New Delhi: Indian medical device industry needs to watch their back. Atmanirbhar slogan of PM Modi’s government may be mere cant. COVID time Make in India enthusiasm among domestic makers seems ill founded. China may be a persona non grata after border feuds, it is invading country’s medical territory with impunity. 75 % rise in Chinese medical device imports shocks makers back home.
A dyed in wool champion of ‘Make in India’ and a cheerleader of PM Modi government’s steps to facilitate this in medical device sector, Rajiv Nath, forum coordinator of Association of Indian Manufacturers of Medical Device (AiMeD) wakes to the harsh reality with dismay. In a message to Medicare News, Rajiv Nath says, ‘ While onset of Covid was a silver lining for bringing focus on medical Devices industry for healthcare security of nation as international supply chains initially got disrupted, the government needed to continue to protect investments and great interest shown in this field rather than mixed signals by reducing duty of covid critical devices to zero temporarily that subsequently lead to huge influx of Import’s especially from China from May 2020.
Mr Nath further adds, ‘We are not against imports but if imports come in that harm the domestic industry, then corrective polices to keep investors motivated and incentivised especially for Covid critical products are required by inclusion in PLI scheme, tariff protection and legitimate non-tariff measures. The huge 75% increased influx of imports from China even after having a stated public procurement order that is supposedly in favour of domestic manufacturers should be of concern to policy makers seeking to make India Atmanirbhar “
The recent data regarding imports of medical device has shown that India seems to be more ChinaNirbhar than Atmanirbhar. It is starkly clear that AiMeD proposes but China disposes. In fact, China is ferociously upping its swamping efforts and upending Atmanirbhar dreams. China which was earlier in the third spot, has become the largest exporter of medical device to India, overtaking US and Germany during 2020-21. Mostly the increase is in imports of oximeter, diagnostic instruments, digital thermometer and chemical reagents. On the other hand, overall increase in medtech imports from all other nations is just 7 percent. In fact, private sector procurement in India does not promote Make in India. China is its favourite supplier. Indian government needs to make patriotic appeal to its private sector to shun China as much as possible in the imports of medical device to change the depressive trend.