13 June, 2021

Kashayam Is More Bitter

Zero standardisation, slow R&D, sub-par drugs... Ayurveda is ailing even after a ministry came up for it.

Photograph by Getty Images
Kashayam Is More Bitter

The balmy part first. Two-and-a-half years ago, the country was gifted a separate ministry dedicated to further develop and popularise ayurveda along with a few other indigenous medicinal systems. Thus came Ayush in November 2014 after the present government upgraded a department by the same name. This fiscal, that ministry’s budgetary allo­cation was raised by 8 per cent—to Rs 1,428.65 crore.

Now the flip side. For all the apparent boost, the new ministry’s media machines have failed to evoke sufficient public awareness and confidence in ayurvedic treatment to get people to use the services of its clinics in cities and villages. Notwithstanding its millennia-old history of healing, this ‘way of life’ remains the second or last alternative to allopathic treatment for most Indians. Why has the system that uses natural resources failed to satisfy even those who would rather not opt for allopathic treatment?

To a large extent, the blame goes to a lack of focused administrative atte­ntion and non-existence of an enabling policy...

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