Union government should be determined to push through the GST Bill because the taxes will be at least 5-6 per cent lower than the import duty. This would be a sea-change and accelerate the Make in India programme, said Raja Venkatraman, vice chairman and managing director, Philips India Limited.
The government provided a tax holiday to the $160 billion information technology industry. All that it needs to do now is to extend it to the medical equipment manufacturers. Only if this sector is supported in a similar manner, Make in India initiative can be a viable model, he added.
“The government emphasis is towards ‘Make in India’ which is a good intention. But they should also provide incentives to make it feasible. It went on to hike customs duty to ensure manufacturing happens in India. Now medical equipment companies are just doing that despite lack of an ecosystem with no incentives. There are critical components like semi conductors and chips embedded into our medical systems which are imported. Even if Philips designs and manufactures products from India, it does not save on import duty cost because excise and VAT levies add up to the expenses. We cannot pass these costs to the patient. This is where the government should look at GST implementation at a faster pace”, said the Philips India chief.
Philips has a compelling vision to drive innovation. We are looking at accessibility, affordability and high quality in our products which are designed for remote location healthcare needs. This is where our Fetal Heart Rate Monitor to the Children’s Respiration Monitor and e-alert system are miniaturized and rugged to provide the much-needed convenience for the care givers in a low resource setting. Our task on hand is to take healthcare closer to the patients using innovation to design and develop these products. We sell 30 per cent of what we make in India. The entire software designed from the Philips Innovation Campus, Bengaluru, he said.
Fetal Heart Rate Monitor, Children’s Respiration Monitor and e-alert system are most appropriate for the primary health centres. We have inked public private partnerships with several state governments including Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand for our radiology range and will extend it to maternal-infant care too. But health is a state subject in India unlike other countries. Therefore, we need to apply through the tendering process to market much of our products to government hospitals and primary healthcare centres, Raja told Pharmabiz on the sidelines of the 4th edition of the Philips India Innovation Experience.
Currently, Philips India headcount is 9000, of which 3000 personnel are at PIC. We are looking at an annual 30 per cent increase of human resources here, stated the Philips India chief.