In recent news, a groundbreaking development has emerged in the world of medical tourism—Ayush Visa. This new visa category, introduced after Chapter 11 of the Visa Manual, marks a significant step forward in facilitating medical travel to India. The Chapter 11, previously centered around medical visas, now incorporates the Ayush Visa to accommodate a broader spectrum of health and wellness-related visits.
This topic of “Ayush Visa” is important from the perspective of the UPSC IAS Examination, which falls under General Studies Portion.
Ayush Visa: A Gateway to Holistic Wellbeing
What is it?
The Ayush Visa is a specialized visa designed for foreign nationals seeking various forms of medical treatment and wellness experiences in India. It encompasses a range of health-related purposes, including:
- Medical Treatment: Providing access to advanced medical treatments and procedures.
- Therapeutic Care: Enabling individuals to receive specialized therapeutic care for specific health conditions.
- Wellness: Catering to those looking for rejuvenation, relaxation, and holistic wellness experiences.
- Yoga: Facilitating participation in traditional yoga practices, a key aspect of Indian wellness traditions.
This initiative also aligns with the Heal in India campaign, aiming to create a comprehensive roadmap for enhancing India’s position as a global health and wellness destination.
Why was it Introduced?
The introduction of the Ayush Visa is primarily aimed at boosting Medical Value Travel in India. By diversifying the types of healthcare services available to international visitors, the country aims to attract a broader range of medical tourists seeking holistic wellbeing experiences.
How Ayush Visa Works
The Ayush Visa operates as a special visa scheme catering to foreigners who wish to visit India for treatment under the Ayush systems of medicine. These systems include various Indian traditional and alternative healthcare practices that have gained global recognition. The scheme entails:
- Foreigners Visiting India: Individuals from different countries can apply for the Ayush Visa to receive specialized medical and wellness treatments.
- Treatment under Ayush Systems: The visa facilitates access to treatment methodologies based on Indian systems of medicine, such as Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy.
The Driving Forces Behind Ayush Visa
The Ayush Visa was introduced by the Ministry of Home Affairs in the year 2022. This ministry has played a pivotal role in shaping policies related to immigration and visas, thereby contributing to the development of the Ayush Visa category.
Collaborating Ministries and One-Stop Portal
To ensure the success of the Ayush Visa initiative, collaboration has been established between multiple government bodies:
- Ministry of Ayush: This ministry oversees traditional Indian healthcare systems and plays a significant role in promoting their integration with modern medical practices.
- Ministry of Health & Family Welfare: Through the establishment of the Heal in India portal, these ministries collectively aim to provide a centralized platform for medical tourists. This portal acts as a one-stop destination for information, facilitating a seamless experience for travelers.
The Heal in India portal seeks to promote India as a prime medical tourism destination, showcasing the country’s rich heritage of holistic wellness practices combined with advanced medical facilities.
The Future of Ayush Visa and Medical Tourism
The introduction of the Ayush Visa comes at a time when global healthcare priorities have shifted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a report titled ‘The Global Wellness Economy: Looking beyond COVID’ by the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), Ayush-based healthcare and wellness are expected to contribute significantly to the economy. The report predicts an annual growth rate of 9.9% in this sector, with an estimated market value of $70 billion by 2025. This growth is expected to further elevate India’s position in the field of Medical Value Travel.