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AiMED, Health News, ET HealthWorld

New Delhi: The Fifth union budget tabled by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today has little for the medical device sector to cheer. The FM announced that dedicated multidisciplinary courses for medical devices will be supported in existing institutions to ensure the availability of skilled manpower for futuristic medical technologies, high-end manufacturing and research.

There was no mention of tax incentives on GST and increased custom duty that the medical device industry was looking forward too.

Expressing deep disappointment and anguish over the Union Budget 2023 giving cold shoulder to the Indian Medical Device IndustryRajiv Nath, Forum Coordinator, Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (Aimed) said it is disheartening that against our optimistic expectations and assurance by the various governments and departments, the government has not announced any measures to help end the 80-85% import dependence forced upon India and an ever-increasing import bill of over Rs. 63,200 Crore.

“Sadly, the Government didn’t even implement the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Committee on Health. If the Government implements even 70% of the recommendations, we could have seen a reversal on the import dependence and growth of the domestic industry,” he opined.

Elaborating on the challenges being faced by the industry, Nath said, “It is very painful to see the plight of domestic industry players shutting shop as the local industry cannot compete with cheaper Chinese imports. Medical Devices from China went up by nearly 50% last year from Rs 9000 crore to Rs 15000 crore on account of low duties and convenience to import. These are the same domestic manufacturers, when imports got disrupted during COVID-19 crisis, the Government relied heavily on to meet the rising demand for essential Covid items for the country pushing the Indian medical devices sector to become self-reliant.”

Nath stated that they had been hoping that this would be a Make in India push budget for an Atmanirbhar Bharat but the Indian Medical Device Industry is disheartened not to hear any impactful announcements for encouraging Make in India of Medical Devices in India.

“The only positive announcement was plans for skilling of manpower for manufacturing of Medical Technologies,” he said.

“We can only be hopeful that the fine print of the Union Budget would possibly act upon our recommendations on levy of cess to enable nominal protection for investors and commercial viability to produce in India which is challenging if basic custom duty is 7.5% or lower; to realize our vision to be among the top 5 Manufacturing Hubs in the world for medical devices and align this to our PM’s vision of being Atmanirbhar,” concluded a despondent Rajiv Nath.

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