The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has created a new visa category called the AYUSH Visa. The AYUSH visa launched by India aims to target international medical travelers seeking treatment, including therapeutic care, wellness, and yoga in India. The introduction of this particular visa aims to establish a dedicated visa scheme for foreign individuals seeking medical treatment in various domains during their visit to India.
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Union Minister of AYUSH, Sarbananda Sonowal, emphasized that this new initiative will enhance medical tourism in India. Furthermore, it will also reinforce their efforts to elevate Indian traditional medicine to a global phenomenon.
The Ministry of AYUSH, created in 2014 by the Narendra Modi-led government, is one of the prominent ministries in India. Its role encompasses advancing education, research, and dissemination of traditional medicine systems within India. AYUSH is an acronym for Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy. These constitute the six prevalent Indian systems of medicine, widely practiced in India and certain neighboring Asian nations, with only a few exceptions in select developed countries.
The Ministry of AYUSH was formed with the vision to rejuvenate the profound wisdom of traditional Indian medical systems and to facilitate the comprehensive growth and dissemination of AYUSH healthcare systems.
Moreover, the National Health Policy (NHP) 2017 strongly advocates the integration of the potential of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy) within a pluralistic healthcare system. NHP 2017 introduces the concept of ‘medical pluralism’ and underscores the importance of integrating AYUSH into the National Health Mission, research, and educational endeavors.
In 2022, Prime Minister Modi announced the establishment of the AYUSH Visa, intending to incorporate it into India’s strategic plan for the “Heal in India” government initiative. Subsequently, the Ministry of AYUSH and the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare joined forces to create a comprehensive “Heal in India” portal to showcase India as a premier global medical tourism destination.
According to the report titled “The Global Wellness Economy: Looking beyond COVID” by the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), the Global Wellness economy is projected to experience an annual growth rate of 9.9%. This estimation suggests that the AYUSH-based healthcare and wellness economy could expand to $70 billion by 2025, accompanied by significant growth in Medical Value Travel.
To further enhance the Medical Value of Travel in Ayurveda and other traditional medical practices, a recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed with the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) under the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.
In line with the central government’s introduction of the AYUSH visa, catering to foreign nationals seeking medical treatments such as therapeutic care, wellness, and yoga in India, there is positive anticipation among Ayurveda treatment providers in Kerala. They hope that this initiative will significantly enhance medical tourism in the region.
It is projected that the AYUSH visa will become a hit amongst foreign travelers in no time due to the increasing popularity of traditional Indian healthcare systems. Yoga is already a hit amongst foreigners, so many come to Rishikesh for yoga retreats.
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