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The Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy (External website that opens in a new window) (ISM&H) were given an independent identity in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 1995 by creating a separate Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (External website that opens in a new window) (AYUSH) in November 2003. The department is entrusted with the responsibility of developing and propagating officially recognised systems, namely, Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy Siddha, Unani, and Homoeopathy. This was done in explicit realisation of contributions these ancient and holistic systems can make towards the health care of the people. These systems have marked superiority in addressing chronic conditions and offer a package of promotive and preventive interventions.

Encouragement to scientific research and education, laying down pharmacopoeial standards to ensure quality drugs, evolving good laboratory practices, following good manufacturing practices, regulating education standards, supplementing the efforts of State Governments in setting up specialty clinics of AYUSH in allopathic hospitals and AYUSH wing in District Allopathic hospitals, creating awareness through organisation of Health Melas and other information, education and communication means, are just some of the ways in which the department is helping in the growth and wider reach of Indian Systems of medicine and Homoeopathy.

The Central Acts are in place to regulate education and practice, manufacture of drugs for sale and enforcement mechanism. Ayurveda, Siddha Unani and Homoeopathy drugs are covered under the purview of Drugs and Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 (File referring to external site opens in a new window) . Since most of the medicines of AYUSH sector are made from medicinal plant materials, the Department has set up a National Medicinal Plants Board to promote cultivation of medicinal plants and ensure sustained availability of quality raw material. A separate National Policy on Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy is in place since 2002.

The infrastructure under AYUSH sector consists of 1355 hospitals with 53296 bed capacity, 22635 dispensaries, 450 Undergraduate colleges, 99 colleges having Post Graduate Departments, 9,493 licensed manufacturing units and 7.18 lakh registered practitioners of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy in the country.

Budget: An outlay of Rs.775 crore has been allocated for the Department during the Tenth Five-year Plan. The Plan allocation for 2006-07 is Rs.381.60 crore.

The Department has three subordinate offices, one public sector undertaking, two statutory organisations, four research councils, eight educational institutions and a national Medicinal plant board (with 35 State/ UT level boards) under its administrative fold.

Subordinate Offices

Pharmacopoeial Laboratory for Indian Medicine (PLIM)

The Laboratory was established in the year 1970 as Standard Setting-cum-Drug-Testing Laboratory for Indian Medicine (Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha System) at the National level. The laboratory is also the identified appellate lab for drug testing and quality control. The worked out standards, in the form of monographs are published in Ayurvedic, Unani and Siddha Pharmacopoeia of India.

Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeial Laboratory (HPL)

Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeial Laboratory, Ghaziabad similarly has been set up as a national laboratory for the purpose of laying down standards and testing for identity, purity and quality of Homoeopathic Medicines. The laboratory is also assigned functions of Central Drug Laboratory for testing of Homoeopathic medicines under Rule 3A of the Drugs & Cosmetics Act. Standards worked out by the laboratory are published in the form of Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of India (HPI).

Ayurved Hospital, Lodhi Road, New Delhi

The Ayurved Hospital established in 1978, provides general Ayurvedic treatment as well as specialised therapies such as Panchkarma and Kshar Sutra.

Public Sector Undertaking

Indian Medicine Pharmaceutical Corporation (IMPCL)

Indian Medicines Pharmaceutical Corporation Ltd. (IMPCL) is a Central Public Sector Undertaking, established in 1978 at Mohan, Distt. Almora, Uttarakhand, with the prime objective of manufacturing authentic Ayurvedic and Unani medicines according to classical texts for catering to the needs of dispensaries of Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS), Units of Central Research Councils of Ayurveda and Unani, and state government institutions. This unit has the certificate of Good Manufacturing Practices. The Company manufactures over 300 Ayurvedic and Unani drugs. In the year 2005-06 IMPCL has attained a record sale of Rs.8.42 crore.

Statutory Regulatory Councils

The Central Council of Indian Medicine (External website that opens in a new window) (CCIM) and the Central Council for Homoeopathy(External website that opens in a new window) (CCH) were set up under the Acts of Parliament. Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani systems are within the ambit of the Central Council of Indian Medicine, and Homoeopathy is under the Central Council for Homoeopathy. These councils prescribe course curricula, evolve and maintain standards of education and maintain central registers of practitioners of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy respectively. Their main responsibilities are to regulate education and practice of respective systems of medicine and advice Government regarding education. With the amendment to Central Councils' Acts the Central Government has taken over the powers to grant permission for opening of new colleges, starting of new or higher courses of study and increase of admission capacity. The proposal of establishing independent council for regulating pharmacy education of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy is under active consideration of the Central Government.

Research Councils

There are four apex research councils, namely, Central Council for Researchin Ayurveda and Siddha(External website that opens in a new window) (CCRAS), Central Council for Research in Unani Medicines (External website that opens in a new window) (CCRUM), Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (External website that opens in a new window) (CCRH) and Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy(External website that opens in a new window) (CCRYN). Research and Development activities related to AYUSH are being implemented under intramural and extramural research programmes of these Councils. These councils are engaged in conducting clinical research in Health Care, Drug Research, Survey and Cultivation of Medicinal Plants, Pharmacognosy, Phyto-chemistry, Pharmacology, Toxicology, Drug Standardisation, Literary Research for revival of the ancient classical literature. A Unani OPD cum speciality clinic and a Yoga lifestyle center are functioning at Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, New Delhi. Similarly, Ayurveda and Homoeopathy clinics are functioning in Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi.

National Institutes

Eight apex educational institutions are established to promote excellence in Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy education. Of each system there is a national institute viz.- National Institute of Ayurveda, Jaipur (External website that opens in a new window); National Institute of Siddha, Chennai; National Institute of Unani Medicines, Bangalore (External website that opens in a new window); Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, New Delhi; National Institute of Naturopathy, Pune(External website that opens in a new window) and National Institute of Homoeopathy, Kolkata (External website that opens in a new window). The Rashtriya Ayurveda Vidyapeeth at New Delhi (External website that opens in a new window) has been established.

Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on: 29-04-2011