Delhi: Apollo Hospitals submitted its recommendations and requests for representation to the Ministry of Finance for their consideration while drafting the upcoming Annual Budget for Financial Year 2023-2024. The submission was classified into three categories, all of which addressed two key concerns – accessibility and affordability of healthcare.
The three categories were incentivising health seeking behaviour, promotion of healthcare infrastructure and capacity building, and goods and services tax.
Under incentivisation of health seeking behaviour, Apollo recommended optimistic views such as the introduction of mandatory health insurance to ensure universal healthcare access, enhancement of health insurance premium exemption, increase in tax exemption on preventive health check-ups, and expansion of the Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme to all the districts.
While suggesting points for the promotion of healthcare infrastructure and capacity building, Apollo proposed that there should be no capital gains tax incidence at the time of setting up a REIT/Business Trust as well as for individual investors on the income distribution by the REIT/Business Trust. Moreover, Apollo requested the Ministry to grant healthcare operators the provision for 150 per cent depreciation on new investment and infrastructure and permit depreciation charges over an accelerated time frame. This will allow hospitals to break even early and will enable hospitals to plough back their earnings into new infrastructure investment for healthcare. Other counsel in this category included a subsidy on investments in Tier 2, and Tier 3 cities; import duty relief for life saving equipment; and a three year extension for claiming EPCG credits given that the COVID years impacted international travel.
While exhorting about the GST tax, Apollo recommended that the government may levy 5 per cent GST on the composite service and allow input credit. This will be in the spirit of law and fairness and will reduce the burden on the consumer. Additionally, Apollo also asked for a GST waiver for supplies of goods and services between the head office and branch offices.
Talking about the submission, Dr Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals said, “Public-private partnerships are powerful drivers of community-focused solutions for improved services. All recommendations have been drafted keeping this nation and its’ citizens’ health on priority.”
Apart from these three categories, Apollo also appealed for a dedicated fund to promote medical value travel. The promotion of medical travel like the way other sectors are promoted can increase forex for India and also improve the healthcare business. Moreover, the healthcare institution also believes that a dedicated Innovation and research fund for healthcare can promote innovations of global standards and give India a leadership position in healthcare.