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‘Heal in India’: Special visas soon for traditional Indian therapy seekers

New Delhi, Apr 20 (EFE).- India Wednesday said it would soon allow a special visa category for those seeking traditional Indian therapies as part of a push to promote ancient home-grown health treatments.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has repeatedly called for greater use of the Indian health remedies and exercises, also emphasized that the government would introduce a mark to recognize and give authenticity to traditional Indian medicinal products.

He launched the “Heal-in-India” initiative to promote the traditional learning and medicine industry.

Modi was speaking at the inauguration of the three-day Global AYUSH Investment and Innovation Summit in western state of Gujarat, with World Health Organization chief Tredos Ghebreyesus in the audience.

AYUSH is the acronym for Indian alternate systems of medicine — Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy.

“India will soon introduce the AYUSH mark, which will give authenticity to quality AYUSH products of the country. The mark will be given to products vetted using the latest technology. This will give confidence to people of the world that they are purchasing quality AYUSH products,” Modi said.

He said that traditional medicine had helped increase tourism in the southern state of Kerala, which has blended the ayurveda wellness system with its tourism products.

“This power is in the whole of India, in every corner of India. ‘Heal in India’ can become a big brand in this decade. The prime minister said that wellness centers based on ayurveda, unani, and siddha can be very popular,” the prime minister said.

Modi said the Indian traditional medicine industry had grown to $18 billion from $3 billion in 2014 when he came to power and gave a heavy push for the promotion of the sector that included launching a separate ministry.

The summit aims to help uncover investment potential and give a fillip to the innovation, research and development, and start-up ecosystem of the Indian wellness industry.

It came a day after the WHO launched its Global Center for Traditional Medicine in Gujarat Tuesday.

The WHO chief said the center would unlock the potential by blending ancient practices with modern science.

He said examples of traditional medicines turned into modern medicine abound the world.

But, he said, much work was to be done on identifying, developing, and testing these products and how to share benefits with the communities that nurtured them.

“Today marks a critical step in helping to bring the promise of traditional medicine to fruition, to the benefit of people around the globe. The new center will complement the WHO’s work on traditional medicine in headquarters, regional, and country offices.”

He said the center, backed by an investment promise of $250 million, would focus on data, innovation, and sustainability and optimize the use of traditional medicine.

He said India would be able to take its knowledge of traditional medicine to the world, and similarly, the world will come to India through the center.

India’s traditional system of medicine and wellness carries a legacy of more than 4,000 years that conceives the human being as an integrated unit of body, mind, and spirit.

However, critics question the effectiveness of such traditional remedies over modern medicine.


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