New Ministry of AYUSH was set up on 9th November 2014 to ensure the optimal development and propagation of AYUSH systems of health care.
Ministry of AYUSH successfully organized the International Day of Yoga consecutively for 3 years. 21st June was declared unanimously as International Day of Yoga by the United Nations General Assembly on 11th December, 2014 following relentless efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. IDY on 21st June 2015 established two Guinness World Records for the largest yoga class, featuring 35,985 people and for the largest number of participating nationalities (84 nations). IDY 2015 in New Delhi, 2016 in Chandigarh and 2017 in Lucknow.
The Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy conducted one- month Yoga Training Camp from 21st May to 21st June in last 3 years. During 2017 alone, more than 10 lakhs people got benefitted from this programme.
1st National Ayurveda Day- Was celebrated on Dhanvantari Jayanti on 28th October, 2016. On this occasion, The Ministry of AYUSH instituted “National Dhanwantari Ayurveda Award” to be conferred to eminent Vaidyas and Ayurveda experts and motivate them to adopt best practices of Ayurveda in the pursuit of excellence. The Ministry of AYUSH launched “Mission Madhumeha through Ayurveda” on the occasion of first National Ayurveda Day. A protocol on Madhumeh has also been prepared by the Ministry of AYUSH.
2nd National Ayurveda Day- Ministry celebrated on 17th October, 2017. On this occasion, Hon’ble Prime Minister dedicated All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA), to the Nation on 17th October, 2017. On this occasion Ministry also organized Conference at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi to bring all Stake holders of Ayurveda Sector and create a platform for constructive discussion on the road map to triple the Industry’s potential in just five-year time. It Organized the Ayurveda Conclave Vision 2022- Taking of Ayurveda Sector from $2.5 Billion to $ 8 Billion Industry.
The First Siddha Day was celebrated on 4th January, 2018 observing the birthday of Siddhar Agathiyar at Dr. M.G.R. Medical University, Chennai.
The Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine organized an International Conference on Unani Medicine on the occasion of Unani Day during 10th and 11th February 2018 in New Delhi. The subject of the conference was ‘Integration of Unani System of Medicine in Mainstream Healthcare’. Around 440 professionals participated in the Conference. International delegates from 12 countries attended the conference. A total of 10 AYUSH Awards were distributed in different categories of Unani Medicine.
The first ever All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) is set up along the lines of AIIMS on the 2nd Ayurveda Day (17thOctober, 2017). The total campus area of Institute is 10.015 acres with a budget of Rs.157 Crore. It has an NABH Accredited Hospital and an Academic Block. Out Patient Services are being provided in the hospital block of the AIIA and medicines are given free of cost. The indoor patient department has provision for 200 beds.
Ministry of AYUSH in collaboration with Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry; Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Pharmexcil organized the ‘International AROGYA 2017’ – First Edition of International Exhibition and Conference on AYUSH and Wellness on the theme ‘Enhancing the export potential of AYUSH’ during 4-7 Dec. 2017. The event was attended by International Ayurveda Experts/ Academicians/ Scientists/ Regulators/ Manufacturers. During the International Conference and Regulators Meet, important topics relating to standardization and quality control in AYUSH sector; enhancing the export potential of AYUSH and business opportunities; and integrative healthcare, etc. were extensively deliberated
Launched on September 2014 for promotion of AYUSH healthcare and for supporting the efforts of State/UT Governments for the development of AYUSH sector including Ayurveda.
The Union Cabinet has approved the continuation of National AYUSH Mission (NAM) as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme from 1st April, 2017 to 31st March, 2020 with financial outlay of Rs.2400.00 Crore.
Under Mainstreaming of AYUSH component- As on 29 December 2017- 8994 PHCs, 2871 CHCs and 506 District Hospitals have been co-located with AYUSH facilities.
Under NAM, Ministry intends to set up fifty bedded hospitals in all the districts in next 10 years. So far sixty-six 50 bedded integrated AYUSH hospitals and 992 yoga wellness centres have been assisted.
National Health Policy, 2017 ensures access to AYUSH remedies through co-location in public facilities. Policy also recognizes the need to nurture AYUSH system of medicine, through development of infrastructural facilities of teaching institutions, improving quality control of drugs, capacity building of institutions and professionals.
