New Delhi: After Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Naturopathy) practitioners to pitch in to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of AYUSH has received over 2,000 proposals in less than 15 days — all giving suggestions on how India could fight the highly infectious disease.
On 28 March, PM Modi had praised the efforts of the ministry, while interacting with AYUSH practitioners through a video conference, and suggested that AYUSH medicine producers could utilise their resources to manufacture essential items such as sanitisers.
Following this, the ministry had issued a notification on 31 March, asking AYUSH practitioners and institutions to submit their inputs, which will be reviewed by a task force consisting of representatives from the department of biotechnology (DBT), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and AYUSH practitioners.
“So far, the ministry has received around 1,300 proposals under Ayurveda, followed by 700 under homoeopathy, and 100 each for Unani and Siddha,” a senior official at the ministry told ThePrint.
“Under the task force, the working group will be screening the proposals and then recommend the chosen one to the central government,” added the official, who did not wish to be identified.
Inputs received over phone, emails
According to the ministry’s notification they have been “receiving numerous suggestions from practitioners and institutions in the AYUSH sector regarding possible solutions from AYUSH disciplines to restrain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic”.
“Such inputs have been received over phone, emails and social media in large numbers in the last two weeks,” the notification added.
The ministry has divided the categories of proposals into Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and homoeopathy — everything that the AYUSH stands for.
PM’s praise for AYUSH practitioners
In January, the ministry had issued an advisory for the “prevention” of infection from the novel coronavirus using homoeopathy and “symptomatic management” using Unani medicines.
The advisory had drawn sharp criticism. The AYUSH ministry has come under repeated criticism for propounding pseudoscientific medicines as alternative medicines.
However, PM Modi last month encouraged the ministry and AYUSH practitioners and said “it is important to create awareness on India’s traditional medicines and medical practices all over the world”.
He also urged the AYUSH practitioners to utilise the platform of telemedicine to reach out to the people and generate constant awareness to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
Modi also thanked those involved in the practice of alternative medicines “for constantly striving to serve the people and highlighted the important role they have to play in India’s fight against Covid-19”.