India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, staying true to his mission to bring India’s traditions of yoga and ayurveda officially to the global forefront, or, some may say, capitalize on the growing popularity of these systems worldwide, has already created its very first department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH), with Shripad Naik freshly appointed minister just yesterday.
“There is a need for larger awareness in ayurveda,” Modi said via Reuters. “It can’t be limited to a doctor only. Our ancestors made good health a part of life,” he said.
The Prime Minister had spoken of his intentions before the U.N. General Assembly in September, suggesting that the world adopt an International Yoga Day. The Indian government is reportedly allocating 10.69 billion rupees ($174 million) to develop and promote traditional health systems for the 2014-15 financial year, but that’s just the start. “We have not got the attention … We are looking for a steep rise in our funding for next year,” an unnamed official told Reuters.
The new yoga and ayurveda ministry will jump into the estimated $100 billion global market for alternative medicine as a viable player, because, well, India.
“This is our system and it has not received enough prominence. We will take it to the masses,” said Shripad Naik, who will lead the ministry and India’s alternative therapies to a new era. Hold onto your yoga mats.