Even as the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) has evoked mixed response from people from all walks of life, the newly implemented tax system amidst a lot of criticism has badly delayed the procurement of multi-crore Linear Accelerator and Catheterization Lab for the Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital that palliates the pain of a few thousand poor patients every day with its modern facilities.As lifestyle modifications and fast food habits have collectively jacked up the influx of cancer patients into the TVMCH, having 100-beded oncology ward, beyond 200 a day, it was decided in 2015 to establish the Regional Cancer Centre on its premises. As of now, the RCC at Thiruvananthapuram is the only solace for those battling with cancer.
Similarly, the rise in the number of patients coming to TVMCH with heart ailments also has risen phenomenally in the recent past forced the administration to think of creating catheterization lab for the benefit of poor patients from the southern districts.Though work on establishing RCC on an outlay of ₹ 20 crore commenced last year, the TVMCH administration is not in a position to complete it as the cost of ₹ 5 crore-worth linear accelerator, a high-end modern equipment playing pivotal role in treating cancer patients, has gone beyond ₹ 6 crore, owing to the GST.
“The 11.30% tax slapped on the linear accelerator suddenly gone up to 28% now. The Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation, which had placed the order for this equipment several months ago, is unable to buy it owing to the phenomenal increase of the equipment cost after GST came to effect. The 150% increase in tax slapped on the life-saving equipment has delayed the procurement and subsequent its installation at our RCC under construction. Hence, the inauguration of the RCC at TVMCH is getting delayed,” said K. Sithya Athiya Munavarah, Dean, TVMCH.If the Linear Accelerator, now costing more than ₹ 6 crore thanks to the GST, had been installed as planned, it would be benefitting at least 10 patients a day.
“Though the TVMCH is in need of two Cath labs, efforts were on to procure a moderately priced lab (costing about ₹ 3.50 crore) while some of the leading multispecialty hospitals have ₹ 6 crore-worth Cath Lab. The GST has delayed this process too. The early installation of facility will benefit at least 12 patients a day,” said a doctor attached to the Department of Cardiology.The doctors here want the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to exempt the life-saving modern equipment from the GST.