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Healthcare Industry in India

February, 2018


Healthcare has become one of India’s largest sectors - both in terms of revenue and employment. Healthcare comprises hospitals, medical devices, clinical trials, outsourcing, telemedicine, medical tourism, health insurance and medical equipment. The Indian healthcare sector is growing at a brisk pace due to its strengthening coverage, services and increasing expenditure by public as well private players.

Indian healthcare delivery system is categorised into two major components - public and private. The Government, i.e. public healthcare system comprises limited secondary and tertiary care institutions in key cities and focuses on providing basic healthcare facilities in the form of primary healthcare centres (PHCs) in rural areas. The private sector provides majority of secondary, tertiary and quaternary care institutions with a major concentration in metros, tier I and tier II cities.

India's competitive advantage lies in its large pool of well-trained medical professionals. India is also cost competitive compared to its peers in Asia and Western countries. The cost of surgery in India is about one-tenth of that in the US or Western Europe.

Market Size

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India has predicted that with increased digital adoption, the Indian healthcare market, which is worth around US$ 100 billion, will likely grow at a CAGR of 23 per cent to US$ 280 billion by 2020. The healthcare market can increase three fold to US$ 372 billion by 2022.

India is experiencing 22-25 per cent growth in medical tourism and the industry is expected to double its size from present (April 2017) US$ 3 billion to US$ 6 billion by 2018. Medical tourist arrivals in India increased more than 50 per cent to 200,000 in 2016 from 130,000 in 2015.

The Healthcare Information Technology (IT) market is valued at US$ 1 billion currently (April 2016) and is expected to grow 1.5 times by 2020. #

Over 80 per cent of the antiretroviral drugs used globally to combat AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) are supplied by Indian pharmaceutical firms^.

There is a significant scope for enhancing healthcare services considering that healthcare spending as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is rising. Rural India, which accounts for over 70 per cent of the population, is set to emerge as a potential demand source.

A total of 3,598 hospitals and 25,723 dispensaries across the country offer AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) treatment, thus ensuring availability of alternative medicine and treatment to the people. In 2017, the Government of India has provided grant-in-aid for setting up of AYUSH educational institutions in States and Union Territories.


The hospital and diagnostic centres attracted Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) worth US$ 4.83 billion between April 2000 and September 2017, according to data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). Some of the recent investments in the Indian healthcare industry are as follows:

  • India and Cuba have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to increase cooperation in the areas of health and medicine, according to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
  • Singapore's Temasek will acquire a 16 per cent stake worth Rs 1,000 crore (US$ 156.16 million) in Bengaluru based private healthcare network Manipal Hospitals, which runs a hospital chain of around 5,000 beds.

Government Initiatives

Some of the major initiatives taken by the Government of India to promote Indian healthcare industry are as follows:

  • India's first ever 'Air Dispensary', which is based in a helicopter, will be launched in the Northeast and the Ministry of Development of Northeast Region (DONER) has already contributed Rs 25 crore (US$ 3.82 million) for its funding.
  • The Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) has been launched by the Government of India with the aim of improving coverage of immunisation in the country and reach every child under two years of age and all the pregnant women who have not been part of the routine immunisation programme.
  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is planning to spend more funds, over and above the current sanction of Rs 955 crore (US$ 148.22 million), to tackle lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), hypertension, obesity and diabetes in India.
  • The Union Cabinet approved setting up of National Nutrition Mission (NNM) with a three year budget of Rs 9,046.17 crore (US$ 1.40 billion) to monitor, supervise, fix targets and guide the nutrition related interventions across the Ministries.
  • The Government of India aims to increase the total health expenditure to 2.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2025 from the current 1.15 per cent.
  • Mr J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, launched initiatives such as LaQshya, for Labour Room Quality Improvement, a mobile application for safe delivery, and operational guidelines for obstetric high dependency units (HDUs) and intensive care units (ICUs).

Road Ahead

India is a land full of opportunities for players in the medical devices industry. India’s healthcare industry is one of the fastest growing sectors and in the coming 10 years it is expected to reach $275 billion. The country has also become one of the leading destinations for high-end diagnostic services with tremendous capital investment for advanced diagnostic facilities, thus catering to a greater proportion of population. Besides, Indian medical service consumers have become more conscious towards their healthcare upkeep.

Indian healthcare sector is much diversified and is full of opportunities in every segment which includes providers, payers and medical technology. With the increase in the competition, businesses are looking to explore for the latest dynamics and trends which will have positive impact on their business.

India's competitive advantage also lies in the increased success rate of Indian companies in getting Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) approvals. India also offers vast opportunities in R&D as well as medical tourism. To sum up, there are vast opportunities for investment in healthcare infrastructure in both urban and rural India.

Exchange Rate Used: INR 1 = US$ 0.015 as on January 4, 2018

References: Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), RNCOS Reports, Media Reports, Press Information Bureau (PIB), Union Budget 2017-18

Note: # - as per National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), ^ - According to Mr J P Nadda, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, * - According to a report by India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra), ** - According to Crisil Ratings, ## - as per Assocham and RNCOS report

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same