The second wave of C-19 has reiterated the need for preventive care and the dearth of healthcare infrastructure in India. It has compelled us to redefine and rebuild the health, healthcare, and healthcare infrastructure.
Despite several reforms and impetus announced by the government, the unprecedented rise in C-19 cases has proved our medical facilities to be dwarfed. 2nd wave has reached the villages wherein even the primary healthcare services are not available.
It is now evident that we need to first strengthen both preventive and primary healthcare systems to reduce the load on tertiary healthcare.
It is an opportune time to get a required vaccine shot of measures from the government to boost preventive healthcare medicine streams like Ayurveda and nutraceutical and strengthen the defence mechanism.
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To encourage private sector participation in this drive, an extension of the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme will act as a power booster to the nutraceutical industry.
It will stimulate the needed investment to grow in size and scale and will enable making India one of the leading manufacturing hubs for the players in naturals and Botanicals.
Pandemic has completely transformed the perspective towards healthcare and that has benefitted the nutraceutical industry. Inclusion of exercise, diet and the use of over-the-counter medications & dietary supplements is becoming a way of life.
Cultural barriers towards supplementation have reduced in these times. There is demand for the products beyond immunity-boosting, e.g. gut health, sleep, mental health, etc.
The nutraceutical industry in India is growing at a double-digit rate and has the potential to grow from USD 4Bn to USD 25Bn in the next decade.
Earlier this year, the government approved a PLI scheme for the pharmaceutical sector, entailing an outlay of Rs 15,000 crore. Extending the PLI scheme support to the nutraceuticals sector as well will certainly boost research, innovations, and clinical trials allowing more home-grown patents and products to foster.
There is also a need to focus on building R&D infrastructure and encourage innovation from the grassroots level. PLI scheme for the nutraceutical industry if carefully drafted with an integrated approach can significantly boost the agriculture sector too.
To begin with, the government may define criteria and specific size companies for eligibility. Once established, the scheme can be extended further to the whole of the supply chain starting from the farms to the formulation.
The sector which has clocked a yearly growth of between 15-20% and is expected to drive sales with a CAGR of 17% upto 2022, the PLI scheme can be the catalyst to accelerate this growth.
Nutraceutical manufacturing is a complex process and heavily dependent on raw material availability. India is the 3rd largest supplier of the majority of the raw materials required globally.
With all other resources available, there is a huge scope to expand our base in more value-added products manufacturing beyond just supplying the herbs and medicinal plants to the world.
PLI scheme is an excellent incentive to revive the manufacturing sector in India. While we associate it with Atmanirbhar Bharat, an important aspect to consider is the export potential that can be tapped into through this scheme.
As per India Exim Bank Research, during 2019-20, the cumulative exports from the 10 PLI sectors stood at USD 71.9 billion with significant untapped potential in the sectors. PLI scheme can boost domestic manufacturing and augment India’s exports by another USD 55 billion, cumulatively.
While the government is adding more sectors under the scheme, it is time to break some more cultural barriers and extend the scheme to the nutraceutical sector too.
by Sanjaya Mariwala
Founder President of the Association of Herbal and Nutraceuticals Manufacturers of India (AHNMI)
(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and The Health Master does not necessarily subscribe to it. The Health Master shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person / organisation directly or indirectly)
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