Says government has identified seven areas in the sector that need to be developed

Ayurveda has been identified as one of the key sectors of growth and innovation for Kerala, and the government has selected seven specific areas within Ayurveda that need to be nurtured and developed, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said.

He was inaugurating an international business meet held as part of the Global Ayurveda Fest here on Monday.

Mr. Chandy said Sam Pitroda, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Public Information, Infrastructure, and Innovations, had during his visit to the State recently suggested to the Cabinet 10 focus areas of development, one of which was Ayurveda. Mr. Pitroda had pointed out that Ayurveda held great potential for Kerala, for its health-care needs and for economic growth.

Scarcity of medicinal plants was one of the biggest problems that the Ayurveda sector faced. The government was contemplating legislation that a certain part of land on estates be set aside for cultivation of medicinal plants, Mr. Chandy said.

Kerala had the potential to contribute to the development of authentic and good quality Ayurveda products while promoting the curative side of Ayurveda through setting up of wellness centres and spas. Mr. Chandy said that the growth of the Ayurveda sector could contribute towards employment generation and revenue generation.

He said the government was considering giving tax concession to Ayurveda drugs. Mr. Chandy also assured his continued support to the Ayurveda sector.

Addressing the meet, P.V. Appaji, Executive Director of Pharmexcil, said that documentation, clinical outcomes, and standardisation were important if Ayurveda were to be accepted in the international market. He said the first target for the market expansion of Ayurveda should be the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations. He said that according to the World Health Organisation, nearly 80 per cent of the people in Asian and African countries used traditional medicines as their primary medical aid.

R.S. Jayawardane, member, Drug Regulation Council of Sri Lanka, said his country needed the support of India to promote traditional medicine. Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action president G.G Gangadharan; Joint Secretary in the Union Ministry of Commerce Mridula Jain; former Vice-Chairman of the University Grants Commission V.N. Rajashekaran Pillai, Pharmexcil executive committee member Renjith Puranik, Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, Coimbatore, head P.R Krishnakumar, and KIMS Hospital executive director E.M. Najeeb spoke.