Swasthya Rakshan Programme (SRP) has been launched through all AYUSH institutions for promotion of health.
With the efforts of Ministry, Insurance coverage is being extended to AYUSH treatment and a notification in this regard has been issued by IRDA.
Quality Council of India (QCI) at the behest of Ministry of AYUSH has developed a Scheme for Voluntary Certification of Yoga Professionals.
Upgradation of drug testing laboratories has been supported under NAM in most of the States. In addition, 55 Drug Testing Laboratories have been approved for the purpose of quality assurance.
Good clinical Practice (GCP) guidelines for clinical trials on Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani Medicines and guidelines for inspection of GMP compliance by ASU&H drugs industry issued.
During the financial year 2017-18 seven Pharmacies and nine Drugs Testing Laboratories have been financial supported under National AYUSH Mission (NAM).
27 Drug Testing Laboratories under Central Government and 47 State Pharmacies have been supported for strengthening of their infrastructural and functional capacity. As on date 55 laboratories are approved or licensed under the provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 for quality testing of Ayurvedic, Siddha and Unani drugs and raw materials.
Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs)- Federal level MoU signed with 11 countries and Institute level MoUs signed with 24 Countries.
28 AYUSH Information Cells have been set up in 25 countries so far.
Signed Agreement with WHO for promotion of AYUSH systems.
1st Meeting of BIMSTEC Task Force on Traditional Medicine in India was organised by the Ministry of AYUSH during 24-25 October, 2017 at New Delhi, wherein delegations from the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, the Kingdom of Bhutan, the Republic of India, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Kingdom of Thailand along with the BIMSTEC Secretariat participated.
A project Collaboration Agreement (PCA) has been signed between Ministry of AYUSH and WHO, Geneva for developing WHO Terminologies in Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha.
The Second Training program for Traditional Medicine regulator/practitioner of Africa was held on 08 – 14 February, 2018 in New Delhi as a part of proposal approved by the Cabinet and announced by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India during Third India Africa Forum Summit (IAFS III). This was conducted under one of the three areas for the cooperation in social development and capacity building with African nations. 31 participants from 11 African countries attended the training programme.
North Eastern Institute of Ayurveda & Homoeopathy, Shillong has been inaugurated in 2016. It is a state-of-the-art institute, consisting of Ayurveda College and Homoeopathy College, along with attached hospital of Ayurveda and Homoeopathy of 100 beds and 50 beds respectively. North Eastern Institute of Folk Medicine (NEIFM), Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh is the centre of Excellence and Apex Research Centre for all aspects of Folk Medicine knowledge.
Launched an online virtual platform ‘www.e-charak.in’ and a mobile application ‘e-charak’, In the collaboration with Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC)- Hyderabad.
Monthly Mandi price of high demand medicinal plants is being provided in collaboration with Federation of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Stakeholders (EFDMAPS).
365 days campaign on Medicinal Plants “to spread awareness” has been launched by NMPB at Jaipur on 20th and 21st August 2016.
To implement Space Based tools in the monitoring and strategic decision making in the field of Medicinal Plants, National Medicinal Plants Board has signed an MoU with National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), India n Space Research Organization (ISRO).
NMPB with Quality Council of India (QCI) has finalized the guidelines for voluntary certification of raw material for Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Field Collection Practices (GFCP).
NMPB has supported a project on “Development on Training Modules and facilitation guides for Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) and Good Field Collection Practices (GFCP) for Medicinal Plants to ICAR – DMAPR for an amount of Rs.102.294 lakhs. In this regard, ICAR, DMAPR, Gujarat has developed a training module and organized first training program from 18th to 22nd September 2017.
In order to raise the levels of the AYUSH education, Ministry is planning a country-wide collective of AYUSH students which will serve as a platform for students for organizing various activities.
National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) for all AYUSH Educational Institutions for admission of undergraduate Course through designated Authority. For all system of AYUSH, minimum 50% marks should be obtained by the candidates to be eligible for admission in Under Graduate Course.
