A recent report from property consultancies Knight Frank and Berkadia has highlighted a significant shortfall in healthcare infrastructure in India. The report reveals that India is currently facing a shortage of 2 billion square feet of healthcare facilities to adequately serve its population of 1.42 billion people.

The existing ratio of hospital beds to the population stands at 1.3 beds per 1000 people, far below the recommended ratio of 3 beds per 1000 people. This indicates a pressing need for an additional 2.4 million hospital beds in the country. Currently, the healthcare sector occupies approximately 1.5 billion square feet of space, with the majority of the healthcare facilities falling under the hospital segment.

Of the estimated 70,000 healthcare facilities in India, a staggering 80% belong to the hospital sector, with a significant 63% of these hospitals being privately owned. This dominance of the private sector underscores the challenges faced by public healthcare in India.

The report also highlights significant investment opportunities in the medical infrastructure sector in India, valued at $32 billion, according to government estimates. As of November 20, 2023, according to Projects Today there were 2,481 healthcare projects, including high-end hospitals, with a total investment commitment of Rs 2,51,819 crore in various stages of execution. Notably, the government sector accounted for a substantial 79.2% share of the total planned investment, while the private sector’s share remained relatively low.

In 2022, the Indian healthcare market was estimated to be worth $372 billion, growing at an annual average rate of 18%. However, the government’s budgetary allocation for healthcare in FY2023 stood at just 2.1% of the gross domestic product, falling short of the National Healthcare Policy’s target of 2.5% of GDP.

Looking ahead, the report anticipates significant developments in tertiary care facilities in tier II and III cities. However, the real transformative impact is expected to come from improving primary healthcare access in smaller towns and rural areas, addressing a critical need in India’s healthcare landscape.

Several factors are driving the demand for healthcare services in India, including medical tourism, an aging population, and an increase in lifestyle-related diseases. Rising per capita incomes, growing health awareness, and greater penetration of health insurance are additional factors supporting the sector’s growth.

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