Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed two bills that seek to provide for quality medical education system in homoeopathy and promote Indian systems of medicines. The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2019 and the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019 were passed in the Upper House by voice vote.
The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha on January 7, 2019. Later, it was sent to a standing committee, which submitted its report in November.
The proposed legislation seeks to repeal the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970 and provides for a medical education system to ensure availability of quality medical professionals of Indian System of Medicine, and adoption of the latest medical research, among other objectives.
Another key feature of the bill is setting up a National Commission for Indian System of Medicine.
The second legislation, the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, too was introduced in January in the Upper House.
It seeks to repeal the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973.
It too proposes to constitute a National Commission for Homoeopathy. It is proposed that the Commission, among things, will frame policies for regulating medical institutions and homoeopathic medical professionals, and assess requirements of healthcare-related human resources and infrastructure.
Minister of State for Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) Shripad Yesso Naik said the passage of the two bills will help the government to strengthen homoeopathy and other Indian medical system streams in the country.
He said the such medical systems were not only popular in India but are also gaining foothold across the world. Naik said that a separate bill will be brought in for yoga and naturopathy.
Earlier several members while supporting the two bills had raised objection over non-inclusion of yoga and naturopathy in it.
Some members also complained that the government has not included in the bills several suggestions made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health.
Starting the debate on the bills, Ram Gopal Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, who is also the chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare, said several suggestions such as inclusion of yoga and naturopathy was ignored by the government while drafting the bills.
According to Yadav, the committee had also asked for provision to have one member each from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in the governing boards.
The parliamentary panel had also asked to have a provision of an appellate tribunal in the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2019 and the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019, which was not accepted.
Amar Patnaik of the BJD that the bills lack vision on several aspects, including scientific research in the field. Kahkashan Perween of the JDU supported the bill, but raised the issue of exclusion of naturopathy and yoga.
She also raised the issue of budgetary constraints of the traditional medicine system.
Banda Prakash of the TRS said that major recommendation of the committee are missing in the bill and it should have more representation from the states.
“Our PM himself is an international brand ambassador of yoga and this bill has left out yoga,” Prakash said. K Somaprasad of the CPI(M) also demanded inclusion of yoga and naturopathy. He also raised provisions of outsourcing of inspection in the bill, saying that it would lead to malpractices.
P Wilson of the DMK opposed the two bills saying that the proposed commissions would be manned by bureaucrats and professionals would have very minuscule say. The bills should be sent back to the standing committee, Wilson said.
He said the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill recognises only Sanskrit as the traditional Indian language and not Tamil, which is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.
V Vijayasai Reddy of the YSRCP termed exclusion of yoga and naturopathy as “unfortunate” and said that the system would not have uniform accreditation system of all professionals.
Supporting the bills, Sudhanshu Trivedi of the BJP said research standardisation was not available, hence, it was not included in the bills.
Participating in the debate, Binoy Viswam of the CPI demanded that only knowledgeable and skilled people should be included in the proposed commissions for homoeopathy and Indian System of Medicine, saying there should not be any compromise on it.
“Rajya Sabha itself is becoming a place for people who are saying ‘yes’ to the government. We are seeing it. Until six months ago, a scar on the face of the judiciary was such kinds of dominations. But now all of a sudden such kind of people are coming in as nominated and well dignified and glorified members. That should not be a practice,” he said, in an oblique reference to the nomination of former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to Rajya Sabha.
“The government may have some interest in politics, may have some friends and they may have something to do for them…but any commission,…Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha should not be a place for recruiting and pushing in this kind of people,” he said.
Retired Lt General D P Vats of the BJP, a former head of Armed Forces Medical College, said ancient system of medicine was valuable and natural ingredients like amla, ginger, basil, could boost immunity.
He said COVID 19 has been declared a pandemic and retroviral allopathy therapy is for high-risk cases.
“Under this situation, if you are infected with coronavirus, 50 per cent will not show symptoms, 23 per cent will have mild symptoms,” he said, adding traditional medicines and ayurveda besides ingredients like ginger can boost immunity.
Vandana Chouhan of the NCP said research should be promoted, while Manoj Kumar Jha of the RJD and Ashok Siddharth of the BSP demanded inclusion of yoga and naturopathy in the Indian System of Medicine.
Sushil Kumar Gupta of the AAP said there should be representation of members from Union Territory in the commission.
Jairam Ramesh of the Congress demanded an integrated system of medicine and said by bringing these two bills instead of integrating medical system, the government was disintegrating it.