(incorporating eIMA News)
5th March 2016
Editorial (Dr S S Agarwal, Dr K K Aggarwal)
50 Budget Points that may affect Health care in India
  1. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare allocation 32154 (14-15), 34957 (15-16), 39533 (16-17) in crores.  Of  the  total  19.5  lakh  crores, only  38000  odd  crores  is  budgeted  for  health.
  2. A new initiative has been announced to ensure that the BPL families are provided with a cooking gas connection, supported by a Government subsidy. This will significantly improve the health of women and those BPL families who suffer adversely from the ill-effects of Chulha cooking such as asthma, COPD and cancer.
  3. Catastrophic health events are the single most important cause of unforeseen out-of-pocket expenditure, which pushes lakhs of households below the poverty line every year. Serious illness of family members cause severe stress on the financial circumstances of poor and economically weak families, shaking the foundation of their economic security. In order to help such families, the Government will launch a new health protection scheme which will provide health cover up to Rs. One lakh per family. For senior citizens aged 60 years and older belonging to this category, an additional top-up package up to Rs. 30,000 will be provided.
  4. Making quality medicines available at affordable prices has been a key challenge. 3,000 Stores under the Prime Minister’s Jan Aushadhi Yojana will be opened during 2016-17.
  5. About 2.2 lakh new patients of end stage renal disease (ESRD) get added in India every year resulting in additional demand for 3.4 crore dialysis sessions. With approximately 4,950 dialysis centers in India, largely in the private sector and concentrated in the major towns, the demand is only half met. Every dialysis session costs about Rs. 2,000, an annual expenditure of more than Rs. 3 lakh. Besides, most families have to undertake frequent trips, often over long distances, to access dialysis services, incurring heavy travel costs and loss of wages. To address this situation, government is starting a ‘National Dialysis Services Programme’. Funds will be made available through PPP mode under the National Health Mission, to provide dialysis services in all district hospitals. To reduce the cost, government will exempt certain parts of dialysis equipment from basic customs duty, excise/CVD (countervailing duty) and SAD (special additional duty).
  6. Women and SC/ST health care providers: Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe entrepreneurs are beginning to show great promise in starting and running successful business enterprises. The Prime Minister had given a call for promoting entrepreneurship among SC/STs to become job providers rather than job seekers. Union Cabinet has approved the “Stand Up India Scheme” to promote entrepreneurship among SC/ST and women. Rs. 500 crore has been provided for this purpose. The Scheme will facilitate at least two such projects per bank branch, one for each category of entrepreneur.
  7. Under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), 500 Multi Skill Training Institutes will be set up across the country. 1,700 crore have been set aside for these initiatives. The Government will set up a National Board for Skill Development Certification in partnership with the industry and academia. Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna will train one crore youth over the next three years. Health care educators and technicians comes under this scheme
  8. Together with the capital expenditure of the Railways, the total outlay on roads and railways will be Rs. 2,18,000 crore in 2016-17. Better infrastructure will prevent road fatal accidents and better interstate domestic medical tourism and faster medical reach to the emergency centers. The total outlay for infrastructure in BE 2016-17 stands at Rs. 2,21,246 crore.
  9. Swachh Bharat Mission is India’s biggest drive to improve sanitation and cleanliness, especially in rural India. 9,000 crore has been provided for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. This will help reduce food- and water-borne diseases. Diarrhea alone causes over 3 lakh deaths in children 0-5 years
  10. The Government is committed to achieve 100% village electrification by 1st May, 2018. 
    Rs.  8,500 crore has been provided for Deendayal Upadhayaya Gram Jyoti Yojna and Integrated Power Development Schemes. This will help reduce food-borne illnesses with better preservations available.
  11. Exemption of service tax on general insurance services provided under ‘Niramaya’ Health Insurance Scheme launched by National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disability.
  12. Excise duties on various tobacco products other than beedi increased by about 10 to 15% to discourage consumption of tobacco and tobacco products.
  13. A number of assistive devices, rehabilitation aids and other goods for differently abled (Divyang) persons attract 'nil' basic customs duty. It will now be extended to Braille paper.
  14. In order to lessen tax burden on individuals with income not exceeding Rs. 5 lakhs, the government has proposed to raise the ceiling of tax rebate under section 87A from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 5,000. There are 2 crore tax payers in this category, who will get a relief of Rs. 3,000 in their tax liability.
