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9th World Ayurveda Congress being held from 8-11 December

The congress was attended by close to 5,000 registered participants that include more than 400 foreign delegates from 53 countries

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The 9th World Ayurveda Congress (WAC) began in Goa yesterday with a call for cooperation and networking in the country’s traditional wellness system amid an unprecedented governmental promotion that has won India its first UN outpost anywhere on the world’s health map.

The congress, being held from 8th to 11th December, was attended by close to 5,000 registered participants that include more than 400 foreign delegates from 53 countries.

Pramod Sawant, Chief Minister, Goa, said that WAC is being held at a time when Ayurveda is becoming increasingly popular overseas. “It is our duty to propagate the merits of this health system and enable further exploration of its benefits in a wider range within the sector,” he added.

Shripad Yesso Naik, Minister of State (MoS) for Tourism and Ports, Shipping and Waterways, noted that the heritage value of Ayurveda goes on to prove its efficacy, and this system goes beyond mere treatment of diseases. “This branch of knowledge gives us idea about the right ways of life. It relies on the principle of customised medicine, often relying on optimal intake of drugs,” he said.

Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH, revealed that central government’s budget outlay for traditional medicines, including Ayurveda, rose five times during the past eight years, during which the manufacturing in sector went up by six times. “When AYUSH was set up in 2014, the amount earmarked for traditional wellness systems was Rs 691 crore. Today, it stands at Rs 3,600 crore. Similarly, a CII study put the value of production in the sector at Rs 3 billion dollars, which went on to rise to 18 billion dollars,” he pointed out.

In the summer of 2020, when the pandemic gave the world its worst health scare in recent times, India found its traditional medicines capable of resisting the new coronavirus. “Our COVID management efforts worked well, prompting as many as 90 per cent of the country’s population to use alternative drugs,” said Kotecha.

The 9th WAC is also being attended by the WHO for the first time. The four-day event features six plenary sessions and five concurrent sessions besides 20 associate events such as International Delegates Assembly, WHO event on Traditional Medicines and Guru-Shishya Meet. These are besides 3,800 abstracts for oral, e-book and poster presentations.

The event is also hosting a buyer-seller meet displaying quality products and services from Ayurvedic drug manufacturers and wellness institutions.

Launched in 2002, WAC provides a global platform for all the stakeholders, including industry leaders, practitioners, traditional healers, educationists, students, medicine manufacturers, growers of medicinal plants and marketing strategists, for networking and engaging in intellectual exchange to strengthen the Ayurveda sector, envision its future, and facilitate interaction between professionals and consumers to boost Ayurveda commerce.

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