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'Indian healthcare requires over $200 bn investment'

FICCI says India's healthcare situation requires a much faster growth rate as it will require about 2.2 mn beds and the investment needed for that is almost $77.9 bn.

business Updated: Jul 22, 2007 09:36 IST

Access to quality healthcare in India is gradually diminishing, and to solve the crisis the sector would need an investment of about $202.75 billion over the next five years, says an industry body.

India's healthcare situation requires a much faster growth rate as it would require about 2.2 million beds and the investment needed for that is almost $77.9 billion, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said in a presentation to the government.

FICCI has suggested a five-pronged PPP (public-private-partnership) model to bridge this huge deficit.

"Unfortunately, at present there is a lack of regulatory framework and the sector attracts sub-standard private healthcare providers and quacks, there is slow implementation of the accreditation process that impacts the quality of healthcare, penetration of health insurance to larger population, shortage of adequately trained healthcare professionals leading to poor quality of service delivery," FICCI said.

"Absence of infrastructure status and appropriate incentives restricts private sector entry into rural and semi-urban areas."

The study also shows that even though 72.2 per cent of India's population lives in the rural areas, 80 per cent of doctors, 75 per cent dispensaries and 60 per cent of hospitals are in the urban areas, making it nearly impossible for the rural people, especially poor, to avail themselves of quality healthcare services.

The chamber has suggested attracting private investment in the sector, including foreign direct investment following the PPP route and expanding medical education and training, thereby promoting India as a global hub for quality and affordable healthcare services.

It has also urged that the sector be granted industrial status, making provision for soft loans from public sector banks and reducing customs duty on medical equipment.

To promote India as a healthcare hub, FICCI has suggested bilateral initiatives like a Joint Economic Trade Committee (JETCO) between Britain and India, business-to-business facilitation for British and Indian companies for medical equipment and mutual recognition of medical degrees among others.