Realising the growth potential of India’s traditional medical science, AYUSH Ministry is taking adequate steps for the promotion of the same.
In an exclusive conversation with Wellness India, Shripad Yasso Naik, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of AYUSH, dwells light on the ministry’s agenda to promote traditional medicines in India.
How is the ministry planning to promote entrepreneurship in Indian wellness industry?
To boost entrepreneurship in the country, we need to promote the Indian system of medicines. Moreover, the industry has huge growth potential. Ayurvedic medicines have no side effects. In fact, traditional medicines available in India are cheaper than allopathic medicines.
Additionally, if people have the knowledge of ayurvedic medicines, they can plant them at their home gardens. It is a 5,000-year-old system of producing medicines. Actually, India did not get the opportunity to promote and reach out to foreign markets to promote its traditional medicines. There is a need to boost this system at large now.It is vital for ayurvedic medicine entrepreneurs to patent their innovations. It will be of great help.
What are the challenges for promoting traditional medicines in India?
Today, Ayurvedic medicines are supplied as a food supplement in the potential market. We are not able to promote it as medicines. We have to change the mindset of people and make them understand the benefits of such medicines. Moreover, if we are able to patent at least few traditional medicines, this will create great demand for India’s innovations and will boost entrepreneurship in the country and generate employment as well.
There should be infrastructural growth at par with the allopathic medicine industry. There are no ayurvedic hospitals, so we need to create those. We will start from the state to each and every primary location to promote ayurvedic medicines. We need to focus on promoting AYUSH altogether and work diligently to offer something to the world. In fact, we can also earn potential foreign exchange through it.
What are the latest initiatives taken by the ministry?
Currently, we are drafting new schemes to boost the growth of the sector. We will soon constitute a task force and plan the road map. The task force will have experts from the fields of yoga, ayurveda and homeopathy including others. They will undertake consultations and design the road map. Task force experts will decide on how much money and infrastructure will be required and how we can increase the reach of ayurvedic medicines to the overseas markets.
How is the ministry working on increasing awareness about ayurvedic medication in India?
There is a need for raising awareness of Ayurvedic medicines. We need to train people so that they can understand the benefits of traditional medicines. There should be one centre at the village level to train people on ayurvedic medicines. Moreover, to make people aware of ayurvedic medicines, we are conducting AYUSH Expos at state and national levels. We are organising it in states like Bangalore, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradeshand Orissa.
Is the ministry seeking funds from the Finance Ministry?
In the last budget, we were allocated around Rs 500-crore fund. We have requested the Finance Ministry to provide more than Rs 3,000 crore in the upcoming budget. With this fund, we are planning to build the infrastructure and set up hospitals in different states.
Are you planning to expand Ayurveda clusters in India?
Definitely, we will adopt the cluster approach to produce ayurvedic medicines. Today, Kerala is the hub for ayurvedic medications. It is one of the biggest clusters in India. Following this, clusters are also there in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. We will expand elsewhere as well. We are also focusing in the northeastern states of India. In northeast, we find certain herbs, which are useful for ayurvedic treatment.