Making ‘sick’ trip pleasant


The growing popularity of medical tourism is working in favour of India which is among the most-favoured medical tourism destinations today. To encash this opportunity, Anurav Rane founded PlanMyMedicalTrip (PMMT).  Pune-based company provides an end-to-end solutions for those who seek affordable medical services, right from diagnostics to procedures and other related travel requirements. Rane, founder and CEO, discusses the company’s plans with Pankaj Joshi.

Your company specially promotes India and Turkey as medical tourism destinations. Why so?

When we started the business India had a clear cost advantage which sustains even today. In most procedures the service level is also comparable. Turkey, we have found out, is the preferred alternative in case of certain categories like cancer treatment or liposuction. Technology and the infrastructure investment there is of a high standard, where India does lag a bit. In cost terms, Turkey is 10-15 per cent more than India. Dubai is also another treatment option for the same reasons, however , 80 per cent of our business comes from India.

What is the current size of medical tourism in India? How do you see the sector growing over the next 3-4 years?

The medical tourism market today stands at USD 5.5 billion and is expected to reach USD 8 billion by 2020. We could broadly categorise it into transplant (20 per cent), orthopaedic surgery (25 per cent), IVF (15 per cent), cosmetic surgery (20 per cent) and miscellaneous categories. The miscellaneous categories include Ayurveda, eye treatment and dental surgery among others.

PMMT aims to establish tie-ups with all hospitals across India along with making inroads into other potential medical tourism destinations such as Brazil, Thailand, Egypt, Germany and Dubai. Its target is to capture 15 per cent of the market by 2020. PMMT has a physical presence in 18 nations. It also wishes to facilitate patients’ stay in exotic destinations to aid their recovery process and take the sting away from long treatments. We aim to concentrate on East Africa, Middle-East, and neighbouring nations like Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. We plan to target the NRI communities in the UK and the USA.

What is a normal mode of revenue generation and what is typical cycle time of each transaction?

We get referral charges from the hospitals. The typical cycle time is four months. Our offices in the 18 countries are also aided by catalysts in certain markets, who are basically linked to the healthcare industry, and they help generate inquiries. We are also active on social media in different forms.

What is the size of monthly applications and the conversion rate?

We get around 150 inquires a month, and convert 60 per cent. The main causes of non-conversion are firstly age-related travel restrictions, then procedures which in themselves are time-consuming and lastly, issues related to donors in transplant cases. Also, sometimes we facilitate a second opinion online for which the patient pays a nominal charge and then, on that basis, gets

the treatment done locally. So while the case gets handled and the purpose is hopefully served, for PMMT it becomes a closed enquiry.

What would be the differentiators for PMMT?

We have registered more than 4,000 doctors across the globe having high-quality standard to cater medical tourist. We totally harness the convenience of the online medium, including online consultations directly with doctors. We have taken proactive steps in areas like cancer, where our experience is that many cases in India take wrong treatment, but by getting on-board consultants from the USA who map out the treatment which is carried out here.

We as a marketplace aim to give medical treatment to foreigners in India at affordable prices without compromising on quality. These patients are treated at partner hospitals or a specific one if the request comes from a customer. While PMMT gets its fee from the hospital, the patient gets the treatment at a reduced cost. Foreigners who are not insured or those who reside in countries with inadequate medical infrastructure can travel to India and apart from helping them with travel and selecting their doctors/hospitals, we also provide free consultation to all, along with other services such as medical visa, translators, forex, accommodation, etc. We are basically the ‘Zomato’ for doctors and  the ‘Make My Trip’ for patients combined into one. Our sister concern, a travel outfit which is 17 years old company, provides the additional support skills to make this synergy possible.

What is the current set up and aggregate number of cases handled so far?

The platform has successfully treated roughly 4,000 patients since it launched in 2007 under the brand name ‘Best Medical Centres’.  Our team has competencies in the fields of travel, medicine and technology.




