Startups must explore potentials of Ayush sector: Sonowal

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 1 (UNI) Union Ayush Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Friday said there is huge potential and scope for young entrepreneurs to launch startups 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 organized as part of the fifth edition of the five-day Global Ayurveda Festival (GAF 2023) at Greenfield International Stadium at Karyavattom here.

The biennial event, the largest ever Ayurveda conclave, is organized by the Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Ayush, the Govt. of India, 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 startups in areas of novel drug manufacturing, development of Ayush instrument, diagnostic and tools. On World Ayurveda Day, the government launched Ayush Startup Challenge for our young and dynamic brains in this direction,” the minister noted.

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.

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).

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 V Muraleedharan, who is also Chairman of GAF 2023, said out of all non-communicable diseases (NCDs)-related deaths, 77 percent of them occur in low and middle income countries.

As per NITI Aayog’s figures, the human impact of NCD in India is most severe among individual above 30 years of old. In this context, Indian systems of medicines, especially Ayurveda, can play a significant role in addressing emerging health problems, he said.

Ayush exports from India have increased from USD 1.09 billion (Rs 9,000 crore) in 2014 to USD 1.54 billion (Rs 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.

The National Arogya Fair will provide a unique opportunity for stakeholders, researchers and experts for networking, collaboration and sharing of knowledge of expertise.

Terming GAF a landmark event, Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary, Ministry of Ayush, who presided over the function, said GAF is a perfect platform for students, industry, academia and researchers.

Kotecha said the Ayush sector, which grew more than USD 3 billion in 2014 and USD 18 billion in 2020, is poised to reach USD 24 billion in 2023.

GAF Working Chairman Dr. G G Gangadharan welcomed the gathering.

Devidas Varrier, MD, Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, Coimbatore; Dr Neelakandan Mooss, MD, Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda; and GAF Organising Secretary Dr Vishnu Namboodiri were also present.

The expo at a sprawling 2,50,000 square feet space featuring over 700 stalls is one of the major highlights of the event.

The National Arogya Fair will showcase a diverse range of medicinal plants and their utilization in Ayurvedic preparations. All major Ayush institutions in the country have put up their stalls at the expo.

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