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India, a country which is popularly known for its traditional health practices like yoga, Ayurveda as well as many other alternative medicines, over the years as evolved in the field. With rapid changes in lifestyle and a desire for social acceptance, wellness players have responded to this change through a paradigm shift in their focus point. From traditional offerings like curative healthcare and value-oriented mass products, today the emphasis is on new generational offerings like preventive healthcare, luxury products and personalized services.

The wellness industry in India has evolved rapidly from its unstructured beginning in the early 1990s to a broad ecosystem today. Moreover India is slowly becoming a hub for medical tourists from around the world. To promote this change, government 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.

Being the second largest exporter of Ayurvedic and alternative medicine in the world, we have over around 6,200 indigenous herbal plants and the country has developed vast AYUSH infrastructure comprising 6,86,319 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 3,504 scholars and 8,896 licensed drug manufacturing units. Currently, the industry comprises a range of segments — alternative medicine, nutrition, preventive and personalized health, workplace wellness, yoga and fitness. To be more precise, the key sub-segments in the sector are beauty care and nutritional care which constitute the maximum industry share at the moment and this is likely to continue.

Fitness centers and alternative therapies are catching up and rejuvenation too constitutes a small share in the market. With significant scope for penetration in areas like nutrition, rejuvenation and fitness, the Indian wellness market is a huge business opportunity waiting to be harnessed. Be it physical wellness, emotional wellness or social wellness, the sector is evolving in its various dimensions.

India has a rich heritage supported by its ancient systems of medicine which is a treasure house of knowledge for both preventive and curative healthcare. We also have 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 Ayurvedic and Unani medicine.

The growing wellness industry has attracted a large number of domestic as well as international investors. Companies are actively seeking public and private equity investments to fuel their growth. The established ones are pursuing revenue maximization through product and service diversification and are exploring new global and domestic markets. Franchising is emerging as a popular option for scaling up. Also 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is permitted in the AYUSH sector.

Along with all this the Indian government is also launching a number of other programmes to promote the wellness industry of India. The Make in India initiative is pushing the wellness as well as other industries much far ahead so as to bring much more investments and opportunities to our country. Ancient practices like Yoga and Ayurveda is India’s contribution to the global map. Therefore, concerted efforts should be put in to consolidate these sectors further and convert the business potentials to achieve maximum benefit for the country.