Budget Not Very Attractive for the Health Sector

6:52 am Health Care

The budget this year did not provide anything new for the health sector.

  • Income tax exemption limit was raised to Rs 2 lakh. This increase is only marginal against the inflation. The new tax slabs are as follows
    • Individual income upto Rs 2 lakh: No tax
    • From Rs 2 lakh to 5 lakh: 10%
    • From Rs 5 lakh to 10 lakh: 20%
    • Above 10 lakh: 30%
  • No advance tax for senior citizens.
  • A deduction of up to Rs 10,000 is now available for interest from savings bank accounts.
  • Health insurance deduction up to Rs 5000 for preventive health checkup. This will encourage people to go for preventive health checks.
  • Medicines for treating cancer and HIV to cost less
  • 7 more govt medical colleges to be upgraded to All India Institutes
  • Health schemes in urban areas to have higher allocation
  • Maternal and child nutrition scheme to be launched in 200 districts.
  • National Urban Health Mission is being launched, a welcome step. Under this scheme, the basic primary health needs of the urban poor living in shanties in cities will be addressed.
  • Investment linked deduction of capital expenditure in some businesses is proposed to be provided at 150 per cent as against the current rate of 100 per cent. These sectors include hospitals. All services will now attract service tax, except those in the negative list. The negative list includes health care.
  • Service tax rate is being increased from 10 percent to 12 percent, with consequential change in rates for services that have individual tax rates.
  • No change is proposed in peak rate of customs duty of 10 percent on non-agricultural goods.
  • Emphasis on vaccine security: The government tofocus on eradication and prevention. As part of the measures, new vaccine units will be set up across the country while the existing ones would be upgraded. A new integrated vaccine unit would be set up near Chennai.
  • Scope of Accredited Social Health Activist’s (ASHA) activities enlarged to include prevention of Iodine Deficiency Disorders, ensure 100% immunisation and better spacing of children.
  • Increase in allocation for NRHM to Rs 20,822 crore in 2012-13.
  • Excise duty on cigarettes raised
  • Iodised salt, soya products to become cheaper.
  • Govt to fully provide for Food Subsidy and Food Security Act in 2012-13
  • The allocation for rural drinking water and sanitation to be increased by over 27 percent to Rs 14,000 crore.

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