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Ask an Expert - Healthcare

Dr Rana Mehta

Leader (Healthcare), PwC India

Topic: Healthcare

Healthy citizens are a nation?s asset; they contribute to the economic development. To provide health care to all Indians, the government is likely to roll out its programme of providing basic diagnostics, free medicine and a health insurance cover for critical ailments. With an estimated expenditure of over $26 billion for accessible and affordable care, any steps toward universal health care will be keenly watched in the Union Budget. Access to capital is still a major constraint for health care facilities, especially beyond the metros. According a ?priority? status will help develop innovative long-term financial structures for hospitals and catalyse growth of the ecosystem, including medical device and consumable manufacture domestically. Given a rise in lifestyle-related diseases, there should be a separate deduction of Rs 10,000 for a family towards preventive health checks. This will help early detection and treatment. The deduction for medical insurance should also be revisit

In 2015, the share of health care in GDP shrank to 1.2 per cent, one of the smallest in the world. Public health care is being ignored, given the lack of scale and funds. Will this govt take note and make appropriate provisions in the Budget? What provisions will be required to ensure delivery of adequate medical services to people, especially in rural India?


The govt seems to be focusing on financing care for citizens as part of universal health care; some initiation of the programme may be announced this year. Also, the government is focusing on opening medical colleges in all district hospitals across the country. This will improve the availability of medical professionals.

Govt hospitals, in the longest standing cliche, have become a synonym for ill maintenance and low medical standards. Now, with the NITI Aayog in picture, what precautions can be put in place to ensure long-term financial structures are actually accessible to both the patient and the doctor?


Under the schemes like the National Rural Health Mission, many states took advantage and worked towards improving their infra and quality of public hospitals’ service. As a large part of central allocation now lies with states, the central government and the NITI Aayog will have limited influence on state governments.

The eligibility to qualify as senior citizen at some hospitals like Chandigarh’s PGI is 70 years. Do you think the coming Budget will standardise the requirement to the nationally recognised 60 years?


The government might initiate schemes for implementation of accreditation and rating for all hospitals, including public ones. This will ensure some improvement in quality of service. Also, there may be plans to merge all central government health insurance schemes in one scheme. This may help standardise policies and services across and requirements across hospitals.