PUNE: While presenting the Union Budget on Saturday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman p roposed to expand Jan Aushadhi Kendra Scheme to all districts in the country by 2024. In her speech, Sitharaman announced that the scheme will be offering 2,000 medicines and 300 surgicals in all districts by 2024.
However, health activists say that just like the Congress government, the ruling party is lagging when it comes to effective implementation of this policy.
Jan Arogya Abhiyaan’s Dr Anant Phadke, in an official statement, said that just like the Congress government, the present government also seems uninterested in its effective implementation.
“The scheme was started in 2008 and till date, it has not been effectively implemented. India witnesses about Rs one lakh crore of sale of medicines and the budget allocation this time is hardly Rs 50 crore,” said Dr Phadke.
However, private players are happy with the budget allocation. Amit Choudhary, Founder and CEO of Dawaa Dost, India’s number one generic pharmacy chain, said the budget has a holistic vision for healthcare and the move towards expansion of Jan Aushadhi Kendras in the country.
Meena Ganesh, MD and CEO, Portea Medical, India’s leading consumer healthcare brand, said that overall, there has been pro-development policies in the budget this year and are also happy to see that healthcare was not absent from the agenda this time.
Saurabh Agarwal - Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Medlife.com said that this budget has been pro-health and we are encouraged to see policies around seamless delivery of services through technology, a holistic vision for healthcare and the move towards expansion of Jan Aushadhi Kendras in the country. “The lack of any clarity around the e-pharmacy sector and regulation for the same has come as a dampener. This sector has the potential to realise the government’s vision of access to affordable and quality care. Given this, we hoped to see some policies for the online pharmacy segment,” said Agarwal.