Mirroring the central model, the government of Kerala has formed a separate department for Ayush (Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) with a view to promote the use of Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM) and to implement various projects under Union government’s Ayush programmes.
Along with the inauguration of the new department, foundation stone was laid down for the head quarters building of the department.
With this, after Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, Kerala becomes the third state in the country to have separate department for Ayush systems. It will help the state to avail more funds through Central government schemes to implement various centrally sponsored projects.
While delivering the inaugural address, the state chief minister, Oommen Chandi said the government will provide enough financial support for the development of the department. He said the creation of the Ayush department will help largely for the growth of traditional medicines in Kerala, especially in the field of Ayurveda. The main objectives of the department include strengthening methods of treatment under ISM, develop standards of Ayush education by modernising hospitals and other healthcare institutions, develop infrastructure facilities for Ayush education, push up research activities in the sector, promote educational programmes under Indian systems of medicine, adopt measures to improve the quality of drugs and to increase the availability of raw drugs and medicinal plants.
Speaking at the ceremony, health minister, V S Sivakumar said government is planning to implement various schemes and programmes under Ayush such as ‘Ayush Gramam’, ‘Ayush Holistic Centre’, ‘Ayush Tribal Medical Centre’ and ‘Yoga Hall in Ayush Health Centres’. These projects will be implemented in village level , district level and in selected tribal colonies.
He further said, a separate department for drugs control administration for Ayush will be formed soon. Currently, the Ayush drugs control wing is working under the state drugs control department supervised by allopathic drugs controller. A health policy on Ayush is also in the pipeline, the minister said.
Welcoming the creation of the department, Dr VG Udaya Kumar, executive committee member from Kerala to the Central Council of Indian Medicines (CCIM) said the educational sector under ISM in Kerala will improve so much and acceptance of Ayurveda will increase largely. According to him, Kerala will become the capital of Ayurveda in the country, though it is the major hot-spot for ayurvedic treatments.
When Dr Udayakumar was the secretary of the Ayurveda Medical Association of India (AMAI), under his leadership a team of doctors representing various associations, met the central Ayush secretary and submitted a memorandum to the Union health ministry for support to the formation of a department in Kerala by the state government. AMAI had conducted several agitations and strikes in various parts of the state urging the government to set up a new department for Ayush. However, it took more than five years to realise this goal.
The state government took substantial interest to form the department after Sam Pitroda, chairman of the National Innovation Council (NIC) mentioned rejuvenation of Ayurveda sector in his ten-point growth agenda for Kerala three years ago.