Oxigen ups its game in wallet space


With convenience factor on the side of digital payments, high growth can be expected in this segment. Differentiation would be a key for the digital players as it would enable them to touch maximum areas of the customer’s routine spend and convert that into a pleasant online experience. Oxigen Services, a payment solutions company active since 2004, has a footprint which makes for strong growth possibilities. Founder and CMD of Oxigen Services, Pramod Saxena outlines the business, company’s strengths and plans in a chat with Pankaj Joshi.

Can you quantify your ground presence?

Oxigen today has a reach of 1.30 lakh touchpoints at retailer outlets and another 0.70 lakh touchpoints through other channels, giving it an aggregate of 2 lakh touchpoints where walk-in transactions can be done. Our database comprises of 150 million unique customers whose monthly transactions stand around 50-60 million. Within this, 50 million are customers in the online/wallet category. The value of the monthly transactions is in the range of Rs 1,500 – 1,800 crore, inclusive of the other sources like trade channels or bank enablers.

How does Oxigen aim to harness the concept of mobile wallets?

We believe the concept of wallet is going to be a matter of habit sooner rather than later. The mental hurdle of transfer of money between wallet and bank account, has been overcome. We aim at conversion of store (touchpoint) clients to wallet clients. We have 30 million wallet installations, of which 25 per cent transact regularly. A very significant percentage of transactions is money transfer, which again reinforces the idea of acceptability.

Our approach is not discount-driven at all. We have got wallet installations not on the basis of discounts or freebies, but through satisfying the regular needs – remittances, cyclical payments for essential services and others. The wallet is there to address basic needs. Today, you are aware that 95 per cent of merchants in the country use cash. Our target is to create a footprint wherein we access 70 per cent of these in the next 2-3 years. The merchant goes from offline to online to the wallet. The customer gets his convenience and the government is happy because the proportion of digital transactions is going up. In the overall population of wallets, we lag slightly but our combined approach and our control on costs is what drives our numbers. We have reached an annual transaction level of USD 2 billion based on the customer putting his money into the system, without us providing freebies.

What are the emerging customer convenience requirements?

Today the customer needs options in payment modes. Post demonetisation, Aadhaar has become a central mode. Our installation at our retailer touchpoints is not just a POS machine but a mini ATM. This machine operates on mini GPS, has a biometric scanner, is connected to NPCI and Aadhaar enabled, which means the customer can use the Aadhaar scanner and then debit or credit the bank account of any bank. There is actual deposit and withdrawal possible in physical cash at each machine, with a printer providing receipts. Any customer can debit the bank account and credit utility payments in one go and get instant confirmation from the bank.

Regarding the different modes, the Government is promoting Aadhaar-based transactions which have the lowest cost. In the case of QR code access, we do not have a proprietary code, we follow the Bharat QR code protocol, which again gives the customer better options rather than others players like Paytm or Mobiqwik where there may be inter-operability issues. Our solution is a combination of micro ATM, the Bharat QR code and the UPI (which is being preferred by banks). Even non-smartphone users can transact through the USSB channel which is another low-cost option provided by telecom operators. So while mobile wallets are going to be popular, the fact is that there are 5-6 options beyond the wallet and you must be able to provide the customer with all those.

How big will digital payments become in the Indian context?

India is a big and complex market where options are needed. Certainly, there is no country in the world that provides so many options. We have made a giant leap in promoting digital payments at a national level. Six months ago, India had 1.3 million POS and today there are around 2 million, which is a rise of 50 per cent in six months. The target is 3 million in this year, and in terms of micro ATMs we estimate that in five years there will be 3 million micro ATMs on the ground in India.

How do you target your potential customers?

