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Gireesh Babu, New Delhi December 31 , 2021
The Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa-Rigpa and Homoeopathy (Ayush) industry in the country has been seeing a good growth in the last few years and is expected to grow to a $23.3 billion size in the year 2022. In a year in which the world saw heavy losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ayush systems stepped up their activities to address the challenges, according to the Ministry of Ayush.

In a year-end report on its performance for the year 2021, the Ministry said that according to the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) report, the market size of Ayush has grown by 17 per cent in 2014-20 to reach $18.1 billion.

Despite the slump in economic activity in 2020 due to the pandemic, the industry is projected to reach $20.6 billion in 2021 and $23.3 billion in 2022.

“In terms of the global share, India has grown faster in the Ayush market as compared to the world and accounts for about 2.8 per cent of the market, which is likely to hold even though disruptions in production are not ruled out,” it added.

During the year 2021, the Ministry introduced an online application system to make the process of granting licenses easy and time-saving. This is envisaged to help the process of granting license to manufacture Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani (ASU) drugs swift, paperless and more transparent.

The ministry also virtually signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H) and American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, USA to help in strengthening, promoting and developing standards in the field of Ayurveda and other Indian Traditional systems of medicine between the two countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.

When the world was severely affected with the negativity of Covid-19, the Ministry of Ayush took several measures to fight the situation. It launched a nationwide distribution campaign of Ayush 64, through 86 clinical units of Research Councils and National Institute under the Ministry of Ayush across the country.

“The scientists of reputed research institutions of the country found that Ayush 64, a polyherbal formulation developed by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), is useful in the treatment of asymptomatic, mild and moderate Covid-19 infection as an adjunct to standard care. The efficacy of these drugs has been proved through robust multi-centre clinical trials,” said the Ministry.

In another initiative, the three premier institutions - the Central Council for Research in Yoga & Naturopathy (CCRYN), the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru and the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA) - came together to develop a Protocol for Psychosocial Rehabilitation of Covid-19 patients.

In terms of implementation of IT-based solutions, the launch of the CTRI (Clinical Trial Registry of India) portal pertinent to the Ayurveda Dataset along with AMAR, RMIS, SAHI and e-Medha portals boosted the presence of Ayush on online space. Ayurveda Dataset CTRI is a primary Register of Clinical Trials under the World Health Organization’s International Clinical Trials Registry Platform. The creation of the Ayurveda Data Set in CTRI facilitates the usage of Ayurveda Terminologies to record clinical studies based on Ayurveda interventions. The Ministry further launched an Ayush Clinical Case Repository (ACCR) portal and the third version of AyushSanjivani App in a virtual event.

To mark the 75 years of Independence, the Ministry launched a bouquet of interesting events such as distribution of medicinal plants, medicinal plants to be cultivated on 75-thousands-hectares of land in the Country, national campaign to distribute prophylactic medicines to 75 lakh people in one year, among others which will continue for a year.

The Ministry also formed an inter-disciplinary Ayush R&D Task Force to formulate and design clinical research protocols for prophylactic studies and add-on interventions in Covid-19 positive cases. The task force includes representation from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Ayush Institutions.

The All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) and U.K.'s London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) came together to conduct a study on ‘Ashwagandha’ for promoting recovery from Covid-19 through clinical trials on 2,000 people in three UK cities — Leicester, Birmingham and London (Southall and Wembley). The trial’s success can pave the way for Ashwagandha to be a proven medicinal treatment to prevent infection and be recognised by the scientific community worldwide.

The Indian Medicines Pharmaceutical Corporation Limited (IMPCL), the public sector manufacturing unit of the Ministry of Ayush recorded a turnover of Rs. 164.33 crore (tentative figure) for the financial year 2020-21. This is the highest number achieved in the company’s history and an all-time high profit of approximately Rs 12 crore is reported for the year. In the previous year, 2019-20 best revenue figures of the company was Rs. 97 crore. This growth is reflective of the fast-growing adoption of Ayush products and services by the public in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Ministry of Ayush is actively working on the gap areas by identifying challenges and issues of the sector and is also exploring the various avenues to accelerate its acceptance at the global level. The sector has immense potential for entrepreneurship and Ayush Ministry can encourage and facilitate the same,” concluded the Ministry.

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