AYUSH systems of healthcare represent an important resource for public health in India, owing to their roots running deep into our culture and tradition and the trust that the common people repose in them in different regions of the country. Their relevance is particularly significant in the management of lifestyle related chronic diseases and treatment of ailments of ageing citizens, both of which are growing health concerns of our country.
In the fifth year of its inception, the Ministry of AYUSH embarked on the drive to consolidate the gains made in the direction of popularizing the alternative system of medicine and prepare a robust and all encompassing structure for the same. The Ministry through the year 2019, continued its efforts to mainstream the AYUSH systems, and achieved considerable success in the same. These efforts covered seven broad areas of activity, namely, Improving Access to AYUSH Healthcare, Promoting AYUSH Research, AYUSH Education, AYUSH Drugs and related matters, Creation of Awareness, Efforts for Globalisation of AYUSH Systems, and Induction of IT into the AYUSH Sector.
Improving Access to AYUSH Healthcare:
The Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM) is the main vehicle for promoting access to AYUSH Healthcare. The scheme supports the efforts of State/UT Governments for the development of AYUSH sector. It has also been decided to operationalize 10% of the Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) of the Ayushman Bharat Scheme through the Ministry of AYUSH through State / UT Governments. In pursuance to this decision the Ministry has provided Grant-in-aid of Rs. 89.92 crore to 1,032 AYUSH Dispensaries under existing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of NAM to upgrade them as AYUSH Health and Wellness Centres. The Prime Minister launched 10 AYUSH HWCs in the State of Haryana on 30th August, 2019 through digital mode. These 1,032 AYUSH HWCs will make a significant impact in increasing the accessibility of AYUSH Healthcare to the public, even in far-flung areas of the country.
For inclusion of AYUSH insurance packages under Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY), the proposal of 19 Ayurveda, Siddha & Unani and 14 Yoga & Naturopathy treatment packages has been forwarded to National Health Authority (NHA).In order to mainstream AYUSH healthcare services with public health care co-location of AYUSH facilities at Primary Health Centres (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs) and District hospitals (DHs) are being implemented under NAM and National Health Mission (NHM) as well. Under mainstreaming of AYUSH component as on 30th June 2019, 7620 PHCs, 2758 CHCs and 495 DHs have been co-located with AYUSH facilities, thereby making AYUSH treatments available to the public in different parts of the country.
In order to energise secondary/tertiary health care through AYUSH, the Ministry of AYUSH is supporting the efforts of State/UT Governments for setting up of 50 bedded integrated AYUSH hospitals in the country. Ministry has provided financial assistance for setting up of 91 up-to 50 bedded integrated AYUSH hospitals including 6 such hospitals assisted in the current year. The Ministry of AYUSH has also assisted 48,050-hectare area of cultivation of medicinal plants in farmer’s land to reduce the pressure on forest and fulfil the demand of ASU& H industries. For this purpose, subsidy has been given to the 56,711 farmers under 1,544 clusters. The Ministry of AYUSH has also supported 190 nurseries throughout the country for distribution of quality planting material.
Approval has been granted for the establishment of the National Institute for Sowa-Rigpa in Leh is an important step in reviving the tradition of Sow Rigpa and making it accessible to larger sections of the population. Sowa-Rigpa is a Traditional Medical system of the Himalayan belt in India. It has been popularly practiced in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling (West Bengal), Himachal Pradesh and Union Territory of Ladakh. The setting up of the National Institute of Sowa-Rigpa will provide an impetus for the revival of Sowa-Rigpa in the entire Indian Sub-continent.
The Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY), Ministry of AYUSH in association with Prison Headquarters, Central Jail, Tihar, New Delhi conducted IDY Yoga Training at Tihar Jail for the observation of International Day of Yoga, 2019 where more than 16,000 Jail inmates received detailed Yoga Training based on the Common Yoga Protocol.
The National Institute of Naturopathy (NIN), Pune utilized the occasion of celebration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi to reach out to the public with Naturopathy therapies and practices which were close to the Mahatma’s heart. NIN has taken up a programme to conduct 150 Naturopathy Camps under the theme “NisargopacharMahaotsav”, which will be carried out across India for one year starting from 2nd October 2019. The first among these camps were conducted in Goa during 30th September to 2nd October, 2019 in which nearly 5000 people participated, and gained from Naturopathy treatment.
Promotion of Research Activities in the AYUSH Systems:
The Central Councils of Research dedicated to Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy, which are Autonomous Bodies making under the Ministry continued to be the mainstay of AYUSH Research. The Central Research Councils of Ayurveda, Unani, Homoeopathy and Siddha together validated 140 classical medicines for 70 conditions during this period, by generating evidence on clinical safety and efficacy. In a development with huge potential impact for future, the Scheme for Integrated Health Research (SIHR) has been drawn up in collaboration with NITI Aayog and Invest India (AGNI Platform). This will address the untapped potential of integration AYUSH Systems with modern medicine and addressing Public Health challenges through evidence based integrative practices. An outlay of Rs. 490 cr. is anticipated over two years for this project, which is expected to create a world-wide impact. A high impact Research project on introducing Ayurveda intervention in Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) in Public Health was operationalised in Primary Health Centres of Gadchiroli District of Maharashtra. This will have 10,000 expecting mothers as subjects, a huge sample size for a medical research project.
