Budget 2021: Covid-19 brings back focus on Yoga, industry puts these demands

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Updated: December 24, 2020 2:26 PM

Union Budget 2021 India: Expectation with Budget 2021 is the encouragement to digital integration of yoga and ayurveda courses & programs as this will ensure both qualitative and quantitative expansion of Indian ancient healing science.

Yoga Budget 2021 covid19 union budget 2021Experts feel that Budget 2021 should be able to educate and encourage yoga centres to get their yoga centers registered. (Photo source: IE)

Union Budget 2021: Yoga has been part of Indian culture for thousands of years and is widely accepted around the world for its health and wellness creating aspects. The global coronavirus pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2, has once again shifted focus towards this age-old practice. While in a pre-COVID era most people opted for yoga as a weight loss measure, the pandemic has made them aware of the importance of their wellness, health, and immunity for which practicing yoga is best. Boosting immunity is an essential requisite to fight against highly infectious coronavirus. Several studies have proved that dedicated pranayamas and systematic tailor-made asana practices could build up the immunity in the body that will help fight the viral infection. Experts feel that the pandemic has rejuvenated the interest in yoga practices and the introduction of online yoga studios and virtual classes have lead to an unexpected boom in the yoga industry.

According to Shivani Gupta, founder of hellomyyoga, trending home workout has levitated digital yoga exuberantly and adding it to the industry figures. “Since the shift in consumers spending to well -being experience, yoga industry was always trending. It’s with COVID-19 that the growth accelerated robustly. According to pre-pandemic figures, the global yoga market was worth well over USD 130 Billion (as per CAGR). The pandemic has taught us to love ourselves, care about our health, and implement yogic and ayurvedic routines in our daily life. I am sure yoga industry growth will be phenomenal,” the 33-year-old yoga entrepreneur said.

Expressing similar views, Mita Vinay – founder, Bodhsara, Wellness and Salt Studio – said that with the pandemic people have learned to exercise and meditate within their homes and this too has boosted the industry. “Earlier the excuse used to be that there is no yoga centre nearby. But now people can learn and practice it using online classes. Also, I would like to add, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, people increasingly turned to practice yoga to stay healthy, stress-free and avoid negative thinking and beliefs. The yoga industry in India is witnessing a phenomenal growth and is only poised to rise in the near future,” she added.

Challenges Faced By Yoga Industry

The Indian yoga industry is a largely unorganized sector and the way this industry is sprawling there should have some mechanics to analyze it. The founder of hellomyyoga said that during the pandemic many teachers were not able to digitally teach because they couldn’t find the right gateway to accept the international students’ fee because of their unregistered setup.

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Talking about other challenges faced by the industry, Bodhsara founder said that the industry needs to have a better online environment to teach yoga. “This will be helpful for the yoga practitioner, especially the ones in the beginner’s level… We should aim at creating a studio-like feel for the participants to see the alignments right in every posture. This requires good investments in the camera and sound system – a major challenge for many during the pandemic,” she said.

Right Time To Promote Yoga Industry

Experts believe that the yoga industry is making the desired impact on the people of India and in turn, it seems to create a change in the development of individuals and also become a national interest. Shilpa Ambre – CFO, SARVA Yoga – told Financial Express Online that it is the right time to promote the industry by extending all the required support.

“Need of the hour is to give more support and incentives so that companies make health and wellness mandatory. An average individual today spends 9-10 hours working, and probably even more while working from home. Companies, like us, in the health and wellness industry are also helping corporates realise the need of inculcating mandatory health practices amongst their employees and I believe this must truly be encouraged,” Ambre added.

Shivani feels that as a yoga entrepreneur, they have been frontrunners to promote yoga worldwide by creating courses with online & offline platforms to equip more and more students with this traditional healing practice. She said that these initiatives in the industry that attract and encourage youth participation should be encouraged. “After all, these initiatives will enable us to achieve a healthy population which is also the foundation of India’s silver economy – 2050,” the yoga entrepreneur added.

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Experts stressed that yoga should be introduced as a regular activity in schools, universities, health centres, corporations in a bid to revolutionize value education and the importance of health and self-care.

Expectation/Demand From Budget 2021

SARVA Yoga CFO feels that considering the rising importance of the health and wellness industry, GST of 18 per cent is really high and definitely be reconsidered as lower GST rates will empower people to more actively pursue it. Talking about tax holidays on new innovations, Ambre said that any such an announcement in Budget 2021 will encourage new ideas and ventures.

“A tax exemption when an individual invests in his/her health could be a really strong move in motivating people to think about their health. Even for corporates like us, wellness begins at our office, and employers who encourage health & wellness and invest in their employees’ health and wellness should also be considered for some sort of exemption or rebates in the upcoming budget,” she added.

Praising the Modi government for exceptionally brilliant work in spreading the importance of yoga in the past few years, Mita Vinay said that allocating some dedicated budget will help the yoga industry flourish at the right time and the right way. She also feels that loans at a low-interest rate will help yoga teachers start their own yogashala or studios. “Many talented teachers are not able to go all out spreading the positive effects of yoga because of the lack of the opportunity, I would like to see a low-interest loan provided to the yoga teachers who wish to open their yogashala or studio.”

Shivani too feels that yoga has been reviving in the past few years. “If we study the 2020 Budget, yoga studios and centres were exempted by GST as well. Honestly, it was an overall encouraging budget for AYUSH where all the pillars Ayurveda, Yoga, Unnani, Siddha & Homeopathy all were taken care of. The year 2020 has made us learn the importance of a healthy body & a happy mind. My expectation with Budget 2021 is the encouragement to digital integration of yoga and ayurveda courses & programs as this will ensure both qualitative and quantitative expansion of Indian ancient healing science,” she said.

Experts feel that Budget 2021 should be able to educate and encourage yoga centres to get their yoga centers registered as it will pave the way for a more organized yoga industry. Funding institutes and universities of yoga to conduct more and more researches integrated with medical science should also be considered. This will help in creating a holistic approach to fix lifestyle disorders and provide supporting evidence to yoga instructors of yoga centres.

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