AIIMS to Establish AYUSH Academic Departments Across India: Secretary Rajesh Kotecha | Exclusive – News18

AIIMS to Establish AYUSH Academic Departments Across India: Secretary Rajesh Kotecha |  Exclusive - News18

India will integrate AYUSH academic departments with All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) across the country, bringing together conventional and traditional medicine education in public medical colleges.

In an exclusive interview with News18, Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary of the Ministry of AYUSH, said that the AIIMS hospital chain will now establish an academic department of the AYUSH treatment system. AYUSH stands for Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Naturopathy, Siddha, SowaRigpa and Homeopathy.

Kotecha, who spoke to News18 on the sidelines of the WHO Global Traditional Medicines (GCTM) Summit in Gandhinagar Gujarat, said that India is also working on creating a mechanism to claim patents on traditional medicines.

“It’s hard to claim patents on natural products. This is the reason why we haven’t been able to claim many patents despite some innovations. Hence, we formed a committee chaired by the secretary of the Department of Domestic Industry and Trade Development (DPIIT). The panel is working to find a solution.”

In April 2022, WHO launched its first project, the Global Center for Traditional Medicine (GCTM) in Jamnagar Gujarat. The center was officially launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Why WHO Choose India to Open GCTM?

When asked what made WHO choose India to open GCTM, the first UN outpost to open outside a developed country, Kotecha listed several reasons.

Firstly, he said, the political will and constant accompaniment of Prime Minister Modi had played an important role. “India is one of the few countries where we have separate ministries for medicine and alternative therapies,” he said referring to the Ministry of AYUSH which was established in 2014.


“Moreover, the budget allocation for ministries also grows from year to year. In 2014, the budget allocation amounted to Rs 691 crore which increases to Rs 3,640 crore in 2023-2024 – roughly a fivefold increase.”

“This shows India’s seriousness in realizing the goal of creating a strong ecosystem in traditional medicine.”

Interestingly, Kotecha also said that AYUSH has found mention in PM Modi’s Mann in Baat several times. “Out of 99 episodes, AYUSH was mentioned 33 times,” he said.

India A Good Case Study for ‘Evidence Based Practice’

Second, he says, India is a great place to showcase “evidence-based practice”.

“We have experience in producing evidence on a large scale,” he said, adding that India has published more than 70 publications in reputable science journals. “India designed and conducted more than 150 studies on Covid-19 during the outbreak, consisting of animal studies, preclinical studies, observational studies clinical studies etc in less than 18 months.

Kotecha explained that several drugs, including Ayush 64 and Kudineer, were studied extensively during the pandemic and “the evidence was so strong that India has finally included these drugs in the National Clinical Management Protocol”.

Rising Demand for the AYUSH Sector

“Also, given the size of the sector, the growth has been phenomenal,” he said, sharing data showing that production of AYUSH drugs and supplements has grown eightfold in nine years. “From $3 billion in 2014 to $18 billion in 2020 and now, expected to reach $24 billion in 2023, the momentum is huge.”

Currently, there are more than 900 start-ups engaged in the traditional and alternative medicine industry. “Out of these 900, we have one unicorn company valued at over $1 billion.”

Kotecha believes that the demand for AYUSH’s services will increase phenomenally worldwide in the next few years. He said that his ministry had conducted an “impact assessment survey” from November 2021 to June 2022 to find out how many respondents used medication or alternative medicine during Covid-19 in their homes.

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