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The Indian Wellness Industry: A Theoretical Overview

By on May 27, 2015 in Business Tips with 0 Comments

Indian Wellness Industry



  • 2nd largest exporter of Ayurveda and alternative medicine in the world.
  • INR 162 Billion industry by 2014.(Ayurveda and alternative medicine)
  • INR 490 Billion wellness market.(overall)
  • 6200 indigenous herbal plants.


  • India has an unmatched heritage represented by its ancient systems of medicine which are a treasure house of knowledge for both preventive and curative healthcare.
  • The demand for Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) and herbal products is surging in India and abroad. India is the second largest exporter of AYUSH and herbal products.
  • Indian systems of medicine and homeopathy particularly Ayurveda and yoga are widely recognized for their holistic approach to health and capability for meeting emerging health challenges. These systems are playing an important role in achieving the national health outcome goals of reducing Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), malnutrition, anemia.
  • The country has developed vast AYUSH infrastructure comprising of 686,319 registered practitioners, 26,107 dispensaries and 3167 hospitals in public sector, 501 undergraduate colleges with annual intake of 28,018 students, 151 centers for post graduate education with annual admission of 3504 scholars and 8896 licensed drug manufacturing units.
  • India also has a vast infrastructure with a dedicated Central Council of Indian Medicine, Central Councils of Homoeopathy (Regulatory Councils) and five Central Councils for Research, one for each AYUSH system. There are seven National Institutes (two for Ayurveda and one each for other systems), two North-eastern institutes to cater to needs of a specific area, two Pharmacopoeia Laboratories, one Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine, a National Medicinal Plants Board and a public sector undertaking for manufacture of standardized Ayurveda and Unani medicine.
  • Investors and corporate houses are increasingly investing in AYUSH sector.
  • India has a vast reservoir of natural flora and fauna and also ancient texts and knowledge that have made it an authority in the field of AYUSH.
  • The sector is growing at 20% from year to year and was estimated at INR 162 Billion in 2014.
  • Ayurveda has a unique therapy called Panchkarma which is beneficial for preventive/promotive health and also for treatment of many chronic lifestyle disorders.
  • Yoga is widely recognized and practiced in Asian as well as western countries. Several yoga centers/studios have been established across the globe during the last 4-5 decades.
  • Yoga is a drug less system and can be applied as independent modality or as an add-on therapy with other systems. The classical methods of yoga originated and propagated in India has its own advantages.
  • The ancient Indian texts have defined the concepts of do’s and don’ts related to dietetics, conduct, activities etc. which are used as natural modalities for prevention of diseases and restoration of health.


  • India’s wellness market is estimated at INR 490 Billion, and wellness services alone comprise 40% of the market.
  • The AYUSH sector has an annual turnover of around INR 120 Billion. The sector is dominated by micro, small and medium enterprises, accounting for more than 80% of the enterprises, located in identifiable geographical clusters.
  • The products market is worth about INR 40 Billion with over-the-counter products such as digestives, health food and pain balms, constituting almost 75% the segment. India has 9,000 units engaged in the manufacture of AYUSH drugs.
  • AYUSH exports in 2013-14 amount to INR 22.7 Billion. Of the exports, raw medicinal herbs account for INR 11 Billion, medicament’s for INR 9.7 Billion, medicinal extracts for INR 1.9 Billion.
  • The biggest markets for Indian herbal products are Western Europe, Russia, USA, Kazakhstan, UAE, Nepal, Ukraine, Japan, Philippines, Kenya etc.
  • India has 6600 medicinal plants found in the Himalayan region, around its coastline, deserts and rainforest Eco-system.
  • More than 32 Million people are practicing yoga in the USA alone. The demand for yoga across the world is growing exponentially.


