Pramod Lele, chief executive, Hinduja Hospital, has the following expectations for the hospital and healthcare industry from the forthcoming Budget:
Health-care costs are skyrocketing and are going beyond the reach of a common man. The need of the hour is to bring this sector under different schedule with a special status and declare some very important tax rebates to this sector to reduce the ultimate cost to the patient:
- The customs duty should be at a substantially lower rate for all types of imports i.e. consumables, pharmacy items, bio-medical equipments etc since this is the major cost factor of the patient’s bill.
- The sector should get income tax exemption or at least income tax at reduced rate under special status. (Charity hospitals should continue their ‘zero’ income tax status and corporate hospitals should have income tax at reduced rate).
- To lower the input cost further, this sector should excluded from the definition of “person” under service tax act, so that the services availed by this sector would be tax free, says Lele.