January 25th , 2011.
Shri Pranab Mukherjee
Minister for Finance
Government of India
New Delhi -110001
Subject : One action item in the budget for 2011-12 that can raise the GDP by 1-3 %
Dear Pranab Da ,
I am sure that your team is working hard to find a balance between maintaining the growth, reducing inflation , keeping the debt within reasonable limits , and still maintain India as one of the most appealing investment destination for foreign investors !! I know that it is quite a challenge, but we are sure that your team will achieve it under your leadership
I am making this request on behalf of The Disease Management Association of India ; DMAI- The Population Health Improvement Alliance . At DMAI, we work with various stake holders to bring about a lasting improvement in our healthcare system Healthcare in India is a big economic issue and is fast turning out to be a social & a political issue .
Let me walk you through one reality – Healthcare is not an individual issue , it is a family issue . Take the case of a person suffering from just one of the chronic diseases like Arthritis, Diabetes , Cardiac disease or Cancer (It is a known fact, that by the time an Indian reaches the age of forty , he is either at the risk of or suffering from a chronic disease) . If a person in family suffers from a chronic disease , not only does that person lose his efficiency ( productivity ) , but loses many work days every year due to treatment and restrictions imposed during the course of treatment . In addition to the person having a direct loss in his productivity , his entire family has to make some adjustments & sacrifices , thereby having a cascading effect on the productivity of the entire family !! Ultimately, this affects the entire family , organizations where these people are working , and finally pulls down the productivity of the entire nation directly , which is what I understand as the GDP of our nation !
Pranab Da, just consider one step in your budget , and you would be the first Finance minister in the world to have given top priority to health to boost the productivity of a nation !
I am hopeful that you will allow expenses in meditation , Yoga , Swimming pool , fitness centers, Gyms & preventive health check-ups to be included in the rebate for income tax -Just like we have health insurance premiums which qualify for tax rebate . Health insurance is nothing but transferring the risk and payment to a pool, but what we need desperately in India is “Health Assurance” – avoiding diseases , and that means, we need to encourage healthy habits & provide appealing benefits to people to take to activities that promote fitness and take away sickness !!
I am sure that you will consider to levy a 4 % service tax on all the providers of services like meditation training , Yoga classes , Swimming pools , fitness centers, Gyms & preventive health check-ups , but also give rebate to the citizens who enroll in such activities . Further , I would request you to give equal rebate to Health insurance & Health Assurance in this budget in terms of the total amount qualifying for the rebate in income tax.
I am very sure that, the ministry of Finance and the entire nation would gain from the healthy population in terms of enhanced productivity and lesser loss of man days , in addition to a healthy collection of taxes from the service providers in the fitness segment that will add up the numbers drastically. I personally believe that this one step that has the potential to raise the GDP of the nation by a minimum of 1 % and can go as high as 3 % additional increase in GDP , which means that by 2012, India can grow at 10-12 % in terms of GDP by just taking one step in this budget !
In addition to the growth in GDP , our future generations would always feel indebted to your selves ,for taking this most important decision for bettering the healthcare of individuals & raising the productivity of the nation
I am sure that this very important recommendation would be considered positively and acted upon!
We will always remain thankful to you for the kind consideration
Yours in good health
Rajendra Pratap Gupta
Sonia Gandhi Rahul Gandhi Dr.Manmohan Singh Dr.Murli Mahohar Joshi Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad Montek Singh Ahluwalia Dr.Syeda Hameed. Shri L.K.Advani Smt. Sushma Swaraj Shri Dinesh Trivedi Sitaram Yechury Members of Parliament Sam Pitroda Secy , Health & Family Welfare , GOI Dr.K.Srinath Reddy Chief Minister’s of States Dr.Salim Hebayeb, WHO Gerard M La Forgia , World Bank