  • The Government of India has set up a dedicated Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) with the aim of providing impetus to these ancient healthcare systems with a targeted thrust.
  • In many places in India, the Indian systems of medicine and homeopathy continue to be widely used due to their accessibility and sometimes, because they offer the only kind of medicine within the physical and financial reach of the patient.
  • The Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy provides ample opportunities for investment, education and research, health services and training in the AYUSH sector.
  • The department has a ‘Central Sector Scheme for promotion of International Cooperation’ which aims to promote global acceptance of AYUSH systems of medicine, facilitate international promotion, development and recognition of Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy. Its purpose is also to create awareness about AYUSH strengths and utility in emerging health problems, to foster interaction of stakeholders and market development of AYUSH at the international level, to support international exchange of experts and information for the cause of AYUSH systems, to give a boost to AYUSH products in the international market, to establish AYUSH academic chairs in foreign countries.
  • One of the main reasons for the surge in demand for AYUSH is concerns related to escalating costs of conventional health care and the adverse effects of chemical-based drugs and increasing lifestyle disorders.There is an epidemiological transition. By the year 2020, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are expected to account for seven out of every ten deaths in developing regions. AYUSH has the strength in managing NCDs.
  • India has conducted international exchange programs, seminars and workshops on AYUSH. MOUs for ‘Country to Country cooperation in the field of traditional medicine’ have been signed with China, Malaysia, Hungary, Trinidad and Tobago and is in the pipeline with Serbia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Mexico.
  • Ministry of Tourism also promotes AYUSH Systems of Medicine by organizing and participating in various wellness and medical tourism events and by running publicity campaigns and organizing road shows in the overseas market.


  • 100% FDI is permitted in the AYUSH sector.


  • A National Health Assurance Mission is to be launched in order to promote the sector.
  • A number of AYUSH clusters across the country will provide plug-and-play facilities for setting up AYUSH units.
  • The National Rural Health Mission has a declared policy of promoting ‘Pluralistic Healthcare’ by involving, alongside the allopathic system, the AYUSH systems, including local health traditions in its operational mission.
  • The National Policy on Indian Systems of Medicine & Homoeopathy – 2002.
  • Evidence-based centers are to be set up by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. These centers will also be instated in government hospitals.
  • The establishment of a North-eastern Institute of Ayurveda and Homoeopathy at Shillong, Meghalaya and the North-eastern Institute of Folk Medicine at Passighat.
  • Central Sector Scene for promotion of International Cooperation in AYUSH for providing incentives for the promotion of AYUSH abroad.


  • A scheme has been envisaged for the development of AYUSH clusters, for creating a Common Facility Center for standardization, quality assurance and control, productivity, marketing, infrastructure and capacity-building through a cluster-based approach.
  • Central Sector Scheme for promotion of international cooperation in AYUSH which provides for international exchange of experts and officers, incentive to drug manufacturers, entrepreneurs, AYUSH institutions etc. for international propagation of AYUSH by participating in international exhibitions, trade fairs, road shows etc. and registration of AYUSH products (Market Authorization) at regulatory bodies of different countries such as USFDA/EMEA/UK-MHRA/NHPD/TGA etc. for exports, support for international market development and AYUSH promotion-related activities, translation and publication of AYUSH literature/books in foreign languages.
  • A centrally-sponsored scheme has been set up for specialized AYUSH facilities in government tertiary care as well as AYUSH hospitals in Public Private Partnership mode.
  • The National Mission on Medicinal Plants is a centrally-sponsored scheme for cultivation of medicinal plants on farmers lands used in medicines of AYUSH for sustained availability. The Central Sector Scheme for ‘Conservation, Development and Sustainable Management of Medicinal plants’ aimed at ex-situ/in-situ conservation, awareness creation, R&D, herbal gardens, etc.
  • Provisions have been made for the North-eastern region in this sector.
  • The Scheme for Hospitals and Dispensaries, under NRHM including AYUSH flexi-pool, continues to provide assistance to states for integrating AYUSH in the national health care network, creating AYUSH facilities in PHCs/CHCs/District Hospitals.
  • The AYUSH Sector Innovation Council has been instituted by the Government of India.


  • Ayurveda drug manufacturing (nutraceuticals, food supplements, cosmetics and rejuvenatives).
  • Setting up of specialized treatment centers.
  • Medical tourism for curative and rejuvenation treatments.


Regulatory Bodies:

Research Councils



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