NATIONAL

More funds sought for AYUSH Ministry

Ram Gopal Yadav

Ram Gopal Yadav  

Traditional medicine finds support

Rajya Sabha members on Monday sought more funding for the Ayush Ministry, better regulatory mechanisms, quality education and research infrastructure to promote traditional systems of medicine in the country.

Initiating the discussion, Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav said the government allocated about Rs. 53,000 crore for the Health Ministry and Rs. 1,686 crore for the Ayush Ministry previously, whereas the Standing Committee had recommended an increase.

Mr. Yadav suggested setting up of an entrance test on the lines of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for the induction of students in traditional medicine courses.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said the first three years of curriculum in all medical colleges should include traditional medicine. Raising the issues of manpower, research, quality of drugs and education, he said: “In 2015, the Nobel Prize in Medicine went to a Chinese lady for a Chinese system of medicine for treating malaria...15 years from now, why can’t an Indian Ayurveda doctor or an Indian practitioner of AYUSH get a Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering some drug that will affect millions of lives?”

He said there were 12 lakh MBBS doctors and 8 lakh AYUSH-registered practitioners. In Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana, the number of AYUSH practitioners was higher than that of MBBS doctors. However, Mr. Ramesh said, according to a journal, 80% of Ayurvedic doctors ended up practising Allopathy. He also spoke on spurious drugs, seeking tightening of regulatory and licensing systems. The Congress leader termed the export of medicinal plants a crime, stating that India should be exporting finished products.

Member R. K. Selvaraj sought measures for encouraging the Siddha system, while Shantanu Sen expressed concern over people being forced to go to the private sector for treatment.

The Biju Janata Dal’s Amar Patnaik demanded an ‘Ayush university’ in Puri. Manoj Kumar Jha (RJD) highlighted the issue of unchecked online sale of drugs, and the Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut asked for at least Rs. 10,000 crore for the Ministry.

Among the participants were Satyanarayan Jatiya, K.J. Alphons, Madhusudan Mistry, Viplove Thakur, Vijila Sathyananth, Ashok Siddharth and K. Somaprasad.

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