Health sector needs Rs 3,70,000 cr by 2025: FICCI-E

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New Delhi, Jul 31 (UNI) A FICCI-Ernst&Young study on the Health Sector in India, today brought out the formidable gap between the needed health resources and its delivery and estimates that the country needs a Rs 3,70,000 crore investment by 2025 in health infrastructure and facilities.

It identifies the facilities that would be required, such as 17.5 lakh more beds and a very large number of medical colleges, to meet the needs of the growing population and the changing disease-pattern of the country.

''Considering there is a net addition of around 17,000 doctors per year against a requirement of seven lakh additional doctors by the year 2025, additional medical colleges would need to be set up,'' said the study.

The study, entitled ''Fostering Quality Healthcare for All'', will be released by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia at the FICCI HEAL 2008 Conference and Exhibition on August 7-8 here.

Interacting with the mediapersons here, FICCI Health Services Committee Chairman Shivinder Mohan Singh, who is also the CEO and MD of Fortis Healthcare Ltd, said, ''while the government has granted a five-year tax holiday to the sector to encourage private entrepreneurs to set up hospitals in tier-I and II towns, to bridge the huge supply-demand gap, there is urgent need for rapid expansion of quality healthcare and the sector needs to be accorded the infrastructure status.'' The study has also called for boosting human resources and public private partnership as key to achieving the country's aim of ''quality healthcare for all.'' It urges the government to proactively address some of the policy impediments and promote investment by private players in non Tier-I locations by providing financial incentives such as extension of the income tax holiday from five years to 10 years, extension of a preferential rate of interest by financial institutions for capacity creation, relaxation on taxation of venture capital funds investing in healthcare, increase in floor area ratio and ground coverage for hospital related activities in Tier - I&II cities.

The study, which suggests strategies based on three critical indices of access, affordability and assurance, also said the government should allow foreign trained doctors with acceptable qualifications to practise and teach in India.

At present, under the amendment of the Indian Medical Council Actm 1956, only Indian doctors with post graduate medical degrees from the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are allowed to practice in any public or private hospital in the country.

They are also allowed to teach undergraduate students in any medical college. The policy changes need to be promoted effectively to target appropriate doctors.

According to the study, India's disease burden was about 37 per cent higher than that of Brazil while it was 86 per cent higher compared to China.

It says that India's disease burden from non-communicable disease is likely to double by 2020.

''With this alarming increase, there is an opportunity for the private sector to develop the wellness business and industry bodies should work towards nurturing this effort,'' the study said.

UNI SBA SG KN1803

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