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Women Inc Budget wishlist: Tax-free healthcare equipment, reforms to promote ease of doing business

With expectations riding high, top bosses have their wishlists ready for Nirmala Sitharaman.

ET Online|
Last Updated: Jun 20, 2019, 04.52 PM IST
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Abanti Sankaranarayanan, Chief Strategy & Corporate Affairs Officer, Diageo India (L) and Meena Ganesh, MD & CEO, Portea Medical (R).
The countdown to Narendra Modi-led NDA's first Union Budget in its second consecutive term has got boardrooms buzzing. With expectations riding high, top bosses have their wishlists ready for the country's first full-time female Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman.

We asked Women Inc about their expectations from the Budget, and the responses varied from the need to build upon policies like ‘Make in India’ to efforts towards making essential healthcare equipment tax-free.


Meena Ganesh, MD & CEO, Portea Medical

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Meena Ganesh, MD & CEO, Portea Medical

"It is heartening to see how the government has been promoting healthcare start-ups in India and increasing the spending on healthcare. However, it comes as a disappointment to observe how life-saving equipment such as ventilators, BIPAP and CPAP, etc. have been placed under heavy taxes. Even something as basic as crutches and wheelchairs have been put under the 5% to 7.5% GST bracket. These are essentials and should not have been taxed.

"It is perplexing to see how the medical equipment spare parts are being taxed under the highest slot of 28% GST. This is highly debilitating for the healthcare industry. We hope that there will be a critical evaluation of the situation and that there will be serious thought given to make healthcare essential equipment tax-free."

Abanti Sankaranarayanan, Chief Strategy & Corporate Affairs Officer, Diageo India

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Abanti Sankaranarayanan, Chief Strategy & Corporate Affairs Officer, Diageo India

“We hope the government will build upon progressive policies like ‘Make in India’, and usher in the next phase of reforms to promote the ease of doing business. In a GST world, the Premium Alco bev sector is the largest sectoral contributor to the State economy through excise revenue. Therefore, in sectors that contribute significantly to state GDP (such as beverage alcohol), we look towards the Federal Government to encourage states to bring about comprehensive regulatory reform, one that eases out old and obsolete business regulations, adopts a ‘Sectoral’ framework that assesses ‘ease of doing business’ across the entire value chain of a sector.”

Saroja Yeramilli, CEO and Founder, Melorra

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Saroja Yeramilli, CEO and Founder, Melorra

"The government had announced some good measures in the interim Budget. It is really encouraging to see them emphasising on mutual progress and prosperity across all sections of society.

"We believe that there is a need to make ESOP taxation available in the hands of the employee at the time of sale, as opposed to during the time of exercising rights. To bolster start-ups and their financial planning, it is important to make a special accounting software/ERP available to those with a turnover of less than Rs 100 crore, free of cost.

"There must be capitalisation of all marketing and brand related expenses in the initial 5 years of business. We also hope the Government will consider contributing towards the employer PF portion without any restrictions on turnover and headcount for the initial 5 years."

Savitha Kuttan, Founder & CEO, Omnicuris

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Savitha Kuttan, Founder & CEO, Omnicuris

"With the introduction of central government’s Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection scheme, the burden on healthcare scheme is only expected to rise. As it covers 50 crore households or 500 million people, healthcare isn’t only getting more accessible but also becoming more efficient in diagnosing and treating patients with a strong primary care system in place.

"The need of the hour is that primary care system should be strengthened in such a way that they are capable of doing the initial assessment, diagnosis and basic management and appropriate referral if need be. A thorough assessment and investigation at the primary care or secondary care can lead to a significant saving of resources in the territory level. The government should facilitate more Continuous Medical Education (CMEs) to upgrade skills which can solve the problem of shortage of trained doctors."

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