Economy

‘Budget has let down healthcare'

Our Bureau Bangalore | Updated on March 01, 2011 Published on March 01, 2011

kiran

A ‘play-it-safe' Budget with no bold reforms has also let down the healthcare sector, said Ms Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, CMD, Biocon Ltd.

The Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, had the chance to deliver a ‘2G Budget' addressing growth and governance. The healthcare sector only gets higher allocation and extension of health insurance to NREGA workers. The promising biotechnology sector has been ignored. No steps have been taken to enable scientific and technological advances or boost innovation, she said.

R&D incentives were expected, such as a five-year tax holiday on indigenous products, venture funding, zero duty on R&D equipment and extended tax holiday for biotech SEZs. “Instead of extending health insurance to all Indians Mr Mukherjee has taken pot shots at easy targets such as bringing health check-ups and diagnostics under the service tax net.”

Dr Vijay Chandru, President, ABLE (Association of Biotechnology-Led Enterprises), said, “We were looking for some [announcements] to spur growth of the sector and to make diagnostics and drugs for diseases like cancer affordable to all sections. The Budget has not delivered anything of significance for the sector.”

He was sceptical of the benefit a higher farm outlay would give agri-biotech. “It remains to be seen if the supports for cold chain facilities have direct benefit for the pharmaceutical and life science sector.”

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Published on March 01, 2011
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