Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI) on Wednesday urged the government to streamline tax and duty structure in Union Budget 2020-2021 to ensure people get long-term access to quality medical devices.

The rupee depreciation, combined with the high customs duty rate has increased the cost to patients, making it harder for them to have access to quality medical devices, MTaI said in a statement.

"High customs duties have adversely impacted the costs of medical devices and equipment in India which contradicts the government's efforts to provide low cost healthcare available to masses through programs such as the AB-PMJAY," MTaI Director Sanjay Bhutani said.

This is particularly concerning since more than 70 per cent of the demand for medical devices is being met by global innovators, he added.

Another demand raised by the industry body is for reducing the GST on medical devices from 12 per cent to 5 per cent, the statement said.

It also asked the government to provide tax holiday to medical device research and development centres under the Transfer Pricing Act to boost investment in setting up in-house R&D capabilities.

MTaI also urged the government to consider in the forthcoming budget providing tax incentives on exports as currently there are no tax benefits on export income.

"Export being a growth engine for the economy, it is important that efforts should be made to make it competitive in the international market," the statement said. PTI AKT AKT

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