In this year, the AYUSH Minister Shri Shripad Yesso Naik, inaugurated National Research Institute of Unani Medicine for Skin Disorders, upgraded from the erstwhile Central Research Institute of Unani Medicine at Erragadda, Hyderabad. The Minister also inaugurated the Siddha Clinical Research Unit and Unani Medical Centre in Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi providing avenues for integrative medical research. The Ayurveda Palliative Care Unit at Palliative Care Centre at Base Hospital, Delhi Cantt., New Delhi is another promising institution that was launched this year. In a significant research activity, the Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy completed projects on studies on Brain Fever(Encephalitis) in endemic area of Guarakhpur and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever with successful outcomes during 2019.
The Ministry succeeded in steering the AYUSH education sector along a path of growth and modernisation during 2019. Comprehensive implementation of the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) for admission into Undergraduate Courses in all Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy Educational Institutions was an achievement that will have long-lasting impact on the quality of AYUSH education in the country.
The All India Post Graduate Entrance Test (AIPGET) for admission into Post Graduate Courses in Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy Post Graduate Institutions was streamlined held smoothly. It was conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA).Online Counseling including registration, allotment and reporting for minimum 15% all India quota seat of UG and PG courses were conducted by the Central Government for the first time in 2019, benefitting student-applicants to Government, Government aided and Private colleges, as well as Deemed Universities, Central Universities and National Institutes.
The process of granting permission to AYUSH educational institutions was streamlined, because of which this annual process was completed much earlier than previous years. The 10 National Institutes functioning under the Ministry of AYUSH are of special significance as they serve to set benchmarks for education in their respective disciplines. These National Institutes had an extremely productive year, and have come up with some significant achievements. The upgradation of National Institute of Ayurveda (NIA), Jaipur is under way, and procurement of 1.37 acres of land for building 2nd campus of NIA, Jaipur finalized. Simultaneously, the application for Deemed to be University status has also been submitted by the Institute to UGC.
The National Institute of Siddha (NIS), Chennai has taken some steps to promote and revive the ancient practice of Varmam. A National Conference on History of Varmam Science in Siddha system of medicine and exploring its therapeutic values was held in August 2019, with tremendous response from the public and doctors. Varmam is found effective for many neurological, degenerative and orthopedic conditions. NIS also compiled a “Text Book of Varmam Science” containing comprehensive information on Varmam practice. The Institute has also started a specialized OPD for Varmam. During 2019, 10 significant research projects on healthcare and disease conditions like chikungunya, psoriasis etc. have been launched by the different National Institutes.
AYUSH Drugs Policy and related matters:
The Regulation and Control of AYUSH Drugs, which is critical for ensuring safety and efficacy of AYUSH Drugs continued to be a focus area during the year. The important achievements in AYUSH Drugs Policy and related matters in 2019 were – A system for AYUSH Drug Control was formalized with the notifying 9 regulatory posts. This indicates the maturing of AYUSH Drug industry. India becomes one among the few countries to have specialized Drug Regulation for Traditional & Complementary Medicine; E-Aushadhi Portal for online license applications was strengthened by getting the State Licensing Authorities on-boarded. AYUSH Medicines were included in the Jan Aushadi scheme. Essential Drug List of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani & Homoeopathy was updated and revised.
The Central Sector Scheme of Pharmacovigilance for ASU&H drugs for safety monitoring of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy drugs and surveillance of misleading advertisements in the print and electronic media was intensified during the year. Grant-in-aid was sanctioned to establish a three tier network consisting of National Pharmacovigilance Co-ordination Centre (NPvCC), five Intermediary Pharmacovigilance Centres (IPvCs) and Peripheral Pharmacovigilance Centres (PPvCs). 63 PPvCs have been established under the five Intermediary and one National Centre. Reporting of adverse events caused due to consumption of ASU&H drugs started from January 2019 and nearly 250 cases of adverse effects of ASU&H drugs were reported in October 2019.
The Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H), Ghaziabad, an autonomous organization under the Ministry of AYUSH, continued its efforts to refine the AYUSH Pharmacopoeias. The pharmacopoeias are of special significance as they are official compendia of quality standards of the drugs imported, manufactured for sale, stocked or exhibited for sale or distributed in India. During 2019, PCIM&H released the following Pharmacopoeia Publications:
Unani: Released UPI, Part-II, Vol. IV containing monographs of 50 Unani formulations on Unani Day, 11th February 2019.
Homoeopathy: Homoeopathic Pharmaceutical Codex (e-copy) (45 drugs) has been released on Homoeopathy Day.
