155 New AYUSH Colleges Since 2016, Many May Not Be Following Govt Norms
Uttar Pradesh, one of the most backward states in terms of healthcare, has got the most number of new AYUSH colleges.
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New Delhi: Between 2016 and 2019, 155 new AYUSH colleges started in India. Ayurveda got the most number of new colleges at 105. Thirty nine new homoepathy colleges, nine new Unani colleges and two new colleges for Siddha have also opened.
AYUSH stands for Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy. The NDA government carved out the separate ministry in 2014.
But a report in Business Standard last year said that the AYUSH ministry has skirted rules, ignoring the Central Council for Indian Medicine, and allowed the opening of 138 Ayurveda colleges all the same.
The information on new AYUSH colleges was submitted in parliament during this ongoing session.
While the AYUSH ministry has been granting approvals for several new colleges for traditional medicine, news reports have raised doubts about how robust these intuitions actually are.
In 2017, the government said in parliament that it was “not aware of any AYUSH college that does not fulfil the requisite criteria having been granted recognition”.
In 2018, the government told parliament it was no longer receiving fresh applications for new AYUSH colleges for the years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 because it was working on more “transparency and improvement in the quality of AYUSH education.”
UP gets most AYUSH colleges
The new AYUSH colleges have mostly been concentrated in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Uttar Pradesh, one of the most backward states in terms of healthcare, has got the most number of AYUSH colleges, with 43 new ones. Gujarat has got 32, Karnataka 18 and Maharashtra 16 new AYUSH colleges.
40 more proposals for new AYUSH colleges are awaiting the government’s approval.
AYUSH colleges are approved by the ministry only after they fulfill minimum standard requirements such as having the required number of staff. Those interested in setting up AYUSH colleges have to do so under regulations listed in the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970 and a similar act for homeopathy.
AYUSH ministry ignores poor conditions of some Ayurveda colleges
A report in Business Standard last year detailed how the AYUSH ministry ignored the findings of the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) which found at least 138 Ayurveda colleges to be unfit to run undergraduate or post graduate courses. Some of these were new colleges, and some were already existing.
The CCIM had said some of them were “totally non functional with no staff, no patients and locked OPDs” and that they had “serious short comings.” Many were found lacking in teachers, infrastructure, equipment and other staff mandated as bare minimum by law.
But the AYUSH ministry overruled this and approved the colleges anyway.
These adverse findings about these colleges were made by experts associated with the CCIM who carry out physical inspections of colleges much like the Medical Council of India does for allopathic colleges.
While ignoring the findings of these experts, the AYUSH ministry instead went by mere claims made by colleges themselves. While approving the colleges, the ministry said that it had been done by the “competent authority.”
In 2017, a parliamentary standing committee on health said that their attention has been “drawn to the poor quality of education imparted in educational institutions of AYUSH.”