Industry body Ficci has recommended the government raise the tax exemption on preventive health check-up from the current Rs 5,000 per person to Rs 20,000 and also sought the "national priority" status for the healthcare sector. In its Budget recommendation to the government, the industry body has also sought a separate annual deduction of up to Rs 10,000 per employee, towards expenses incurred for sponsoring the health check expenses of their employees.
"Every year, roughly 5.8 million Indians succumb to heart and lung diseases, stroke, cancer and diabetes. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, heart diseases and respiratory diseases are expected to comprise more than 75 per cent of India's disease burden by 2025," the Budget recommendation said.
Preventive health check-ups can help in early diagnosis and timely treatment of NCDs, hence lowering complications, mortality and burden on secondary and tertiary care facilities.
"It is recommended that tax exemption on preventive health check-up should be raised from the current Rs 5,000 per person to Rs 20,000 under section 80-D of Income Tax Act 1961," the budget recommendation said.
It also said that as there has been significant rise in cost inflation index in general, 70 per cent over the last five years and medical inflation in particular, the medical reimbursement deduction needs to be re-introduced and the annual limit needs to be enhanced to not less than Rs 100,000 per annum.
The annual medical reimbursement limit is currently set at a sum of Rs 15,000 per annum under Section 17(2) of the Income Tax Act which was fixed in April 1999 and has been merged along with conveyance allowance into a composite standard deduction limit of Rs 40,000.
It also sought long-term financing option for the sector.
"There is need for long-term financing options for the healthcare sector, as provided to the other sectors accorded with the 'infrastructure status'. Also, healthcare sector should be accorded 'national priority' status," it said.
Ficci also urged the government to provide interest subsidy on loans provided to the healthcare sector.
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