Eighteen new Ayurveda colleges have received the Centre’s nod this year, against permission for only one such institution in the last three years as government seeks to promote traditional forms of treatment and integrate them into the existing health care system.
Seven of these new colleges will come up in Uttar Pradesh followed by three in Maharashtra, two in Rajasthan besides six others in as many states. The ministry is in charge of Ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy. The approval has come this year and has been given against proposals for setting up 39 new Ayurveda institutions. Permission was granted to only one college last year against proposals for 30 new colleges the previous government had received. No permission was given in 2011 and 2012.
There are currently 281 Ayurveda colleges in the country offering 15,057 graduate and 3,081 post-graduate seats. Pitching for integration of Ayurveda, yoga and other traditional forms of treatment in the existing health care system, a committee set up by the BJP government to promote “holistic health” had recommended reforms in medical education, research and legal framework.
Noting that Ayush infrastructure is far from satisfactory besides the industry being poorly regulated, the government had notified National Ayush Mission (NAM) in September this year, laying down a detailed road map to shore it up. NAM aims to improve Ayush education and provide better access to its service through increase in number of Ayush hospitals and dispensaries, besides offering quality drugs by increasing pharmacies, drug laboratories and “improved enforcement mechanism”. On one hand many Ayush education centres are in poor shape and on the other, lack of quality control often makes people suspect the practitioners and quality of drugs they provide. The Centre is also in talks with states to improve legislative framework to regulate Ayush practitioners and drugs.