India's Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss has said the country's healthcare sector would grow faster than what has been the case so far.
New avenues of opportunity within healthcare itself could open up as the sector emerges as a significant growth driver, the minister said while addressing medical and public health students and researchers at the Boston University in the US.
During 2002, India's health care industry contributed 5 per cent of the GDP. By 2012 the share would go up to 8.5 per cent. Health care spending in the country will also double over the next 10 years, he said.
In the last five years, the number of patients visiting India for medical treatment rose from 10,000 to about 120,000, he noted.
With an annual growth rate of 30 per cent, India is already inching closer to Singapore, an established medical-care hub that attracts 150,000 medical tourists a year, an official release quoted him as saying.
Telemedicine is one sector that is expected to experience a boom in the near future, Indian government officials say. With a rural population nearing 700 million, the country will benefit enormously from digital data transmission related to healthcare.
Both public and private entities are aggressively pursuing the use of telemedicine to hasten diagnostics and treatment of a variety of diseases.
The Indian government has already slashed the import tariffs on infrastructure equipment needed for telemedicine.
At the 14th summit of the heads of the nations of the South Asian Association for Regional Corporation, slated to commence at New Delhi, the Indian capital on April 3, the member countries would commit themselves to a tele-medicine project.
Under the proposal, two hospitals in each of the eight member countries will be linked with two super speciality hospitals of India via satellite, it has been stated.