Primarily, we must aim for low-hanging fruit. Oil companies have been told to digitise transactions at their 60,000 retail fuel outlets. These are great locations for micro ATMs. The same goes for fertilizer industry, where the distribution channel has around 1 lakh centres. Micro finance companies are another easy target for Aadhaar-based collection and disbursement through micro ATMs at their estimated 2 lakh outlets in the country. Co-operatives (milk and other industries) have an aggregate estimate of 23 lakh outlets where they can substitute cash with digitised transactions. Then there are the large agricultural trade markets or mandis. This three-million target is definitely possible, it is all about execution. Also when you position micro ATMs vis-à-vis banks for the purpose of deposit and withdrawal of cash, it is a very convenient option. That too increases the deployment scope in a large way.

Here it is important to note that the proposed KYC norms for wallets will become a challenge for retention and growth, especially for players who have indicated a multi-million user base and now this base has to be verified.

What kind of growth can be expected in the future?

One big spin value proposition for the customer will be loyalty because the normal spend aggregation into the wallet will happen at massive levels. The opportunity is huge. As per Credit Suisse, the current size is USD 85 billion and it would be 10 times (USD 850 billion) by 2020. Today, transactions are 5 per cent in digital and 95 per cent in cash. In ten years’ time, we estimate that 50 per cent of transactions would be digital. Of the digital, 50 per cent would be through wallets and the remainder through cards, UPI, Aadhaar and so on. This is exactly the blueprint on which Oxigen is laying out its forward plans. Our current investment in infrastructure is Rs 500 crore, and we foresee a further investment of Rs 1,200 crore in the next 3-4 years.




India GDP to grow 7.4% in FY 18, GST bankruptcy law big positives: ADB 


According to out data analysis so far, this possible negative impact of demonetisation was only short-lived and we still see a medium-term growth acceleration of the Indian economy,” the ADB economist says

Yokohama (Japan) : The Indian economy will grow 7.4 per cent this fiscal and 7.6 per cent in the next as the bankruptcy and GST laws will help create a better business-friendly environment, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Wednesday

Ahead of its 50th annual meeting to be attended by finance minister and central bank governors of member nations, the multilateral agency’s Chief Economist Yasuyuki Sawada said the reforms like the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the new bankruptcy law will make it easier to do business in India.

“India’s growth rate is picking up, 7.4 per cent this year and next year 7.6 per cent,” he told a media briefing. The growth rate compares to 7.1 per cent of the previous fiscal. “Over 7 per cent growth rate is high if we compare it to other emerging market economies and also China. Behind this is cyclical factor, improved terms of trade. The Indian government adopted new bankruptcy law that improved the business enabling environment. That is a short-term and medium-term factor behind the gross acceleration in India,” Sawada said.

On the impact of demonetisation of old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes that took out 86 per cent of the currency in circulation, he said the move obviously generated short-term decline in cash-based transactions and consumer sentiment. “But according to out data analysis so far, this possible negative impact of demonetisation was only short-lived and we still see a medium-term growth acceleration of the Indian economy,” the ADB chief economist said. ADB, he said, had not studied if the demonetisation had any consequences on black money. “But overall, as far as we monitored growth rate trend and macro-economic indicator, the demonetisation seems to have generated only a short-lived impact,” Sawada said.

The GST, the biggest indirect tax reform since independence, together with the new bankruptcy law are big positives for India, he said. The bankruptcy law and the GST will help in creating a better business enabling environment, which seems to be a factor behind this gross acceleration of India, he added.




Kuala Lumpur: Foreign ministers from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation will meet to discuss the Rohingya 1


Kuala Lumpur: Foreign ministers from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation will meet to discuss the Rohingya Muslim crisis next week in Kuala Lumpur, a Malaysian official told AFP Wednesday, as thousands continue to flee Myanmar.

Fifty-six OIC representatives are expected to attend the January 19 meeting which will be led by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who recently called on Myanmar to stop the “genocide” of Rohingya Muslims.

Buddhist-majority Myanmar refuses to recognise the Rohingya as one of the country’s ethnic minorities, instead describing them as Bengalis — or illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh — even though many have lived in Myanmar for generations.

There has been a large exodus of Rohingya from northern Myanmar’s Rakhine state after the army launched clearance operations while searching for insurgents behind deadly raids on police border posts three months ago.