  15. Doctors who do not have any house of their own and also do not get any house rent allowance from any employer today get a deduction of Rs. 24,000 per annum from their income to compensate them for the rent they pay. The government proposes to increase the limit of deduction in respect of rent paid under section 80GG from Rs. 24,000 per annum to Rs. 60,000 per annum, which should provide relief to those who live in rented houses.
  16. Presumptive taxation scheme under section 44AD of the Income Tax Act is available for small and medium enterprises i.e. non corporate businesses with turnover or gross receipts not exceeding one crore rupees. At present about 33 lakh small business people avail of this benefit, which frees them from the burden of maintaining detailed books of account and getting audit done. The government proposes to increase the turnover limit under this scheme to Rs. 2 crores, which will bring big relief to a large number of assesees in the MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) category.
  17. To extend the presumptive taxation scheme to professionals with gross receipts up to Rs. 50 lakh with the presumption of profit being 50% of the gross receipts.
  18. Introduction of a bill to amend the Companies Act, 2013 in the current Budget Session of the Parliament to remove the difficulties and impediments to ease of doing business. The Bill would also improve the enabling environment for start-ups. The registration of companies will also be done in one day.
  19. Doctors and other professionals have been included in Section 44AD.
  20. Presumptive taxation scheme under section 44AD of the Income Tax Act is available for small and medium enterprises i.e. non corporate businesses with turnover or gross receipts not exceeding one crore rupees.
  21. At present about 33 lakh small business people avail of this benefit, which frees them from the burden of maintaining detailed books of account and getting audit done. The government proposes to increase the turnover limit under this scheme to Rs. 2 crores, which will bring big relief to a large number of assesses in the MSME category.
  22. The government also proposes to extend the presumptive taxation scheme to professionals with gross receipts up to Rs. 50 lakh with the presumption of profit being 50% of the gross receipts.
  23. Allocation for welfare of Children from 64635 crores last year to 65758 crores this year; Schemes for welfare of Women from 81249 crores last year to 90625 crores this year.
  24. Rural Development and Drinking Water from 90185 crores last year to 101775 crores this year.
  25. Social Sectors including Education and Health from 139619 crores last year to 151581 crores this year.
  26. Agriculture and Irrigation from 25988 crores last year to 54212 crores this year.
  27. Section 35 of the Income-tax Act: Deduction for Expenditure on Scientific Research. It is proposed to amend section 35 of the Income-tax Act so as to reduce the weighted deduction under section 35(1)(ii), 35 (2AA) and 35 (2AB) to 150% from the financial year 2017-18 to financial year 2019-20 and from the financial year 2020-21 onwards the deduction shall be restricted to 100%. It is also proposed that deduction under section 35(1) (iia) and (iii) of the Income-tax Act shall be reduced from 125% to 100% with effect from 01.04.2017.
  28. Section 35AC of the Income-tax Act: Deduction for Expenditure on social projects. It is proposed to amend section 35AC of the Income-tax Act so as to provide that no deduction under the said section shall be available from financial year 2017-18 (Assessment Year 2018-19).
  29. Section 35 CCD of the Income-tax Act: Deduction for expenditure on skill development project. It is proposed to amend section 35CCD of the Income-tax Act so as to provide that the weighted deduction of 150% shall be available up to financial year 2019-20 (assessment year 2020-21). However, the deduction under the said section shall be restricted to 100% from financial year 2020-21 (Assessment Year 2021-22).
  30. Section 35AD of the Income-tax Act: Investment linked deduction for specified business. It is proposed to amend section 35AD of the Income tax Act so as to reduce the deduction from 150% to 100% in the case of a cold chain facility, warehousing facility for storage of agricultural produce, an affordable housing project, production of fertilizer and building and operating hospitals with effect from 01.04.2017.
  31. Section 80-IA of the Income-tax Act: Deduction for development of infrastructure facility: It is proposed to amend section 80IA of the Income-tax Act so as to provide that no deduction shall be available to enterprise, which starts development, operation and maintenance of any infrastructure facility on or after 1st April, 2017. It is further proposed to provide that the development, operation and maintenance of an infrastructure facility beginning on or after 1st April, 2017 shall be eligible for investment-linked deduction under section 35AD of the Income-tax Act.
