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India to have exclusive drug control department for Ayurveda

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The Government will set up an exclusive drug control department to facilitate R&D, monitor quality control and standardise the manufacturing of medicinal products of Ayurveda and other traditional Indian treatment systems, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan announced.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Arogya Expo organised alongside the 6th World Ayurveda Congress at Pragati Maidan, the Minister said under the newly created AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) Mission the Centre would provide funding support to states wanting to set up manufacturing facilities and create manpower for the traditional medicine industry.

“The chief objective of the mission is to encourage integration of Ayush with modern medicine and create a holistic healthcare system that can be emulated globally and which will achieve the universal goal of Health for All,” he said. “Ayurveda is not just a matter of sentiment for us. We work with scientific minds and this government is aggressively focused on research.”

The Arogya Expo which will continue until November 9 features 400 stalls set up by leading traditional medicine manufacturers from around the country. It also has 20 specialty clinics offering free consultation and medicines to visitors.

The sixth edition of the World Ayurveda Congress, which will be inaugurated tomorrow (Friday) by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, has ‘Ayurveda and Health Challenges’ as its focal theme. It is being organised by the Department of AYUSH, in collaboration with the World Ayurveda Foundation and the Delhi Government.

The inaugural function was attended by dignitaries including Nilanjan Sanyal, Secretary, Ayush; Dr Mrinalini, Special Secretary, Delhi Government; Vijay Bhatkar, President, Vijnana Bharati; Dr P V Appaji Rao, Director General, Pharmexcil and industry leaders including Anand Burman, Chairman, Dabur; Anurag Sharma, MD, Baidyanath; Dr P M Varier, Superintendent, AVS Kottakkal; Ranjit Puranik, MD Dhootapapeshar and Dr Sajikumar, MD, Dhatri. Dr Chandrakath Bhanushali, Chairman, Arogya Expo and Dr Tanuja Gokhale, Convenor, also spoke.

Dr Harsh Vardhan said the government, which has allocated Rs 5,000 crore to the Ayush Mission in 12th five-year plan, is keen to partner with states in creating state-of-the-art research and development facilities, drug testing laboratories and herbal gardens that will help meet growing industry and market demand for quality raw material and products.

There is growing acceptability for Ayurveda globally and several nations have shown interest in partnering India to popularise it locally, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “The government has signed MoUs with several countries. We already have an all-expenses-paid seat reservation scheme for students from South East Asian countries wanting to study at our Ayurveda colleges.”

Nilanjan Sanyal, Secretary, AYUSH, noted that one-third of the world’s population lacks access to healthcare. Ayurveda and other traditional systems have great potential to address this lacuna since they already meet the healthcare requirements of 80 per cent of the rural population in India.

However, these traditional medicinal products have to be validated scientifically for the practitioners to have credibility and patients to have confidence. “The challenges for Ayush are manifold; the industry is very dispersed with around 9,000 industrial units across the country, there is lack of infrastructure, there are quality variations in products from batch to batch, there is minimal R&D which impedes safety and quality trials.”

“If we can address these, ensure that good manufacturing practices are followed industry-wide and encourage large-scale cultivation of medicinal plants we can achieve a quantum leap in product quality,” he said.

The Aroga Expo is envisaged as a ‘health mela’ on traditional systems of medicine, at Hall No 18 of Pragati Maidan exhibition complex. An added attraction of the Expo is the participation of small-scale and tiny sectors in Ayurveda and the traditional vaidyas (healers) from the north-east.

Also, Ayurveda plants, such as Amla (gooseberry), aloe Vera, curry leaf, lemon grass, tulsi, Ajwain, hibiscus, ashwagandha, arjuna and rudraksh will be sold to the visitors at low prices.

The sixth edition of the WAC is the largest such event, with nearly 4,000 participants, including 200 international delegates from 24 countries. Seven Ayurveda Universities and 270 Ayurveda colleges are participating in the Congress.

EP News BureauMumbai

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