Mr PChidambaram was expected to present a cautious Budget since this is the last year of this government in the current term and also in view of the reigning political environment.
The Finance Minister has announced small significant benefits to various sections of the society, which are certainly beneficial in the medium term. I feel the Finance Minister deserves to be thanked for announcing income-tax concessions to the middle class. His offer to remove the banking tax and rationalize dividend distribution tax should also please many investors as also rationalizing some aspects of the FBT.
From a healthcare perspective, this is a Historical Budget. This is the first budget that has given some focus and incentive to the private health sector. I expect this Budget to give an impetus to private sector investments in the healthcare space. We are quite aware that despite the huge size of the Indian healthcare sector – estimated to be around $34.2 billion, we rank at a poor 112 as per WHO country rankings and are far behind in terms of infrastructure: beds, doctors and nurses. In fact, according to some estimates, we will need an additional investment of US$ 88 billion for basic healthcare.