Union Ayush Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has said there is huge potential and scope for young entrepreneurs to launch start-ups in various domains of the Ayush sector and they must leverage the opportunities arising in the sector.

Sonowal was speaking after inaugurating the National Arogya Fair organised as part of the fifth edition of the five-day Global Ayurveda Festival (GAF 2023).

The biennial event, the largest ever Ayurveda conclave, is organised by the Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Ayush, Govt. of Kerala and various Ayurveda associations. The central theme of the event is “Emerging Challenges in Healthcare & A Resurgent Ayurveda.

“Young entrepreneurs can launch start-ups in areas of novel drug manufacturing, development of Ayush instrument, diagnostic and tools. On World Ayurveda Day, the government launched Ayush Start-up Challenge for our young and dynamic brains in this direction,” the Minister said.

Sonowal said the government is also focusing on promoting investments in Ayush sector and it has inked MoUs with many countries for cooperation in traditional medicine.

New visa category

Referring to the Prime Minister’s announcement of introducing Ayush visa, he said the government has formally introduced Ayush visa as a new visa category to foreigners, and Ayush hospitals in the country should register themselves to get the benefit of the new visa provision to attract foreign patients.

Noting that GAF 2023 is a beacon for the burgeoning Ayurveda across the globe, the Ayush Minister said this year the 8th World Ayurveda Day, which had the theme ‘Ayurveda for One Health,’ was celebrated in more than 105 countries and over 16 crore people registered their support to Ayurveda on Ayurveda Day website.

He said the Ayush Ministry is actively promoting cultivation and rearing of medicinal plants with the cooperation of Ministry of Environment and Forest, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

Great potential

There is great potential of export of value-added medicinal plants and Ayurveda has enormous triumph in treating various diseases where western medicines have limited success, he added.

In his keynote address, Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs, V Muraleedharan, who is also Chairman of GAF 2023, said Ayush exports from India have increased from $1.09 billion (₹9,000 crore) in 2014 to $1.54 billion (₹13,000 crore) in 2020 and it shows the strength of Ayurveda and reaffirms the global interest in this form of medicine given the rising prevalence of non-communicable and lifestyle diseases worldwide.

Considering both demand and recognition for Ayurveda and Indian traditional products, there is a huge market to capture and generate revenue, he pointed out.