Being a tax professional going through the budget changes is what we have to do as a part of our job. When the government presents a budget, the Finance Minister tries to convince that they keep the best interest of the common people in mind while imposing tax on the general public. This year through budget 2011, the Finance Minister of India has levied service tax on A/c hospitals having 25 or more beds.
The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry along with several prominent health care institutes throughout India has raised a voiced against this measure. In India it is impossible for a blood bank or operation theatre to function without proper air-conditioning. Further, the life of several patents would be at stake if they get admitted in a hospital without an A/C. The Government has proposed that they are levying such tax only on people who can afford it. But most importantly, i think the Hon’ble Finance Minister, however educated he might be has forgotten that nobody goes to hospital to relax. Most people who are admitted in hospitals are facing a life and death situation. Further, there are so many unprivileged people who put everything at stake, sale or mortgage their fixed assets to save their beloved ones.
The entire liability of service tax would be passed on by the clinics to their patients. What appears to the Government to be a mere tax collection , can make a lot of people beg on streets just to add a few more days to the life of their dearest one.
According to FICCI, India today is in dire need to expand its healthcare infrastructure which is extremely inadequate. The quantity of bed allocated is 0.9 for every 1,000 people in our country when compared to the global average of 2.7, or 3.0 in China and 2.4 in Brazil.
I really pray that the Government bows in front of the combined pressure from all areas and removed this clause from the Finance Bill. If they cant control inflation, they better not make sure to add more plight to the poor and ailing who are already being neglected by our so called “Prospering Country”.
Signing off for today
PS: The tax structure of the Union Budget 2011