NHRC nudges govt on proposed tax on healthcare

New Delhi: Against the backdrop of a budget proposal to introduce a five per cent service tax on healthcare, the NHRC on Thursday hoped that the government will not go ahead with any such move that will affect medical services to the common man.

The National Human Rights Commission is of the view that any tax which adversely affects the human rights of the poor and the needy may not be imposed, it said.

"It has come to the notice of the Commission through media reports that the government of India proposes to introduce a five per cent service tax on healthcare services thereby bringing the diagnostic services and hospitals having 25 beds or more with centralised air conditioner system in the tax net," the rights body said in a statement.

It is also reported that the excise duty on the medicines is proposed to be increased from four to five per cent which may make the medicines costlier hurting the common man, the NHRC said.

In addition to this, for the first time, the traditional medicines are also proposed to be brought within the ambit of excise duty, it said.

There are also media reports quoting a recent WHO study that millions of people plunge into poverty every year due to illness and catastrophic medical bills, it said.

"In this backdrop, the National Human Rights Commission hopes that the government may not go ahead with any such proposals which shall affect the healthcare to the common man. The Commission is of the view that any tax, adversely affecting the human rights of the poor and the needy may not be imposed," the statement said.