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Policy Matters

Increase in imports causes worry for domestic Ayush industry

New Delhi (PB): Notwithstanding steady increase in export of Ayurveda, Unani and Homoeopathic medicines from India, the imports of the drugs and medicinal plants in the Ayush sector also increased, causing worry to the domestic industry which is facing shortage of raw materials.

Medicaments, medicinal plants and their by-products in the areas of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathic, termed as Ayush products, showed continuous growth in the exports during the last ten years from 2003-04, according to the figures compiled by the Health Ministry.

The export of Ayush products has increased from Rs.2887.01 crore in 2009-10 to Rs.3341.90 crore in 2010-11 with an annual growth rate of 16 per cent whereas it has increased to Rs.19069.39 crore in 2011-12 with an annual growth rate of 471 per cent. It has happened due to the high growth rate of oil seeds, fruits, grains, medicinal plants, straw and fodder, the statistics said.

Lac, gums, resins and other vegetable saps and extracts increased from Rs.388, 147.80 lakhs in year 2010-11 to Rs.1,809,187.75 in year 2011-12 (growth rate is 366.11 per cent) and pharmaceutical products increased from Rs.3,038,322.05 lakhs in year 2010-11 to Rs.4,081,685.87 lakhs in year 2011-12 (growth rate is 34.34 per cent).

However, the import of Ayush products has decreased by 44 per cent annually from Rs.732.44 crore in 2009-10 to Rs.410.40 crore in 2010-11. However, it has increased to Rs.504.06 crore in 2011-12 with an annual growth rate of 23 per cent, causing worry to the domestic players.

During 2011-12, the total trade of Ayush products has increased substantially from Rs.3752.30 crore in 2010-11 to Rs.19573.45 crore, because of the high growth rate in exports of Ayush items including pharmaceutical products which registered 34.34 per cent growth.

During 2011-12, percentage share of Ayush products in the total trade of India was 0.51 per cent compared to 0.13 per cent in 2010-11. Similarly, Ayush products shared 1.30 per cent of export and 0.02 per cent of import of India in 2011-12 compared to 0.29 per cent of export and 0.02 per cent of import in India respectively. All India Balance of Trade has always been negative since the ninth plan period 1996-97, while Ayush related products always shown a positive balance of trade, indicating that Ayush products are having significant role in foreign trade of the country, sources said.

Commenting on the trend, an industry expert said the increase in the case of imports was minimal and was not a cause of major worry. “However, India should take guard against it especially in the changing regulatory patterns that can affect the future exports,” he added.

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