Budget paved way for AYUSH sector’s sustainable growth : Experts

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New Delhi, Feb 7 (IANS) The Union Budget 2021-22 has introduced numerous enablers and catalysts which will pave the way for the AYUSH sector to tap sustainable growth, said a panel of experts who had interpreted the Budget for the sector.
The Budget presented by the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman this week allocated Rs 2,970.30 crore to the AYUSH ministry for the next fiscal year marking an increase of 40 per cent of the corresponding figure of the current fiscal.
To understand the impact of the current Union Budget for the sector, the AYUSH ministry has organised a discussion on the topic “Implications of Union Budget 2020-21 for the AYUSH Sector”.
Ranjit Puranik, MD and CEO of Shree Dhootapapeshwar Limited and a representative of the AYUSH industry, opined that the Budget is part of a policy continuum which incorporates many of the views espoused in the recent past by the AYUSH industry, AYUSH ministry and other stakeholders of the sector.
Citing various pointers from the Budget, he said that scientific studies in AYUSH would increase and give impetus to the sector as a medical stream.
Puranik recollected that Rs 4,000 crore was recently earmarked for the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) for the backward integration projects dealing with the medicine plants.
He added that about 8,800 units are the part of the AYUSH industry, and they are poised to capitalise on the various booster provisions that this Budget offers to the industry.
Rajiv Vasudevan, MD and CEO of AyurVAID Hospitals, and Chairman, CII Ayurveda Group while welcoming the increase in outlay for AYUSH Sector, said that the bigger picture lies in the integrated vision for the broader healthcare sector which emerges from a closer look at the last few Budgets.
He indicated that the impetus that the AYUSH sector can draw from this Budget goes beyond the compartmentalized allocations to the sub-sectors.
Presenting some statistics, Vasudevan said that the increasing funding in the AYUSH ministry on international cooperation is a sign of how AYUSH healthcare systems are contributing to India’s growing soft power.
He added that the larger Budget allocation for 2021-22 can continue to energise these activities and that the added funding will strengthen the AYUSH sector.
Geetha Krishnan, an Ayurveda expert presently working as a Technical officer in the Traditional Medicines Unit of the WHO, termed the Budget for the AYUSH sector as “growth and continuity”.
Tracing the decadal trend in the 300 per cent growth of outlay for AYUSH, Krishnan explained how the current Budget integrates the sector into the country’s overall growth pattern.
The Ayurveda expert mentioned that the building blocks of growth are coming into place and emphasised that it is important for the AYUSH sector to become part of every healthcare system.
J.L.N. Sastry, CEO, National Medicinal Plants Board who moderated the panel said that the Budget provisions were not in compartments any more and the AYUSH sector has acquired the maturity to grasp and make use of the inter-linked weave of opportunities that has been rolled out.
The major pointers towards investment opportunities, scientific studies and active branding of AYUSH were underlined. The emerging entrepreneurial environment to which the Budget has significantly contributed, holds much potential to take Indian traditional medicine to the world, in line with the already-visible trend of wider global acceptance of Yoga and Ayurveda.

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