Pharmacopoeial Laboratory for Indian Medicine (PLIM) is another subordinate office of the Ministry of AYUSH which was active in strengthening and adding levels of sophistication to AYUSH practice. The major achievements of this laboratory during 2019 were:
Completed 4 (four) training programme regarding drug enforcement officials/ Drug Inspectors and Quality Control personnels in 2019-20.
Analysis of 40 SugandhitDravya submitted to APC in 2019-20.
Completed 2 (two) Survey tour for Medicinal Plant in 2019-20.
Participate 1 (one) National level Arogya Fair in Vasai (Mumbai) in August 2019.
Delegation from Bangladesh visited PLIM in August 2019.
Creation of awareness about AYUSH Systems:
Creating awareness about AYUSH systems among the public is an important mandate of the Ministry. One of the biggest achievements in this regard was the successful conduct of the International Day of Yoga (IDY) 2019 on 21st June 2019. The Ministry succeeded in converting IDY into a mass-movement by adopting a strategy of identifying hundreds of stake-holding institutions and collaborating with them. The celebration of 5thInternational Yoga Day (IDY) 2019 was muchbigger in scope and magnitude than in the past. The celebrations were spread not only in all States and Districts of India, but also across 150foreign countries. The main national event was held at the city of Ranchi,Jharkhand where Prime Minister performed Yoga along with nearly30,000 yoga sadhaks. Yoga Day events were held in many iconic locationsacross the world including the Opera House in Sydney, Eiffel Tower in Paris,the Washington Monument in Washington, the Cathedral of Brasilia in Brasilia, the Saolin Temple in China, the Dead Sea and the base of MountEverest in Nepal.
Nearly 100 Seminars and Workshops for the public were held in different parts of the country on preventive and promotive aspects of AYUSH Healthcare by the Ministry and its Autonomous Bodies. In addition, nearly 50 patient education camps were conducted by the AYUSH institutions of the Ministry. Similarly, ten major Expos or Exhibitions on AYUSH themes were also held.
The Ministry of AYUSH in collaboration with Amar Chitra Katha, Mumbai published comic book named PROFESSOR AYUSHMAN: Comic Book for Children on Medicinal Plants & their Medicinal values. Objective of the comic book is to increase Knowledge and awareness about medicinal Plants, identifying different types of Medicinal plants and their uses including growing them in gardens, encourage students to use herbs in food, popularize the uses of commonly available and frequently used herbal plants, conserve the associated traditional knowledge for future generations, in a fun and practical way.
Under the species specific campaign on Guduchi, called “Amrita for Life”11 projects were sanctioned on propagation of this plant which has immense ability to improve the immune system and the body resistance against infection.
Globalisation of AYUSH Systems:
The efforts to globalize the AYUSH Systems yielded notable success in 2019. At national & International levels many MoUs signed by the Ministry of AYUSH and Institutions and Councils working under the MoA. These MoUs signified the launch or intensification of joint efforts in research, education or other aspects of AYUSH Systems. The BIMSTEC nations with whom India shares excellent political and social equations have agreed to jointly set up a BIMSTEC University of Ayurveda and Traditional Medicine in India. On behalf of the Ministry of AYUSH, AIIA hosted the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) workshop on Traditional and Complementary Medicine on 22nd October 2019.
In another landmark development, the world’s two largest Traditional Medicine Administrations collaborated for the benefit of the people of the two countries by signing the MoU between India and China on 12th August 2019.
MoUs signed by the All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) during the year-2019 included – College of Medicine, UK on 18-20 April, 2019; MoU with Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, USA; Frankfurt Biotechnology Innovation Center, Frankfurt, Germany for research collaboration in the field of Ayurveda on 31st October, 2019; Western Sydney University (WSU), Australia on 21st November, 2019 at Ministry of AYUSH.
Induction of IT into AYUSH Sector:
During the year, the Ministry also took up a future-oriented initiative, namely, that of induction of IT into the AYUSH Sector. Named the AYUSH Grid Project, this envisages setting up an IT backbone covering all the silos of the sector. The PM had lauded the AYUSH Grid Project of the Ministry and underlined the need to harness Information Technology to bring about a transformation in the AYUSH Sector. The Ministry was able to implement many significant steps during this year in harnessing IT for transformation of the Sector. These include:
(i)The newly implemented AYUSH-Health Information System has been up-scaled to cover all the Units of the Central Research Councils.
(ii) An MoU with Ministry of Electronics &IT for comprehensive support in IT Projects was signed, and under it, BISAG Ahmedabad and NeGD New Delhi have started supporting the Ministry’s IT projects.
(iii) A Monitoring Dashboard broadly covering all activities of the Ministry has been set up.
(iv) Portals dedicated to IDY 2019 and Pharmacopia Commission.
(v) Standardised Terminologies for Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani systems, have been finalised, facilitating their future inclusion in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) of the WHO were codified. This would further pave the way for the globalisation of these systems.
(v) Launched Yogalocator mobile app to support the public in finding nearby locations for Yoga training,