Stakeholders hail JK government’s new Health Investment Policy
Srinagar: Healthcare entrepreneurs and doctors have hailed the government’s approval to the ‘Healthcare Investment Policy-2019’, saying it will boost the private health sector and investment in Jammu Kashmir.
As per the stakeholders, the policy is expected to improve accessibility of quality healthcare services to the people, promote establishment of hospital, medical and allied educational infrastructure and establish the state as a destination of choice for private healthcare service providers, besides promoting medical tourism.
“The salient features of policy are excellent for developing health sector in Jammu and Kashmir especially the subsidy on power tariff and purchase of land,” Managing Director Noora Hospitals, Manzoor Wagay said.
He said the policy can make the health a priority sector in Jammu Kashmir as “it will give boost to specialised healthcare.”
Dr Muhammad Salim Khan, a senior faculty in Government Medical College, Srinagar termed this policy as ‘game changer’ for private health sector.
“This will attract big corporate hospitals to open their branches in J&K. It will also help large number of people to get away from unnecessary hassles they face outside while availing healthcare facilities for specific disease,” he said.
According to Dr Khan, the policy will also solve the issue of brain drain of doctors in future.
“When big corporate hospitals come up in Srinagar, Jammu and other areas of J&K, it will retain many medical professionals who otherwise look for greener pastures,” he said.
A Jammu-based healthcare entrepreneur, Nigam Gupta said the policy will attract investments from a variety of healthcare sectors, help generate employments and business opportunities for locals.
“J&K fails to attract corporate sector and is in dire need of a planned process, and if things go well, soon our state will witness a handsome expansion in infrastructure and systems for providing health care education and medical services throughout,” he said.
“J&K has lot of scope for encouraging Medical Tourism and further we have a huge scope to initiate attracting medical industries and device manufacturing to cater the unemployement,” Gupta said.
Last week, the State Administrative Council (SAC) headed by Governor, Satya Pal Malik approved the Policy to provide 30 percent subsidy on capital investment for setting up of multi-speciality and super-speciality hospitals, medical, nursing and paramedical colleges. Besides, interest subsidy at a rate of five per cent per annum on term loan subject to a ceiling of Rs 15 lakh per year for a period of five years from the date of operationalisation of the project and subsidised power tariff rates as applicable to the industries sector will also be provided.
“Those interested in setting up medical colleges will be provided land up to 25 acres at a token premium of Rs 1 per kanal outside Municipal Corporation limits, subject to the availability of land, and required capital investment will be Rs 200 crore to be made within a period of five years,” said a spokesperson.
Single-window clearance mechanism would also be adopted for processing the project proposals with final approval to be accorded by Apex Level Project Clearance Committee (ALPCC), the spokesperson said.
“Under the Policy, Government may declare a well defined geographical area as ‘Medical City’ for having potential and being conducive for development and promoting medical tourism in the state,” he said.
According to official data private healthcare sector in the state had not come up like in other states with nearly 80 percent of the healthcare facilities provided by the public sector.
“In the absence of private sector, there is huge rush of patients in the government institutions which affects the quality of patient care available. There are many Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and Sub Centres functioning from rented buildings with some being under staffed,” it said.
“J&K still requires 69 new community Health Centres, 222 PHCs and 1396 Sub Centres. Even for implementation of Ayushmaan Bharat, Hospitals, Nursing Homes would be required in private sector for its implementation,” as per the Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) norms,.