The availability of funds as a result of recent Reserve Bank of India (RBI) initiatives could result in increased capacities and improved healthcare infrastructure in the long run, according to investment information agency ICRA.
On May 5, the RBI announced a Rs 50,000 crore on-tap liquidity window with a tenor of up to three years that banks will use to lend to entities such as hospitals, diagnostics, pharmacies, pharmaceutical firms or importers, medical oxygen producers and suppliers, and other players in the vital healthcare supply chain.
While the steps are intended to relieve the healthcare system’s liquidity burden, the rate at which funds are deployed to improve capacity to handle large numbers of infections will be a crucial metric to watch in the future, according to ICRA.
However, since banks are being rewarded for swift credit distribution under the scheme by extending priority sector classification to such lending until March 31 next year, the rate of disbursement of these loans could be faster than average, according to the study.
The RBI’s decision to boost liquidity, according to Mythri Macherla, Assistant Vice President and Sector Head at ICRA, is expected to provide immediate liquidity support to organizations such as vaccine and oxygen producers, as well as small-medium scale pharmaceutical firms seeking to expand their capacities.
“However, considering the tenor limit of three years as a standard payback period of five years or more,” she added, “any market players do not prefer to avail of a loan under this arrangement.”
Because of the lockdowns and fears of pathogens, market participants saw lower occupancies in Q1 FY2021, but this changed sequentially in Q2 and Q3.
This was aided by a steady increase in domestic patient traffic, as well as an increase in elective surgery and medical tourism numbers.
Since the revival in pathogens, most hospitals have seen an increase in Covid-19 patient numbers, which would help these businesses generate sales in Q1 FY2022.
However, price limits on Covid-19 care in some states could hurt the industry’s margins, according to ICRA. Furthermore, apprehension of the third wave of illness, postponement of elective procedures, and delayed diagnosis may all have an effect on margins in FY2022.