A boost to traditional medicine has been given by the Himachal Pradesh state government, as the cabinet has approved plans to upgrade facilities administering alternative healthcare.
Promoting AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) has been a tenet of the Modi government’s healthcare policy since first coming to power in 2014. The establishment of the Union AYUSH Ministry and ambitious plans to expand the number of facilities providing AYUSH services throughout the country stand as testaments to this policy aim.
The policy of the Himachal Pradesh government will look to incentivise investment in the AYUSH sector. ET Healthworld reports that “the important incentives are capital subsidy on Ayush therapy units at the rate of 25 percent of fixed capital investment with a ceiling of Rs 1 crore, excluding [the] cost of land, interest subvention of four percent on term loan with ceiling of Rs 15 lakh per annum and net SGST [state goods and services tax] reimbursement at the rate of 75 percent for seven years.”
AYUSH is becoming increasingly big business in India. In the case of homoeopathy, last year it was reported that there was a fifty percent increase in patients seeking homoeopathic treatment and that 77 percent of households used Ayurvedic products. In addition, AYUSH is considered a driver of the growth of the medical tourism industry in India.
AYUSH features regularly as a staple of political discourse in India, both at home and abroad. Whilst the Indian National Congress has criticised the AYUSH Ministry, the governing BJP – including Prime Minister Narendra Modi – has taken steps to promote alternative medicine. Modi touted AYUSH at this year’s G20 conference in Osaka, Japan and was instrumental in convincing the United Nations to designate June 21st as an International Day of Yoga. Indeed, Modi was named the most influential person in health earlier this year for his promotion of physical fitness – in particular through his practising yoga.
Upgrading AYUSH facilities in Himachal Pradesh clearly follows a national trend. With appetite for such services and political will behind them, India’s AYUSH push shows no signs of slowing down.