In this State of the Economy podcast, businessline’s PT Jyoti Datta discusses the potential impact of the upcoming Budget on the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector with guest Shuchi Ray, Partner, Deloitte India. The discussion highlights the significance of healthcare in the context of the Budget, especially given the ongoing election year.

Ray acknowledges the government’s focus on healthcare in recent years, citing initiatives such as the Ayushman Bharat scheme and various health-related schemes. She anticipates continued emphasis on the healthcare sector in the upcoming Budget, with increased spending expected, particularly in areas like health insurance and Ayushman Bharat.

The conversation touches on the importance of demonstrating increased spending in healthcare, considering the current allocation is only about 2.1 per cent of GDP, lower than in developed countries. The discussion extends to the need for investment in healthcare infrastructure and awareness programmes to effectively implement existing schemes.

Addressing concerns within the pharmaceutical industry, Ray discusses the impact of GST rates on active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and formulations. The misalignment in GST rates poses challenges for companies importing APIs, leading to credit accumulation and impacting working capital.

The discussion concludes with considerations for the healthcare sector beyond tax-related issues, such as enhancing health insurance coverage, addressing the shortage of healthcare practitioners through upskilling, and leveraging technology for improved accessibility. Listen in.

About the State of the Economy Podcast

India’s economy has been hailed as a bright spot amid the general gloom that seems to have enveloped the rest of the world. But several sectors continue to stutter even as others seem set to fire on all cylinders. To help you make sense of the bundle of contradictions that the country is, businessline brings you podcasts with experts ranging from finance and marketing to technology and start-ups