For the first time, the Union government will carry out a survey on the use and acceptability of the alternative systems of medicine and employ the results for effective planning of a road map for Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH).

The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) has agreed to include some questions, in its Consumer Expenditure Schedule for the 68th annual round of socio-economic surveys, for collecting information on AYUSH.

Anil Kumar, Secretary of the Department of AYUSH, under the Health Ministry, said statistics were an essential base for good and effective planning. “However, the Department has no benchmark statistics available, from either a census or an adequate sample size-based enquiry, and hence the NSSO was persuaded vigorously to undertake the survey.”

The NSSO will collect information from about one lakh households nationwide, in rural as well as urban areas. The survey will be conducted in four sub-rounds from July 2011 to June 2012. The results, expected to be available in 2013, “will give an authenticated base-level assessment from the household and population of the usage and acceptability of AYUSH systems,” Mr. Kumar said.