Pre Budget – JSA Livewire Budget, 2021

With unprecedented times, we see unprecedented budgets –the Indian Government will have to increase the budgetary allocation to the healthcare and the pharma sector to give impetus to the vaccination drive. The negotiations between Indian vaccine manufacturers hint at a ballpark figures of INR 60,000 to 70,000 Crores, merely to procure vaccines for the Indian population. These estimates exclude the storage and the transportation costs. As a reference point, the allocation for the current FY 2020-21 stood at INR 67,000 Crore, and fell short of the target of 2.5% of the GDP. Basis the statistics of the Finance Ministry, the Indian Government has restricted its budget allocation for the health sector between 1.2% to 1.6% of the GDP in the previous decade (2010-20). To counter the pandemic’s effects, the Government will need stretch to its bottom dollar. The Government should also seek to increase the monetary allocations under the PLI Scheme to attract investments, provide faster single-window approvals, reduce/exempt duty on import of inputs and parts of medical devices, and rationalise GST rates on parts used in manufacturing of medical equipment.