  32. Where a trust or institution registered u/s 12AA of the Income-tax Act ceases to be charitable organization, the amount of net asset as on date of such conversion, which represents the income accreted to the trust over a period of time shall be charged to additional income-tax at the maximum marginal rate. Similarly, if on dissolution a charitable trust or institution does not transfer all its assets within one year of dissolution to another charitable organization, the amount of accreted income to the extent not transferred shall be subject to this levy of additional income-tax
  33. Government will enact necessary amendments in the Motor Vehicles Act and open up the road transport sector in the passenger segment. An enabling ecosystem will be provided for the States which will have the choice of adopting the new legal framework. Entrepreneurs will be able to operate buses on various routes, subject to certain efficiency and safety norms. The major benefits of this game changing initiative will be provision of more efficient public transport facilities, greater public convenience, new investment in this moribund sector, creation of new jobs for our youth, growth of start-up entrepreneurs and other multiplier effects.
  34. New airports: In the civil aviation sector, the Government is drawing up an action plan for revival of unserved and underserved airports. There are about 160 15 airports and air strips with State Governments which can be revived at an indicative cost of R. 50 crore to Rs. 100 crore each. We will partner with the State Governments to develop some of these airports for regional connectivity. Similarly, 10 of the 25 non-functional air strips with the Airport Authority of India will also be developed.
  35. General insurance companies owned by the Government will be listed in the stock exchanges. Especially in rural areas, a massive nationwide rollout of ATMs and Micro ATMs in Post Offices over the next three years.
  36. Basic customs duty on import of Medical Use Fission Molybdenum-99 by Board of Radiation and Isotope Technology (BRIT) for manufacture of radio pharmaceuticals being exempted (from 7.5% to zero)
  37. Concessional Basic Customs Duties (BCD) on Pulp of wood for manufacture of sanitary pads, napkins & tampons being provided (from 5% to 2.5%)
  38. Concessional BCD on Super Absorbent Polymer when used for manufacture of sanitary pads, napkins & tampons being extended (from 5% to 2.5%))
  39. Excise duty on improved cook stoves including smokeless chulhas for burning wood, agro waste, cow dung, briquettes, and coal being exempted unconditionally (from 12.5% to nil)
  40. Amendments in Narcotics Drugs And Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985
  41. Exemptions being restored, with effect from 01.04.2015, in relation to contracts which had been entered into prior to 01.03.2015 for services of: a) construction provided to the Government, a local authority or a governmental authority, in respect of construction of govt. schools, hospitals etc. b) construction of ports, airports. 
  42. To exempt service tax on services provided under Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushalya Yojana and services provided by Assessing Bodies empanelled by Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship.
  43. Reduction in basic custom and excise duty on refrigerated containers to 5% and 6% respectively to promote their use.
  44. Bringing black  money  into  mainstream  by  giving  a  window  to  those  with  undisclosed  income  to  declare  and  pay  45%  tax  to  convert  it  into  white 
  45. For the ‘first-home buyers’, deduction for additional interest of Rs. 50,000 per annum for loans up to Rs. 35 lakh sanctioned during the next financial year, provided the value of the house does not exceed Rs. 50 lakh.
  46. To raise the surcharge from 12% to 15% on persons, other than companies, firms and cooperative societies having income above Rs. 1 crore. To collect tax at source at the rate of 1% on purchase of luxury cars exceeding value of Rs. 10 lakh and purchase of goods and services in cash exceeding Rs. 2 lakh.
  47. An infrastructure cess of 1% on small petrol, LPG, CNG cars.
  48. 2.5% on diesel cars of certain capacity and 4% on other higher engine capacity vehicles and SUVs.
  49. In order to continue this momentum, priority allocation from Centrally Sponsored Schemes will be made to reward villages that have become free from open defecation.
  50. Start of the ‘Pashudhan Sanjivani’, an animal wellness programme and provision of Animal Health Cards (‘Nakul Swasthya Patra’)
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Even a 5% weight reduction matters in obesity
New Delhi, March 04, 2016: People with obesity who reduce their weight by 5% will have improvements in metabolic function in many tissues, including fat, liver, and muscle. Further weight loss of 10 to 15% results in additional improvements. India is ranked as the third most obese country in the world and obesity is a leading contributor of heart disease. Given that 13% Indians are found to be suffering from obesity, the country faces a major risk of a heart disease epidemic.
With the rising body mass of Indians especially the urban youth, the incidence of premature heart disease also continues to increase. Obesity contributes to the deposition of a wax-like substance also known as plaque, in the coronary arteries, which in turn chokes the oxygen and blood circulation to the heart. Eventually, these blockages trigger heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrests. 
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