India's interim Budget would help in addressing some of the major challenges being faced by the country in the health and pharma sector and reinforce India's standing as the Pharmacy of the World, a well-known pharma industry association head has said.
The Union Health Ministry has been allocated Rs 90,658.63 crore in the interim Budget for 2024-2025, a hike of 12.59 per cent over 80,517.62 crore in the Budget (revised estimates) for 2023-2024.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government plans to set up more medical colleges by utilising existing hospital infrastructure and will form a committee to examine the issues and make relevant recommendations.
India’s commitment to promoting research and development in the life sciences sector will receive a boost with the government's plan to establish more medical colleges in the country, Karun Rishi, president of the USA India Chamber of Commerce said on Thursday.
"This initiative will improve healthcare services and contribute to capacity building for research and development,” he said.
Based out of Boston, the USAIC has been known for hosting the annual India-US healthcare and pharma summit for the past 17 years. The 18th annual edition of the summit is scheduled to be held in Boston on April 25.
Responding to questions on the annual budget, Rishi said that the earmarking of Rs. 1,000 crore for the promotion of bulk drug parks in FY25 is a commendable initiative.
In the backdrop of global supply chains facing challenges, it is imperative for India to prioritise and bolster its bulk drug manufacturing capabilities, he said.
"The emphasis on domestic production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) holds particular significance in ensuring the health security of the Indian population and reinforcing India's standing as the Pharmacy of the World,” Rishi told PTI.
The Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 programmes aimed at enhancing nutrition delivery and early childhood care and development will contribute to a healthier future generation, he said.
India accounted for a third of all global cervical cancer deaths, with about 1,32,000 new cases diagnosed annually, mostly in advanced stages.
Prioritising prevention to improve public health, especially concerning India's high cervical cancer rates, is a commendable strategy, he said.
“The promotion of cervical cancer vaccination for girls aged 9-14 will protect young girls from preventable diseases and deaths,” he said.
Observing that the budget is comprehensive and will lead India to sustainable inclusive growth, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has exhibited vision and foresight by prioritising inclusive growth to bolster economic development for Viksit Bharat.
It is remarkable that despite global headwinds and geopolitical risks, India anticipates a seven per cent economic growth in the next fiscal year, he said.
"As Prime Minister Modi rightly pointed out this is a budget for creating India's future. This budget lays the foundation for a developed India," he asserted.
Recognising that infrastructure is the backbone of a developed nation, the budget commendably increases spending on infrastructure projects while concurrently addressing housing needs for impoverished villagers.
The Finance Minister's focus on the development and empowerment of the poor, farmers, youth, and women reflects the government's commitment to inclusive development.
The increase in capital spending to 11.1 per cent, compared to the previous year, is notable, he said.
“Reducing the budget deficit to 5.1 per cent in the next financial year, down from the projected 5.8 per cent for the current fiscal year is laudable. This challenging but commendable feat demonstrates the government's dedication to preserving macro-financial stability,” Rishi said.