Mains Article

AYUSH Sector in India [Mains Article]

India has rich, ancient knowledge in AYUSH systems and as a result, is considered a hub for alternative medicines.
By IT's Mains Articles Team
October 13, 2020


  • Introduction
  • About AYUSH
  • Government initiatives
  • COVlD-19 and AYUSH
  • Potential of the AYUSH
  • Opportunity for India
  • Conclusion

AYUSH Sector in India

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The AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) market currently stands at a whopping $10 bn and is projected to see an impressive 50% increase over the course of the next five years. Having no foreign direct investment limits, this sector has massive potential for exponential growth, especially in times of public health crises.

About AYUSH:

  • AYUSH is the acronym of the medical systems that are being practiced in India such as Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy.
  • Ayurveda is an alternative medicine system with historical roots in the Indian subcontinent.
  • Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India.
  • Unani is the term for Perso-Arabic traditional medicine as practiced in Muslim culture in South Asia and modern-day Central Asia. 
  • Siddha medicine is a traditional medicine originating in Tamil Nadu, India and practised over centuries.
  • Homeopathy or homoeopathy is a pseudoscientific system of alternative medicine.
  • Naturopathy or naturopathic medicine is a form of alternative medicine that employs an array of pseudoscientific practices branded as “natural”, “non-invasive”, or promoting “self-healing”.
  • These systems are based on definite medical philosophies and represent a way of healthy living with established concepts on prevention of diseases and promotion of health.
  • The basic approach of all these systems on health, disease and treatment are holistic.  Because of this, there is a resurgence of interest on AYUSH systems.
  • Background: In 1995, with the objective of optimal and focused development of these systems, the Department of Indian Medicine and Homeopathy (ISM & H) was created in the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. In 2003, this Department was renamed as Department of AYUSH.

Government initiatives:

  • The Ministry of AYUSH launched a three-month campaign on Ayush for Immunity recently.
  • Theme: Accessible and affordable health for all through Ayush solutions. 
  • Key objective: To acquaint people with valuable information about strengths of various Ayush-based solutions for enhancing immunity and preventing diseases.
  • Central govt. has launched National AYUSH Mission (NAM) during 12th Plan for implementing through States/UTs. NAM is being implemented by Ministry of AYUSH.
  • NAM aims to address the gaps in health services through supporting the efforts of State/UT Governments for providing AYUSH health services/education in the country, particularly in vulnerable and far-flung areas.
  • The first ever All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA), set up along the lines of AIIMS, was inaugurated by the govt.
  • In the 2019 Union Budget, the Government increased the allocation to the Ministry of AYUSH by 15% to Rs. 1,939.76 crore up from Rs. 1,692.77 crore from the last fiscal.
  • The Government has also announced a target of setting up 12,500 AYUSH centers in the country.
  • The Ministry of AYUSH has also proposed to include 19 treatment packages in the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) to further promote AYUSH.

COVlD-19 and AYUSH:

  • The COVlD-19 pandemic has created a global health crisis posing an unprecedented public health emergency.
  • Ayurveda and Yoga can certainly play a pivotal role to augment preventive measures provided in the guidelines by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • All the medicines included have shown good results and are scientifically validated by the task force regarding AYUSH treatment in India with respect to Covid-19 management protocol.
  • The government released Ayurveda and Yoga-based protocols for management of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) for treating patients with mild symptoms in Ayush hospitals and by Ayush practitioners in the country.
  • The current understanding of COVID-19 indicates that good immune status is vital to prevention and to safeguard from disease progression.
  • Ministry of Ayush has undertaken many clinical, observational studies to understand the role of Ayush intervention in mitigation and management of Covid-19.
  • The ministry set up an interdisciplinary committee for integration of Ayurveda and Yoga interventions in the National Clinical Management Protocol: COVID-19.
  • The medicines are also prescribed for post Covid-19 care in cases of people experiencing lung-related complications, fatigue and mental health issues.

Potential of the AYUSH:

  • AYUSH has opened a slew of opportunities for businesses to capitalize on in the growing wellness sector.
  • Amongst all the different systems, Ayurveda seems to enjoy greater awareness and acceptance. 
  • Ayurveda is also gaining wider adoption as the India Government is promoting its usage through various awareness programs.
  • Various state governments have also realized the potential of Ayurveda and have come up with industry-friendly policies.
  • AYUSH is currently a $10 billion market and is expected to grow to a $15 billion market by 2020. As 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is permitted in the AYUSH sector, it has attracted many domestic & international investors.
  • With the growing potential of the AYUSH sector, several start-ups are also working on innovative ideas to tap this market and serve customers not only in cities but also in the rural parts of India.
  • With over 3000 hospitals and 500 colleges dedicated to the proliferation of AYUSH practices, India has emerged as a world leader in this sector of medicine.
  • India is the world’s 2nd largest exporter of Ayurveda and alternative medicine in the world and is continually promoting its export interests.

Opportunity for India:

  • India’s deep-rooted ancient knowledge coupled with its current modern approaches to the development of AYUSH practices make it one of the best destinations to enter or further the industry.
  • An ever-growing market coupled with zero FDI limits and government support will make for easy transition.
  • The availability of established infrastructure and skilled man power with incumbent knowledge makes India all the more desirable for FDI.
  • A massive local market with a growing middle-class population makes India a lot more desirable.
  • Multiple government schemes that further this cause have been established which creates a lot more credibility in the local market.
  • Increasing demand from India’s top AYUSH export partners namely USA, Japan, UAE and other developed nations ensures stability both locally and internationally.


AYUSH has huge potential to promote better health and thus positively impact the Indian economy. It is witnessing a meteoric rise on the back of promotional and educational initiatives by the Government, medical tourism, and consumer awareness regarding the advantages of using alternative medicines.

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