Kerala, with its significant lead in the national Ayurveda products and services sectors, should take the lead in taking Ayurveda to the next level, according to Sangeeta Saxena, Director of Commerce.
Speaking at the Global Ayurveda Summit in Kochi on Wednesday, Saxena said Kerala, as a leader in the Ayurveda industry, should articulate the advantages, opportunities and challenges of the sector in order to establish India’s leadership position in the global market for Ayurveda. Saxena said the central government had identified 12 ‘Champion service sectors’ and that a kitty of Rs 5,000 crore was earmarked for these sectors to support initiatives in them. She said the Ayurveda sector also needed to make use of this support.
“India’s export basket is a ‘one-trick pony’ with services exports contributing the biggest share, and software exports alone contributing 45 per cent of the services exports. Out of the IT and ITeS exports, 90 per cent are targeted at the US, UK and Europe. There is a real need for diversification of the services exports basket”, she said.
She said the idea of branding Indian Ayurveda for the global market was a good idea and that the Department of Commerce would be happy to support the move if there was a concrete proposal from the industry. Chairman of the CII Kerala State Council which is hosting the summit, Dr S Sajikumar said the services sector within the Ayurveda industry, particularly areas like medical tourism, was doing well.
Of the $4.4 billion Ayurveda market in India, Kerala accounts for $1.5 billion. Dr Sajikumar said Ayurveda held good prospects for the future, considering that life expectancy was increasing in the country, and the numbers of those in the 30-75 age-group were swelling.
“Many of them have lifestyle-related diseases and Ayurveda offers ideal solutions for such ailments”, he said. He said the Ayurveda industry should utilise emerging technological advancements like artificial intelligence, robotics and big data analysis to enhance the scope and utility of the sector.
Baby Mathew, President of the Kerala Travel Mart, said there were acceptance issues for Ayurveda in different countries, and opined that visa restrictions prevented many Ayurveda clients from visiting India. He said Sri Lanka was using better flight connectivity and a freer visa regime to attract many more Ayurveda medical tourists to that country.