Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pitch for affordable and accessible healthcare through the system of ayurveda to usher in an ‘ayurveda revolution’ makes eminent sense especially because of the magnitude of healthcare challenges in the country and the inadequacy of allopathy to meet those adequately. There can be little doubt that the corporate sector needs to invest substantially in boosting ayurveda. The need for more extensive research into ayurvedic practices and medicines is the need of the hour and with the government alive to the imperative of promoting ayurveda, one would expect allout government support to any programmes for ayurveda development.
That the Prime Minister has inaugurated the country’s first All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) in New Delhi with a hospital attached to it on a campus area of 10 acres with a budget of Rs 157 crore is testimony to the serious intent of the Modi government to promote this traditional system of medicine. The Prime Minister has said that the government is working on establishing an ayurveda hospital in every district of the country. That may be a tall order but if the Modi government is determined, it can certainly achieve it. Modi’s observation that the world is heading “back to nature” and “wellness” and his suggestion to private players to use part of their CSR (corporate social responsibility) funds to help strengthen the field needs to be pursued seriously.
The hospital attached to the All India Institute of Ayurveda will, to start with, offer clinical services in the area of neurological and degenerative diseases, rheumatology and musculoskeletal care, diabetes and metabolic disorders and yoga. It will also house a panchakarma clinic, kriya kalpa , diabetes retinopathy clinic, among others. The indoor patients department has provision for 200 beds. The basic thrust of the system is to boost immunity. Many ayurveda practices reflect conventional wisdom and have been known to generations of families which have been practicing them faithfully.
What is needed today is to embellish them with some research which is meaningful and practical. That is a task in which a public-private partnership can work wonders. Besides ayurveda, there are answers to many seemingly intractable medical issues even in homoeopathy. It would be in the fitness of things if the research is extended to this form of traditional medicine too. India has had a rich heritage in the traditional systems which is waiting to be harnessed. Modi and his government would be doing a great service to the community if they resurrect the largely-unharnessed traditional forms and bring them in tune with modern requirements.