The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill, 2020, by voice vote.
Introduced by the Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the Bill seeks to merge three Ayurveda institutes, namely
- the Institute of Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Jamnagar;
- Shree Gulabkunverba Ayurved Mahavidyalaya, Jamnagar; and
- the Indian Institute of Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Sciences, Jamnagar;
into one institution of National Importance. The proposed Institute that will go by the name Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, will be situated in the campus of Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar.
The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on March 19, 2020, during this year's Budget Session.
All the Members of the House acknowledged the importance of Ayurveda system of medicine and stressed on the long due need to boost the field. However, many MPs criticized the Government for focusing only on the state of Gujarat and neglecting other states that are rich in traditional medicines.
In this context, AITC MP Santanu Sen and CPI(M) MP KK Rajesh drew the Government's attention towards the resources and potential in the states of West Bengal and Kerala, respectively.
JD(U) MP RCP Singh suggested that the Government should constitute a High Power Committee to strengthen the Ayurveda system and further establish National Institutes of Ayurveda in each state. Some members, though supported the Bill, urged the Government to either bring separate legislations or include within this Bill, the medicinal systems of Siddha, Unani, Naturopathy, etc.
Inter alia, the members questioned the Government as to what were the parameters followed by it to confer the status of 'National Importance' on an institution, and sought the criteria for choosing the Jamnagar institutions for the same.
Responding to the debate, Dr. Harsh Vardan clarified that the Institutes in Jamnagar were not chosen arbitrarily but because they were the best ones in the country. He informed the House that these institutions were the oldest in India, set up in 1956 and have signed 30 MoUs with different countries.
He assured that this only a 'humble beginning' and that all the other institutions will also be developed by the Government. "The Ministry of Ayush has initiated steps to grant Deemed University status under de novo category to all National Institutes. The Government has approved Rs. 4,000 crore for cultivation of medicinal plants and support farmers," he said.
The Bill will now be presented before the President for his assent.
Composition of the Institute
The Bill provides that the Institute will consist of the following 15 members:
- Minister of AYUSH
- Secretary and technical head of Ayurveda, Ministry of AYUSH
- Secretary, department of health, government of Gujarat
- Director of the Institute
- Director-General, Central Council for Research in Ayurveda
- Three experts in Ayurveda with expertise in education, industry and research
- Three Members of Parliament.
Functions of the Institute
The Institution will be responsible to prescribe curricula and provide for teaching in Ayurveda at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It will also provide facilities for research in the various branches of Ayurveda and maintain well-equipped colleges and hospitals for Ayurveda supporting staffs such as nurses and pharmacists.