Ayurveda is not merely a system of medicine, but a way of life. Widely practiced and utilized by Indians since centuries (texts traced to the Indus Valley Civilization), it is going global by virtue of its unique blend of science and philosophy that balances the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual components essential for one’s holistic wellbeing. Through its 5000 years of existence, Ayurveda has witnessed many waves of evolution. One such wave is currently unfolding with Ayurveda expanding from simply being an alternative form of medicine to providing solutions for lifestyle and wellness related issues while gaining merit in the medicinal space through research. There has been a paradigm shift in core Ayurvedic industries, including Ayurvedic hospitals, clinics, products, manufacturers and practitioners, which adopt modern technologies and have made inroads into retail, wellness and therapeutic markets.
In today’s modern world rise in consciousness of youth drive the growth of the Ayurveda Sector. Though small, it is a rapidly growing industry in the Indian wellness industry. The year 2018 gave the Ayurveda sector in India a landmark achievement of USD 4.4 billion. India is the fore-runner in the Ayurveda industry on the global front and is poised to record a CAGR of 16% by 2025.
According to a survey conducted by the CII, as much as 75% of the USD 4 billion Ayurveda market is accounted for by Ayurveda products, and only a quarter of the market size is contributed by services in this sector. The majority 75% of the market is with the private sector and engulfs ethical personal care and beauty products. This also includes medical and wellbeing services or medical tourism services.
The global market for Ayurveda is also growing at a rapid pace. In the year 2017-18, India’s total exports in Ayurveda products amounted to USD140.72 million while its imports were around USD10.24 million. It is expected to grow threefold from USD 3.4 billion in 2015 to USD 9.7 billion in 2022.
The Ayurveda manufacturing sector contributes significantly to employment. Though there is no concrete data, a survey conducted by the CII showed that a company with a revenue of INR 2000 crores in 2017-18 employed roughly around 3000 people, and a smaller company with a revenue of INR 100 crores, employed around 500 people.
Ayurveda has also significantly contributed to the tourism sector in India. Patients from various countries are becoming medical tourists to India for alternative treatments, like Ayurveda, yoga etc. According to the CII medical tourism in India was worth USD 4 billion in 2017.
The main issue here is that estimating the size of this sector, its contribution to the GDP, employment and its socio-impact becomes difficult since there are gaps in the data. There is no official source on data pertaining to the Ayurveda manufacturing sector, private hospitals, wellness centres, spas, or even the employment generated. In addition, there is no data on the availability of raw materials and their requirement, nor on the number of consumers of Ayurveda.
Further issues involve shortage of manpower, quality raw materials, variations in quality standards of manufacturing units and services, and policies across the states. Most Ayurveda products are not patented as Ayurveda is treated as a traditional knowledge, which makes it difficult to have propriety rights on the drugs, limiting the funding for R&D in this area.
The Way Forward
The continued support of the government has contributed to the spike in the growth rate of this industry. It is essential to promote the “Brand Ayurveda” in domestic and global markets. Along with the ministry of AYUSH, partnerships with industry associations such as the CII and research organizations assist in collection of data on the sector. The industry is being encouraged to invest in R&D through liberal tax incentives or soft loans. There should be a uniform policy across states. Policies like Ayushman Bharat Yojana or National Health Protection Scheme has recognized Ayurveda to be covered by insurance. Various measures are being taken to address shortages of raw materials. A survey conducted by the CII showed that the government can register raw material vendors, provide information on production of raw materials by states, provide access to wasteland for cultivation of medicinal plants etc.
Industry along with the ministry has identified skill gaps and has been providing training in that sector. To encourage entrepreneurship in this sector, CII has decided to provide a strong impetus to entrepreneurship on the Ayurveda sector to enhance the fortunes of the INR 2,500 crore Ayurveda medicinal and therapeutic industry through a contest titled Ayurstart 2018.
In the past decade, Ayurveda has seen a resurgence in its adoption. Evidently Ayurveda has immense potential to unleash its power as a reliable natural care-oriented global medical authority.