Escapees from the persecuted Muslim minority in Bangladesh have given harrowing accounts of security forces committing mass rape, murder and arson.




Kuala Lumpur: Foreign ministers from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation will meet to discuss the Rohingya 2


Kuala Lumpur: Foreign ministers from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation will meet to discuss the Rohingya Muslim crisis next week in Kuala Lumpur, a Malaysian official told AFP Wednesday, as thousands continue to flee Myanmar.

Fifty-six OIC representatives are expected to attend the January 19 meeting which will be led by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who recently called on Myanmar to stop the “genocide” of Rohingya Muslims.

Buddhist-majority Myanmar refuses to recognise the Rohingya as one of the country’s ethnic minorities, instead describing them as Bengalis — or illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh — even though many have lived in Myanmar for generations.

There has been a large exodus of Rohingya from northern Myanmar’s Rakhine state after the army launched clearance operations while searching for insurgents behind deadly raids on police border posts three months ago.

Escapees from the persecuted Muslim minority in Bangladesh have given harrowing accounts of security forces committing mass rape, murder and arson.




Kuala Lumpur: Foreign ministers from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation will meet to discuss the Rohingya 3


Kuala Lumpur: Foreign ministers from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation will meet to discuss the Rohingya Muslim crisis next week in Kuala Lumpur, a Malaysian official told AFP Wednesday, as thousands continue to flee Myanmar.

Fifty-six OIC representatives are expected to attend the January 19 meeting which will be led by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who recently called on Myanmar to stop the “genocide” of Rohingya Muslims.

Buddhist-majority Myanmar refuses to recognise the Rohingya as one of the country’s ethnic minorities, instead describing them as Bengalis — or illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh — even though many have lived in Myanmar for generations.

There has been a large exodus of Rohingya from northern Myanmar’s Rakhine state after the army launched clearance operations while searching for insurgents behind deadly raids on police border posts three months ago.

Escapees from the persecuted Muslim minority in Bangladesh have given harrowing accounts of security forces committing mass rape, murder and arson.




Kuala Lumpur: Foreign ministers from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation will meet to discuss the Rohingya 4


Kuala Lumpur: Foreign ministers from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation will meet to discuss the Rohingya Muslim crisis next week in Kuala Lumpur, a Malaysian official told AFP Wednesday, as thousands continue to flee Myanmar.

Fifty-six OIC representatives are expected to attend the January 19 meeting which will be led by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who recently called on Myanmar to stop the “genocide” of Rohingya Muslims.

Buddhist-majority Myanmar refuses to recognise the Rohingya as one of the country’s ethnic minorities, instead describing them as Bengalis — or illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh — even though many have lived in Myanmar for generations.

There has been a large exodus of Rohingya from northern Myanmar’s Rakhine state after the army launched clearance operations while searching for insurgents behind deadly raids on police border posts three months ago.

Escapees from the persecuted Muslim minority in Bangladesh have given harrowing accounts of security forces committing mass rape, murder and arson.




Kuala Lumpur: Foreign ministers from the y launched clearance operations while 5


Kuala Lumpur: Foreign ministers from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation will meet to discuss the Rohingya Muslim crisis next week in Kuala Lumpur, a Malaysian official told AFP Wednesday, as thousands continue to flee Myanmar.

Fifty-six OIC representatives are expected to attend the January 19 meeting which will be led by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who recently called on Myanmar to stop the “genocide” of Rohingya Muslims.

Buddhist-majority Myanmar refuses to recognise the Rohingya as one of the country’s ethnic minorities, instead describing them as Bengalis — or illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh — even though many have lived in Myanmar for generations.

There has been a large exodus of Rohingya from northern Myanmar’s Rakhine state after the army launched clearance operations while searching for insurgents behind deadly raids on police border posts three months ago.

Escapees from the persecuted Muslim minority in Bangladesh have given harrowing accounts of security forces committing mass rape, murder and arson.




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