The Indian wellness industry has been witnessing a growth of 12 percent per annum and is predicted to grow rapidly in the upcoming years as the Government’s focus on the fitness and health industry has increased recently. The Central Government has been stupendously embracing a holistic approach towards meeting several health challenges and thus emphasizing more on the alternative medicine theories. The Ministry of AYUSH under the Government including Yoga, Unani, Ayurveda, Siddha, and Homeopathy is built to promote Indian traditional healing and wellness procedures that were mostly followed during the Vedic age. One of the finest techniques for wellness, The Panchakarma of Ayurveda has now become the world’s best theory in providing benefits to the preventive healthcare measures and curing chronic disorders.
The Ministry of AYUSH has the objective to upgrade educational standards of the Indian medicinal systems and Homoeopathy colleges along with strengthening the medicinal research institutes and facilitating the time-bound research programs. It also has the aim to develop schemes to promote, cultivate, regenerate medicinal plants, and evolve pharmacopeia standards of the Indian medicines and homeopathy drugs. This has been one of the significant factors for India today to stand as the second-largest exporter of Ayurvedic and herbal products across the world.
Wellness programs and its significance
Promoting wellness in this time is surely an essential task to bring awareness, efficiency and productivity across the country since Covid-19 has showed us the crisis happened with our physical and mental being during the pandemic. Healthy diet, yoga, basic hygiene, and preventive healthcare are essential to stay fit and battle with any kind of diseases. Yoga and Ayurvedic treatments are certainly powerful in mitigating stress and keeping the body and mind aligned from the virus that is making the world fall sick. A holistic wellbeing is significantly necessary to increase the immune system and battle with different health issues. The Government is also set to develop models in which entrepreneurs can choose conventional businesses and grab opportunities offering wellness to Indian citizens as well as citizens from the foreign land.
Challenges to overcome
The Indian wellness industry also has met with several challenges to be addressed. One of those is inadequate infrastructure and a lack of acute shortage of skilled human resources. Also, the estimated cost for the wellness sector in India stands infraction when compared to the world which is around $4.2 trillion. However, it is predicted that by 2030, India has to increase about 2.07 million doctors to the existing count as it is necessary to treat the increasing population. The Government is thus targeting to increase the spending from 1.3 percent to 3 percent of its GDP in 2022. Again, the Government has to increase its funding for the healthcare sector by 20 to 25 percent during the next five years if it wants to achieve sustainable development goals.
To mention here, the government has made remarkable changes during the last few years by revamping the wellness sector by transforming the existing 1.5 lakh sub-health and primary health care centers across India with comprehensive primary health care and a holistic model for wellness. A budget of about Rs. 3,400 crores have also been kept for the next five years for Ayush Wellness Centers under the National Ayush Mission.
Another important aspect is the lack of knowledge about ayurveda in India. Yoga and Ayurvedic courses should be given a strong recognition in the education domain making the generation next aware how it is an integral part of keeping healthy and fit. Introduction and regular practice of Yoga in schools and colleges would enhance the value of taking self-care as well as in promoting the wellness activities around our day-to-day lives.
Additional Initiatives by the Government of India
PM Narendra Modi has taken a big movement by promoting Global AYUSH Investment and Innovation Summit. This move will give a boost to Ayurveda industry for making its global footprints. In 2014, where the AYUSH sector was less than $3 billion, today it has increased to more than $18 billion. Ministry of AYUSH actively fueling startup culture in the field of Traditional Medicines, Ayurvedic products etc. Also, India will soon introduce the AYUSH mark to recognise traditional medicine products which will give the authenticity to quality AYUSH products of the country.
ASSOCHAM has been putting continuous a lot of effort into supporting the Government with several health and wellness initiatives. Several other initiatives are implemented of which in January 2020, IIT Delhi and the All-India Institute of Ayurveda together have signed an MoU for studying the therapeutic benefits of herbal formulations and wellness. About seven collaborations are focusing on different Ayurvedic formulations and practices planned for the next two years. These include examining the effects of six Ayurveda juices on gastrointestinal secretions, developing herbal formulations for reducing harmful effects of reusing cooking oil, developing a biodegradable herbal wound dressing, studying the effects of ‘Brahmari Pranayama’ on the nervous system, examining the impact of ashes on proteins implicated in neurodegenerative diseases, developing a fumigation device for healing wounds, checking through a device if ayurvedic drugs help in early detection of cancer and offer responses to these drugs in treating breast cancer.
However, India should focus on building more awareness of mental as well as physical health and wellness in collaboration with the Ministry of AYUSH. It should also focus more on start-up India to boost the sector during the next few years.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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