Push for Ayurveda, Unani and other alternative systems of medicine

They have been brought into the mainstream through the National Health Mission; but funds allocation not high

By Jyotsna Singh
Published: Thursday 28 February 2013

The Budget has given a push to alternative systems of medicine. It has allotted Rs 1,069 crore to the Department of AYUSH under the ministry of health and family welfare. The systems of medicine of Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy come under the department. The finance minister proposed them to be brought to mainstream through the National Health Mission, which includes rural as well as urban health missions.

Last year the department received a total plan outlay of Rs 990 crore.

As the overall budget allocation for health has not seen any significant change, the alternate forms of medicine also did not get much in their kitty.

"We expected funds for development of infrastructure and open new medical colleges focussed on AYUSH," said an official from the department. He said AYUSH assumes more importance in rural parts. As people in rural India are not used to certain procedures of modern medicine, they prefer alternative forms of medicine.

"It is common to find people scared of injections and asking for alternatives," he said. A 2011 report by the department showed that 75 per cent of AYUSH exist in private sector and the department has been asking for increased public sector spending.

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