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AYUSH Ministry will work to raise awareness and spread knowledge of the rewards associated with practising yoga: Sarbananda Sonowal

Union Minister for AYUSH speaks to The Hindu about Yoga Day, recommending yoga for school and college students and the blueprint for standardisation of AYUSH medical interventions and drugs.

Union Minister for AYUSH speaks to The Hindu about Yoga Day, recommending yoga for school and college students and the blueprint for standardisation of AYUSH medical interventions and drugs.

What is the programme that the Ministry is planning ahead of Yoga Day for India and the international community? Which countries have we tied up with for this initiative?

In marking 75 years of India’s Independence and celebration of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the Ministry of AYUSH has decided to observe the countdown to the International Day of Yoga (IDY) 2022 from the 100th day backwards which started from March 13. During this period, every day a Yoga Mahotsav will be observed in a designated city on each day. Till June 21, 100 cities across India will celebrate this festival of health and wellness.

The Ministry will leverage its reach through social media platforms. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s MyGov platform will launch citizen–centric awareness building and engaging activities and the AYUSH Ministry will work to raise awareness and spread knowledge of the rewards associated with practising Yoga.

We are tying up with various industry bodies/associations like ASSOCHAM, FICCI, CII, PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry along with premier yoga organisations and institutes to observe the International Day of Yoga. The Ministry will coordinate with the missions abroad through the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) to make it a grand event across the globe.

Will yoga be made compulsory in schools and as part of training for allopathic undergraduates?

The Ministry has requested the National Medical Commission (NMC), the National Commission for Homoeopathy (NCH) and the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (NCISM) to introduce yoga in their curriculum.

Under the Centrally sponsored scheme of Samagra Shiksha, realising the need for holistic development of children, sports and physical education component has been introduced for encouragement of sports, physical activities, yoga, co-curricular activities etc. Further, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has made health and physical education compulsory in all classes from I-XII.

It has been advised to schools that health and physical education includes three areas i.e. health education, physical education and yoga and all three areas are essential to achieve holistic health (physical, mental, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual).

The National Curriculum Framework (NCF) recommended yoga as an integral part of health and physical education. The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has already developed integrated syllabi on health and physical education from Class I to Class X.

What is the future plan in terms of standardisation of medicines and therapies so that they can be shared with the national and international community?

The Central appellate laboratories for ayurveda, siddha, unani and homeopathy drugs, namely, Pharmacopoieal Laboratory of Indian Medicine and Homoeopathy Pharmacopoeial Laboratory (PLIM and HPL) were merged into the Pharmacopoiea Commission of Indian Medicine and Homoeopathy (PCIMH) in 2020-2021 with a vision to optimise the use of infrastructural facilities, technical manpower and financial resources of the three for enhancing the standardisation outcomes of ayurveda, siddha, unani and homoeopathy drugs towards their effective regulation and quality control.

This merger will facilitate focused and cohesive development of the standards of the AYUSH drugs and publication of pharmacopoeias and formularies.

The standards of identity, purity and strength of ayurvedic, siddha, unani and homoeopathic drugs are developed by the respective Pharmacopoeia Committees working under the purview of the Pharmacopoeial Commission of Indian Medicine and Homoeopathy (PCIM&H).

Permissible limits of heavy metals, pesticide residue, aflatoxins & microbial load and the standard operating procedures for the manufacturing of ayurvedic, siddha, unani and homoeopathic medicines are also given in the pharmacopoeias and the formularies. These pharmacopoeias and the formularies are published by the Central government and are included in the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 as the authoritative books for the purpose of quality control.

To maintain the authentic samples of the drugs mentioned in the ASU&H Pharmacopoeias, the PCIM&H has also begun the upgradation of the existing herbal gardens in the premises with financial assistance from the NMPB.

So far the government has published Ayurvedic Formulary of India (Part I-III) containing 986 formulations, Siddha Formulary of India (Part I-II) containing 400 formulations and National Formulary of Unani Medicine (Vol. I-VI) containing 1,230 formulations. Monographs of quality standards of 645 single drugs and 203 formulations of ayurveda; 139 single drugs and 1 formulation of siddha; 298 single drugs and 201 formulations of unani; and 1,117 drugs of homoeopathy (Vol. I-X).

Further, the Ministry is also implementing the new Central Sector Scheme for Ayush Oushadhi Gunavatta evam Uttpadan Samvardhan Yojana with a financial outlay of ₹122 cr. for 2021-2026. One of the components of the scheme is to support development of standards and accreditation/certification of AYUSH products and materials in collaboration with relevant scientific institutions and industrial R&D centres.

It is observed that while these indigenous standards for some parametres differ with each other and for the export of herbs/herbal products, each country of import demands different standards. The Ministry, with a vision to initiate, coordinate, monitor and rationalise the exercising of standardisation of pharmacopoeias, has initiated and working on the concept of “ONE HERB ONE STANDARD”.

Recently, the PCIM&H has entered into an MoU with the American Herbal Pharmacopeia, USA, to promote the export of ayurvedic medicines and create awareness about ayurveda and other Indian systems of medicine amongst the international community. The first phase of monograph development on international standard has already been initiated.


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