Several of the research works are being halted due to lack of timely funding and periodical reviews by the review committee of the department of Ayush, says one research scholar and ethno-pharmacologist, whose scientific study on a traditional metallic anti-cancer drug has been halted for the last two years.
The drug is claimed to be effective for treating skin cancer, according to Dr Arul Amuthan of Melaka Manipal Medical College in Karnataka, who began the study about ten years ago.
Talking to Pharmabiz about the problems faced by the researchers, Dr Amuthan said that in India the research grant is being channelized to the researchers through the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Department of Science and Technology (DST), AICTE, UGC, ICMR and Ayush. Other than Ayush, all other funding agencies have their own online proposal submission system by which any Indian research scholar can submit his/her proposals at any time of the year. The review committee reviews the proposals periodically and releases the grant for selected proposals. There is no deadline for submitting proposals also.
Whereas, in the case of Ayush, no system of online submission of proposals has been made so far. According to Ayush Ministry’s revised Extra Mural Research (EMR) scheme, the proposals received within a period of one year is reviewed quarterly (in March, June, September and December) by the review committee and approve proposals for grant of funds. This sluggish move of the Ayush ministry not only halts the scientific studies, but also discourages researchers to undertake new projects, he alleged.
During 2015, the four central councils have called for proposals for the first quarter hopefully to release the fund in the month of March. But till now, the first quarter review process was not completed and no fund was granted to any of the applicants, said Dr Amuthan.
He said the Central Councils have no interest to conduct the review process periodically and support research work. The victims of this lackadaisical attitude of Ayush are those who are waiting for approval for researches. So, government should expedite the review of proposals and set up online proposal submission system with tracking facility, he told Pharmabiz.
The department of Ayush has four research councils such as Central Council of Research in Ayurveda Sciences (CCRAS), Central Council of Research in Yoga and Naturopathy (CCRYN), Central Council of Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM) and Central Council of Research in Siddha (CCRS) to handle the researches in the respective medical systems.