India Budget 2018
The Finance Minister’s reinforced thrust on Digital India through measures like Wi-Fi Hotspots in rural areas will significantly increase internet penetration making India the largest internet enabled population in the world. Access to internet will create skilled jobs in rural areas, avoid migration, and increase reach of rural population to services (like insurance) available only in cities beyond reach.
Given the lack of enough public healthcare infrastructure, the proposal to launch a social security program with regards to public healthcare – the National Healthcare protection scheme that will support 50 Crore underprivileged with health financing is a welcome initiative that was long awaited.
While the increase in the health insurance deduction is a great step, given the recent hike in health insurance premiums for senior citizens, from an Insurance industry’s standpoint, the budget has not been encouraging. We were expecting waiver of GST for senior citizen health insurance, tax sops for insurance products like home and term life insurance(extremely low on penetration) that provide super-essential and currently absent financial security to the middle-class population at large.
[Mahavir Chopra is Director – Health, Life and Strategic Initiatives at Coverfox.com]