J&K begins process to woo 'global investment' in healthcare

Greater Kashmir

As the much-hyped global investors summit came to sudden halt due to COVID19 pandemic, J&K Health and Medical Education department is in the process to attract global investment into health care setup, including health and wellness tourism, in the Union territory.

The department is eyeing an initial investment of Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 2,000 crore in the private sector for building modern healthcare institutions in Jammu and Srinagar to provide the best health services to public.

The Jammu and Kashmir State Administrative Council (SAC) on 9 March 2019 approved the “State Health Care Investment Policy-2019” aimed at promoting private parties and entrepreneurs to set up healthcare infrastructure in the state.

“We are in the fresh process to attract global investment into the healthcare setup in Jammu and Kashmir. The COVID19 has badly hit the global investors summit to bring huge investment into J&K. We are back with the process now”, Financial commissioner, Health and Medical Education, Atul Dulloo said.

He said three major investment proposals have come to J&K and they were under process. Under the global summit, meeting would be held with top players in the health sector across the country very soon, he said.

Jammu and Kashmir is the only place in the country, which has no major and middle level chain of hospitals operating in the rest of the country. Except Batra hospital in the private sector, nearly 97 percent of healthcare needs are met by public health institutes, reveals a latest report on manpower audit in the Health department, underlying importance of the government healthcare system in J&K.

“In 2018-19 at least 2.39 crore OPD visits of patients were recorded in J&K and out of them 99.2 percent (2.22 crore patients) were seen only in government hospitals. The private sector accounted for a minuscule 0.8 per cent of all OPD visits”, as per the report.

Besides, 96.6 percent (8.36 lakh) patients who needed admission availed public health facilities while 91.3 percent of all deliveries took place in government hospitals, it added.

Dulloo said most of the dependence of people rests with public health institutes. “Efforts are on to ensure promotion and encouragement of private entrepreneurs to set up healthcare infrastructure in the state for which the government shall provide subsidies on various fronts to the entrepreneurs,” he said.

He said Health and Medical organisations were eyeing an initial investment of Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 2,000 crore for private entrepreneurs for establishment of hospital, medical and allied educational infrastructure and establish J&K as a destination of choice for private healthcare service providers, besides promoting medical tourism.

Dulloo, who is the architect of the “State Health Care Investment Policy-2019”, said focus was not only creation of the best of the best private hospitals in Jammu and Srinagar but also smaller ones in districts and health resorts to boost health and wellness tourism as J&K is natural destination of the world.

He said the salient features of the policy include 30 percent subsidy on capital investment to be provided for setting up of multi-speciality and super-speciality hospitals, medical, nursing and paramedical colleges.

He said other features of the policy include interest subsidy at a rate of five percent per annum on term loan subject to a ceiling of Rs 15 lakh per year for a period of five years from the date of operationalisation of the project and subsidised power tariff rates as applicable to the industries sector. “Single-window clearance mechanism would be adopted for processing the project proposals with final approval to be accorded by Apex Level Project Clearance Committee (ALPCC)”, he said.