Union Budget 2021 Expectations for Health: Even during pre-pandemic times, there was a growing awareness of the significance of health and wellness. Wellness was emerging as one of the biggest consumer spending opportunities in the world.
By Vipen Jain
Union Budget 2021-22 Expectations for Health: ‘Health is wealth’ is a saying that is commonly heard. Health and wellness have been increasingly stressed upon by experts in the field in recent times. Health is holistic. It is a state of complete mental, social and physical wellbeing, and not just the absence of infirmity or ailments. This definition of health also encompasses wellness in a way. Wellness is the active process of becoming aware of and making choices towards a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle according to the National Wellness Institute. The pandemic has underscored the importance of safeguarding one’s health and wellness and the sector is on the cusp of transformation.
Modern science has taken significant steps in increasing awareness of the importance of health and wellness amongst people. As the world combats one of its biggest transformative challenges, the ongoing pandemic, the health, and wellness industry has been fuelled in to overdrive with increased consciousness surrounding good health and wellbeing. This has created a need for bolstered infrastructure in the sector, given that the industry is one of the few that has witnessed a boom over the past year. That said, let’s take a look at what the sector seeks to thrive in the post-COVID world.
Although the pandemic has shed light on the significance of health and wellness, the industry has taken a considerable hit with increased strain and insufficient resources in terms of manpower, technology, etc. The insurmountable loss of lives and livelihoods have taken a heavy toll on the industry. Considering the current climate, mental and physical health and wellness resonate well with people and acts as a means to cope with the widespread anxiety and looming uncertainty.
In the future, near and far, the health and wellness segment will seek to adopt a more holistic approach in all aspects. Factors such as age, ailments, products, services, and demand from consumers will become the primary focus to ensure that consumer requirements are fulfilled.
Shift in lifestyle
Even during pre-pandemic times, there was a growing awareness of the significance of health and wellness. Wellness was emerging as one of the biggest consumer spending opportunities in the world. With high levels of investment, India’s healthcare market is projected to reach USD 372 billion by 2022 according to Invest India. On the other hand, a 2019 report by EY and FICCI on Wellness and Beauty: An Ecosystem in the Making, the country’s wellness sector was expected to touch USD 24 billion by 2020. This indicates a shift in the lifestyles of people who are now becoming more conscious of safeguarding their wellbeing.
As remote working has become the new norm, people are spending a majority of their time indoors and homes have become a sanctuary for everything. People are now giving increased preference for work-life balance, allotting a schedule for self-care and fitness, and looking to spend more time enjoying the simple pleasures. According to research, 63% of the global population said that they are engaged in some activity to keep themselves fit, eating healthier food, ensuring proper nutrient supplementation, and indulging in activities such as yoga and meditation for mindfulness and stress relief.
Safe and ethically sourced products to take precedence
As people gravitate towards mindful living in all aspects – be it their diet or medication, there is a newfound demand for ethically sourced products that give ample emphasis on their safety aspects. To that end, veganism and vegetarianism are going from being temporary to long-lasting trends. Furthermore, immunity-boosting foods and supplements are gaining traction even as we move to age-old methods of using traditional herbs and spices in our day-to-day lives and these have also gained significance in the global health and wellness industry. Players in the segment are now looking to cater to consumers’ requirements through safe and ethically sourced products.
The road ahead
It is no surprise that the world is undergoing a major transformation triggered by the past year’s events. Particularly in India, the traditional segment of curative healthcare using naturally obtained ingredients has dominated the country’s wellness industry for a long time, and these are expected to continue to rule the roost in the future. There is no sugar-coating that the current scenario in the world is a challenging phase and for the health and wellness sector to emerge stronger, players need out-of-the-box thinking that will help them gain an edge in the increasingly competitive market.
The redefining of the health and wellness industry will continue, and the future will maintain an increased focus on sustainability. COVID-19 has forged a change across a variety of industries, particularly in the healthcare and wellness segments. India has the potential of becoming a health and wellness hub attracting an increased inflow of investments, creating more jobs, and fulfilling evolving consumer expectations and requirements. The post-COVID world will see continued efforts from the government as well as private bodies towards the betterment of the industry.
(The author is Co-Founder of Fitspire. Views expressed are personal.)