According to a Government Survey, India’s Medical Tourism industry has been the largest contributor of India’s total health services exports, amounting to $623M earning in 2015-16.

Asian countries, led by Bangladesh, Iraq, Pakistan and the Maldives, accounted for more than 60 per cent of the foreign exchange earnings of health services.

India’s major trade partners, the US and the EU, accounted for 14 percent and 11 percent, respectively, according to the survey compiled by the Directorate-General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics under the Commerce Department.

“The personalized services and care that patients in India get are much cheaper than the services offered in developed countries and even in countries in the ASEAN, Middle East, and the CIS states,” Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia noted in her comments.

“This, together with the support of the government in promoting India as a healthcare hub, research in health care and advances in information and communication technology have enhanced India’s export of health services,” Teaotia added.

  • 60% of the earnings come from Bangladesh, Iraq, Pakistan and the Maldives

  • 14% from the US

  • 11% from the EU

Contract research was second-highest forex earner among health services, accounting for 27 percent of export revenue. Clinical trials and telemedicine accounted for about 3 percent of export earnings.

Orthopedics, oncology, neurology, and cardiology are the top four export revenue earners; strikingly, Ayurveda is a close fifth, much above other branches including urology, hematology, general medicine, and nephrology.

The report is part of the Commerce Department’s efforts to develop a framework to collect statistics on services trade. The DGCI&S launched its pan-India survey on international trade in services in June 2016.

Along with information on medical and health value travel, the survey also captured information on telemedicine, clinical trials, contract research, distance health education and temporary overseas movement of personnel from the surveyed units.

The study is likely to be undertaken on an annual basis.