The Indian Tourism Ministry has sanctioned over $27,000 to 10 medical tourism service providers for the current year, the ministry declared in a statement.

According to the statement, medical tourism service providers include representatives of hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission for International Accredited Hospitals (JCI) and National Accreditation Board of Hospitals (NABH), travel agents and tour operators approved by the tourism ministry.

India’s medical tourism is now included under the Marketing Development Assistance (MDA) scheme, under which medical tourism service providers will be given financial assistance,” an unnamed official from the Tourism Ministry was quoted as saying in a news agency report.

The growth in medical tourism industry has shown giant leaps in the last couple of years. While in 2002, only 150,000 foreign patients visited India for treatments, this year, the estimate is around half-a-million.

India has carved a niche in medical care courtesy the affordability of treatments and medical technology that is in par with those in UK, USA and Europe. Patients visit India mostly for heart surgery, knee transplant, cosmetic surgery and dental care.