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Industry Leaders share their reaction to the Union Interim Budget 2024

The Interim Budget for 2024, presented by the Hon’ble Finance Minister, reflects a dynamic blend of pragmatism and vision. The choice of a paperless presentation, echoing the hybrid education model adopted by schools during the pandemic, symbolizes the adaptability and resilience of the education sector.

Moreover, The Union Budget 2024-25 reflects a visionary approach towards healthcare, recognizing its pivotal role in the nation’s well-being. Prominent figures in the healthcare industry share their insights on the budget’s strategic vision, applauding measures for universal health coverage, preventive healthcare, and technology integration

Kanak Gupta, Group Director- Seth M.R. Jaipuria Schools, expresses excitement about the budget, particularly the focus on quantitatively strengthening schools and higher education. The commitment to upskilling, evident in the 1.8 Crore youth trained under the Skills Mission, aligns with the evolving demands of the job market.

Suneel Galgotia, Chancellor of Galgotias University, praises the budget’s focus on education, recognizing its pivotal role in national development. He applauds allocations for infrastructure, digital learning, and skill-based programs, emphasizing the government’s dedication to upskilling youths. The budget outlines a visionary and comprehensive strategy for transforming and strengthening the education sector.

Dr. Madhu Chitkara, Pro-Chancellor, Chitkara University, recognizes the transformative potential of the budget in empowering the younger generation. “The interim budget for 2024 has reflected the increased aspirations of the younger generation, the provision of opportunities for skill development, and the accessibility of funding for start-up ventures—factors that will fundamentally transform the growth journey to make India a Viksit Bharat by 2047.”

Dr. Manjula Pooja Shroff – Founder & MD, Kalorex Group, commends the budget’s focus on empowering people, especially women and youth, through holistic welfare and growth opportunities. “The budget’s focus is on empowering people, especially women and youth, through holistic welfare and growth opportunities. It is heartening to note that girls constitute 43% of students enrolled in STEM courses, one of the highest in the world.”

Vivek Kapasi, Managing Trustee of Shree Vidhyanagar School, describes the budget as a comprehensive roadmap, balancing diverse sectors. “The Indian budget, a financial blueprint, intricately balances diverse sectors. It allocates funds for education, healthcare, and infrastructure, fostering economic growth.”

Cdr Dr. Bhushan Dewan, Advisor- University of Technology, Jaipur, appreciates its focus on long-term economic growth, reduced budget deficit targets, and incentives for technology innovation. “India’s Interim Budget announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Parliament on 01 Feb 2024 is mainly a Vote-on-account budget because the full budget for the year 2024-2025, normally due February every year would be delayed to July 2024 on account of Parliamentary Elections likely in April-May 2024.”

Prof. Amit Jain, President / Vice-Chancellor, Amity University Rajasthan, Jaipur, appreciates the inclusive budget with a focus on sustainability, rural development, higher education, and defense. “An inclusive budget with a focus on sustainability and rural development. Special provisions for higher education will help improve the quality of education.”

Prof. S N Gupta, Vice-Chancellor, Maganbhai Adenwala Mahagujarat University, Nadiad, views the budget as non-political, uninfluenced by upcoming elections. She said “In my opinion, this is a non-political budget uninfluenced by the upcoming election. Short term outcomes were not in focus but long term impacts were kept in view. It is a progressive and inclusive budget.”

Prof.Dr.B.Sendilkumar, Dean-AHS, VMRF-DU, highlights the significant increase in the allocation of the budget to the education sector by saying “The Interim Budget 2024 was focused on youth and women empowerment, while maintaining fiscal consolidation and continuing capex. The whopping 6.8% increase in allocation of budget compared to the previous year to the education sector is a futuristic move.”

Dr. Achyut Dani, Director General & Provost of JG University, underscores the budget’s role in capacity building through investments in physical and digital infrastructure. “Overall, being an interim budget, it can’t have much to offer due to election code, but it definitely reflects the success of policies due to which the fiscal deficit is low and it is expected to be so in the future also.”

Dr. Vikas Singh, Vice Chancellor, Geeta University, praises the budget’s electoral confidence and fiscal prudence, focusing on the downward fiscal deficit path. Supporting startups and infrastructure spending align with the dream of Viksit Bharat, aiming for a deficit below 4.5% by 2026.

Amol Arora, MD of Shemrock & Shemford Group of Schools, applauds the budget for optimistic educational growth. Increased investment and a focus on girls in higher education and STEM fields align with fostering quality education environments. The commitment to educational infrastructure strengthens their dedication to nurturing innovation and inspiration in Indian schools.

Dr. Aloke Mullick, Group CEO of Omni Hospitals, sees the budget as an umbrella for the healthcare field. He applauds the focus on vaccination, healthcare worker skill upliftment, and infrastructure development. “In short, it’s aiming to serve all from pediatric to geriatric level with a focus on skill updation of healthcare workers.”

Neha Lal, Adani Healthcare, highlights the commendable focus on healthcare infrastructure development, especially in increasing medical and nursing colleges. She emphasizes that research and innovation are key to developing the sector. “In India, cervical cancer contributes to approximately 6–29% of all cancers in women and hence vaccine for age 9-15 is a welcomed initiative.”

Dr. Shuchin Bajaj, Founder Director of Ujala Cygnus Hospitals, commends the budget’s forward-thinking strategy, preventive healthcare measures, and comprehensive maternal-child health programs. He appreciates initiatives like U-WIN platform and Ayushman Bharat extension to health workers.

However, concerns are raised by Niranjan Ramakrishnan, CEO of MyLabConnect, who hoped for a more proactive approach towards reducing duty or tax burdens on life-saving drugs and addressing regulatory challenges in the diagnostics industry. “It’s important to note that these are just potential impacts based on current information. The final budget and its specific provisions will determine the actual impact on the healthcare sector.”

Mr. Joy Chakraborty, COO of P. D. Hinduja Hospital, commends the budget’s strategic vision for universal health coverage. He praises proactive measures, especially for women’s health, emphasizing Anganwadi center enhancement, nutrition, and cervical cancer prevention. The UWin platform and a new vaccination app promise a technologically enhanced approach. While lauding the holistic vision, he suggests increased budgetary allocation for healthcare, aiming for 2.5 – 3.5% of GDP.

Tariq Shaikh, NABH & Hospital Management Consultant, sees the budget as an umbrella for healthcare. He highlights U-Win platform, HPV vaccination, and Ayushman Bharat for all citizens, with a focus on skill upliftment among healthcare workers. The budget aims to serve all age groups, emphasizing skill updation for healthcare workers.

The Interim Budget 2024 sets the stage for a transformative journey. While it draws applause for its pragmatism and visionary outlook, it also sparks discussions about specific sectoral expectations. The road ahead, leading to the final budget, holds the promise of more targeted measures and a continued focus on India’s growth trajectory.

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