India is at a pivotal moment in its health-care journey – India’s Emerging Role in Global Health and AI-Driven Healthcare Solutions | 18 September 2023 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

Please Share with maximum friends to support the Initiative.

What's the article about?

  • It talks about the health sector in India.


  • GS2: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
  • Essay


  • India has emerged as a strong voice for various critical issues, including climate change, electrification, new age manufacturing, and the space race.
  • However, India is also facing significant health challenges, with millions of people suffering from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, hypertension, heart attacks, cancer, respiratory issues, and depression.
  • If left unchecked, India's NCD burden will be nearly $4 trillion by 2030, creating an “age tax” on India's demographic dividend.
  • To combat this, India must prioritize community health, foster public-private partnerships, and invest in innovation and research.

India is emerging as a fast-growing destination for medical value travel (MVT), with the industry expected to grow to USD 13 billion by 2022.

  • Here are some reasons why India is gaining momentum as a medical tourism hub:
    • Affordable Treatment: The low cost of treatment abroad is one of the primary reasons why people travel for medical purposes. India offers high-quality medical treatment at a fraction of the cost of developed countries.
    • Trained Medical Professionals: India has a large pool of trained medical professionals and doctors who are fluent in English. The country also has access to the latest medical technology.
    • Cultural Aspect: India's rich cultural heritage and hospitality make it an attractive destination for medical tourists. The blending essence of Indian food, nature, and culture adds to the richness of Indian hospitality.
    • Medical Visa: The Ministry of Home Affairs has introduced a new category of visa, Medical Visa, that can be issued to foreigners travelling to India for healthcare reasons.
    • Wellness Tourism: India is also the 3rd amongst the top 10 wellness countries in Asia Pacific, offering a range of tourism opportunities to Medical Value Travellers to combine treatment with a visit to tourist destinations.
  • Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism and hospitality industry, the medical tourism sector in India is estimated to have been worth USD 5-6 billion.
  • The country is ranked 10th out of the top 46 countries in the world in the Medical Tourism Index 2020-21 by Medical Tourism Association.
  • By addressing the challenges discussed, India can continue to grow as a world-class destination for medical tourism.

How has the Indian government supported the growth of medical tourism in the country?

  • The Government has taken several steps to support the growth of medical tourism in the country.
  • Here are some of the initiatives taken by the government:
    • Market Development Assistance (MDA) Scheme: The Ministry of Tourism has extended its MDA scheme to wellness tourism service providers, including accredited wellness centers. The wellness centers accredited by State Tourism Departments are also eligible for the MDA. After the accreditation guidelines of NABH is in place, all wellness centers seeking MDA would be asked to be as close to the accreditation guidelines of NABH as possible.
    • National Strategy and Roadmap for Medical and Wellness Tourism: The government has launched a National Strategy and Roadmap for Medical and Wellness Tourism to promote medical value travel and wellness tourism as important.
    • Heal in India Initiative: The government has launched the Heal in India Initiative, which is a multi-stakeholder project to offer quality healthcare in both modern and traditional medicine to the world. The initiative involves a digital portal called Medical Value Travel, which will be a window of integrated Indian healthcare for the world. This portal is meant to assist international patients with their end-to-end medical journey in India as well as provide global presence and discoverability to Indian health facilities and health professionals, along with facilitating transparency to the sector.
    • Promotion of AYUSH Treatment: The government is promoting AYUSH treatment through health tourism. Under the Heal in India Initiative, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is promoting AYUSH treatment to attract more medical tourists to India.
    • Assistance under Market Development Assistance (MDA) Scheme: The government provides assistance under the MDA scheme to medical and wellness tourism service providers and centers. The assistance is aimed at promoting medical and health tourism in the country.
  • These initiatives by the Indian government have helped in promoting India as a world-class destination for medical tourism.


  • India's Health-Care Infrastructure and Medical Value Travel:
    • India has made tremendous progress on key health metrics, with infant mortality improving by four times, maternal mortality improving by seven times, and the average life expectancy of an Indian increasing nearly 30% from 55 years to over 70 years.
    • India has world-class health-care infrastructure and incredible clinical talent that delivers the best clinical outcomes at incredible scale and at a fraction of the global price.
    • India's expertise in highly specialized areas such as organ transplants, cardiology, oncology, and more has made the country a fast-growing destination for medical value travel (MVT).
    • Patients from across the globe are drawn to India for its world-class medical expertise, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and cost-effective care.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Health Care:
    • India has the potential to be at the forefront of the AI-driven health-care revolution, with a vast pool of talented data scientists, engineers, and health-care professionals who can drive innovation in AI-driven health-care solutions.
    • AI-powered tools can enhance the accuracy and efficiency of medical diagnoses, leading to faster treatment decisions and better patient outcomes.
    • Additionally, AI can help predict disease outbreaks, analyze health-care data, and optimize treatment plans, expediting health-care procedures, and revolutionizing drug discovery, ultimately making health care more personalized and effective.
    • India has already made strides in AI applications for health care, but it must continue to invest in research and development, foster collaborations between academia and industry, and create an ecosystem that encourages innovation.

Way Forward:

  • India stands at a pivotal moment in its health-care journey. By reimagining its health-care model, the country can position itself as the global destination for medical value travel, a powerhouse in AI-driven health-care solutions, and a leader in combating NCDs.
  • To achieve this vision, India must prioritize community health, foster public-private partnerships, and invest in innovation and research. With concerted efforts and a commitment to excellence, a healthier and more prosperous India can be built for generations to come.

Please Share with maximum friends to support the Initiative.

Download the Samajho App

Join 5 lakh+ students in downloading PDF Notes for 2000+ Topics relevant for UPSC Civil Services Exam. &nbsp Samajho Android App: Samajho iOS App: &nbsp Samajho IAS Youtube Channel (300K+ Subscribers):