Monday, April 21, 2008

What the Indian government can do to promote medical tourism

Medical tourism has become a hot area in India today; and the government promises to do everything they can to promote this. After all, not only does it earn the country valuable foreign exchange, the fact that patients come to India from the US and the UK adds to our national prestige .

The tragedy is that a lot of the promises are just hot air. Ideally, the government should promote medical tourism by providing subsidies and infrastructure services to hospitals and doctors so that they can improve the care they provide. This is done routinely for the IT industry, which gets large tracts of real estate from the government at highly subsidized rates, so there's no reason why this cannot be done for hospitals ( which provide employment to thousands and a socially useful service to local citizens as well !) I guess this is asking for the moon, so let's see if they can do something much simpler which would not cost them anything.

In order to promote exports , the government offers a lot of sops and carrots to industries which earn foreign exchange. For example, companies which earn foreign exchange are eligible for tax exemptions , which means they pay much less tax than others. Why can't the same rules be applied for doctors and hospitals who earn foreign exchange from overseas patients ? Why shouldn't the export of all services which earn foreign exchange ( whether in the IT industry, jewellery industry, the hotel industry or the healthcare industry) be treated on par ?

1 comment:

  1. I think the the biggest hurdle that is impeding medical tourism is the lack of confidence of foreigners in the competence of Indian doctors in the Indian health care setting to provide safe and effective treatment.

    In response to this post, I have elaborated the above point and how the Indian government can solve it.
    The post is at

    Carrying the conversation ahead.


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