthcare programmes and initiatives where Indians can have their own unique digital health identity and access to health facilities pan India. This attempt is a step forward to be at par with other countries. Additionally, launching a National Tele Mental Health program is much needed in a country like India which often considers the subject of mental health a taboo. In her speech, Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman also said that as many as 95 per cent of 112 aspirational districts have made significant progress in health and infrastructure which shows we are on the right tracking and taking health seriously through a holistic approach. — Varun Khanna, Group CEO, Fullife Healthcare
We welcome the increased capital expenditure layout from 5.54 L Cr. to 7.5 L Cr . With effective grant-in to the states the capital expenditure can increase to 10.68 L Cr. We expect a good part of it will be spend on building healthcare infrastructure, as per the aspirations of National Infrastructure pipeline – in building 73 state of the art hospitals, tertiary hospitals in every district, secondary hospitals in every sub-division and primary health care and diagnostic centres in block levels. Enhanced expenditure on improving logistics under Gati-Shakti will improve transportation infrastructure which will also benefit the last mile deliverables of medical technologies. Perhaps the biggest gain for health care medical technologies will be derived from the spent on launch of Ayushman Bharat Digital health mission which will help in keeping un-biased patient data collection and utilisation in anonymous form which will help in identifying unmet patient needs, improve patient care and help in future R&D endeavours, as India have a vast genetic pool of patients. We also note emphasis s made on mental health which is a positive development. — Arnab Basumallik, Director, Government Affairs, Edwards Lifesciences
With the announcement to set up a National Tele Mental Health program in India, Hon’ble Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman highlighted the accentuation of mental health problems in people of all ages amid the pandemic. The stress and lifestyle adoption has definitely taken a toll on our mental as well as physical health. Commendable on the part of our government to address it with having access to quality mental health counselling and care services. For a healthy functioning mind and body, your nutrition and lifestyle play an important role in keeping your brain healthy. Good nutrition with an active lifestyle improves the immune system, overall body functionality and concentration. It’s more important than ever to advocate the vitality of unplugging, distressing and having a quality sleep to give yourself the rest to promote physical, mental and emotional well-being. — Vijayaraghavan Venugopal, CEO & Co-Founder, Fast&Up
With an objective of promoting “Make in India ” the announcement on review of custom exemption being gradually phased out for medical devices, drugs and medicines wherever sufficient domestic capacity exist is a very welcome move. This will help boost ” Make in India” Or indigenous medical devices production as well as help optimise capital expenditure on medical equipment and drugs for hospitals and healthcare establishments. A national digital health ecosystem which is proposed to be rolled out will be a game changer for storing the health information / data of public which could be harnessed to develop strategies to improve accessibility of healthcare facilities thereby improving both preventive & curative aspects of health leading to improved Global Health Security Index. — Dr. Rajendra Patankar, CEO – Jupiter Hospital, Pune
The budget is an excellent one for digital technologies application in the healthcare ecosystem. There is a need for seamless integration of stakeholders of industry right from pharmacy to clinicians to dietary practitioners to hospitals for effective patient management and efficient healthcare. The use of digital technologies will give birth to exponential growth of Nutraceuticals as a preventive category and also as adjuncts to optimize therapy leading to evolution of nutraceutical medicines! — Amit Srivastava, Chief Catalyst, Nutrify Today