The Union Cabinet has approved amendments to a homoeopathy bill, which itself will amend a decades-old piece of legislation creating a homoeopathic council analogous to the Medical Council of India to regulate the practice in India.
Systems of alternative and traditional medicine, such as homoeopathy, have been gaining popularity in India in recent years and have been promoted by the BJP-led government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Prime Minister chaired the Union Cabinet meeting where the approval of the amendments to the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019 took place.
The National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019 will amend the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973, with Union Minister Prakash Javdekar telling the media “the commission will promote availability of affordable homoeopathy healthcare services in all parts of the country.”
According to a Reuters media release, “the amendments will ensure necessary regulatory reforms in the field of homoeopathy education and enable transparency and accountability for protecting the interest of the general public.”
It was reported in 2018 that a fifty percent rise in patients seeking homoeopathic treatment had been observed in the preceding five years. However, alternative systems of medicine such as homoeopathy and others that fall under the umbrella of AYUSH (Ayurveda, yoga, unani, naturopathy, and siddha) are controversial and their efficacy and validity are frequently disputed by medical professionals.
This has not halted their promotion by the Centre. AYUSH Minister Shripad Yesso Naik has asserted that “it is our endeavour to ensure that AYUSH schemes reach the doorstep of every home,” and numerous facilities such as a state-of-the-art homoeopathy lab have been inaugurated in recent years. The Government’s push has extended abroad, with Prime Minister Modi going so far as to promote alternative medicine systems embraced in India at last year’s G20 summit. As such, it is understandable as to why the continued push for alternative medicine is being accompanied by deliberations over legislation and regulations – as the homoeopathy bill exemplifies.
The National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019 is being deliberated in the Rajya Sabha.