National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) for all AYUSH Educational Institutions for admission of Post graduate Course / Exit Exam through designated Authority. For all system of AYUSH, minimum 50% marks should be obtained by the candidates to qualify the test. By assessing the percentage of qualifying students in PG NEET / Exit examination of a particular AYSUH Institution, the due benefits should be given to that particular college and the same will be incorporated in MSR of both ASU & H system. Colleges shall be exempted from obtaining permission from Central Government for one year, if 70% of the students of the previous batch qualify the PG-NEET / Exit exam
AYUSH National Teachers Eligibility Test shall be conducted for appointment of all teachers in AYUSH Institutions, and a unique verification code for such teachers shall be allotted by CCH / CCIM before their appointment.
The attendance of Teaching Staffs in all AYUSH Medical Colleges shall be through geo location based system, which shall be made accessible by the relevant Council (CCIM / CCH) as well as the Ministry.
The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr. Thaawarchand Gehlot, on August 3, 2018.
It seeks to amend the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The Act prohibits the commission of offences against members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and establishes special courts for the trial of such offences and the rehabilitation of victims.
In 2018, the Supreme Court stated that for persons accused of committing an offence under the Act, approval of the Senior Superintendent of Police will be required before an arrest is made. Further, the Deputy Superintendent of Police may conduct a preliminary enquiry to find out whether there is a prima facie case under the Act.
The Bill states that the investigating officer will not require the approval of any authority for the arrest of an accused. Further, it provides that a preliminary enquiry will not be required for the registration of a First Information Report against a person accused under the Act.
The Act states that persons accused of committing an offence under the Act cannot apply for anticipatory bail. The Bill seeks to clarify that this provision will apply despite any judgements or orders of a court that provide otherwise
The Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, 2017 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr. Thaawarchand Gehlot on April 5, 2017. It seeks to grant the National Commission on Backward Classes (NCBC) constitutional status, at par with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.
Role of NCSC: Currently, under the Constitution the NCSC has the power to look into complaints and welfare measures with regard to Scheduled Castes, backward classes and Anglo-Indians. The Bill seeks to remove the power of the NCSC to examine matters related to backward classes.
Constitutional status to National Commission for Backward Classes: The NCBC is a body set up under the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993. It has the power to examine complaints regarding inclusion or exclusion of groups within the list of backward classes, and advise the central government in this regard. The Bill seeks to establish the NCBC under the Constitution, and provide it the authority to examine complaints and welfare measures regarding socially and educationally backward classes.
Note that this Bill was introduced alongside the National Commission for Backward Classes (Repeal) Bill, 2017 that seeks to repeal the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993.
Backward classes: The Constitution Amendment Bill states that the President may specify the socially and educationally backward classes in the various states and union territories. He may do this in consultation with the Governor of the concerned state. However, a law of Parliament will be required if the list of backward classes is to be amended.
Composition and service conditions: Under the Constitution Amendment Bill, the NCBC will comprise of five members appointed by the President. Their tenure and conditions of service will also be decided by the President through rules.
Functions: Under the Constitution Amendment Bill, the duties of the NCBC will include: (i) investigating and monitoring how safeguards provided to the backward classes under the Constitution and other laws are being implemented, (ii) inquiring into specific complaints regarding violation of rights, and (iii) advising and making recommendations on socio-economic development of such classes. The central and state governments will be required to consult with the NCBC on all major policy matters affecting the socially and educationally backward classes.
The NCBC will be required to present annual reports to the President on working of the safeguards for backward classes. These reports will be tabled in Parliament, and in the state legislative assemblies of the concerned states.
Powers of a civil court: Under the Constitution Amendment Bill, the NCBC will have the powers of a civil court while investigating or inquiring into any complaints. These powers include: (i) summoning people and examining them on oath, (ii) requiring production of any document or public record, and (iii) receiving evidence.
The Committee of Experts on a Data Protection Framework for India (Chair: Justice B. N. Srikrishna) submitted its report and draft Bill to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on July 27, 2018. The Committee was constituted in August, 2017 to examine issues related to data protection, recommend methods to address them, and draft a data protection Bill.
Fiduciary relationship: The Committee observed that the regulatory framework has to balance the interests of the individual with regard to his personal data and the interests of the entity such as a service provider who has access to this data. It noted that the relationship between the individual and the service provider must be viewed as a fiduciary relationship. This is due to the dependence of the individual on the service provider to obtain a service. Therefore, the service provider processing the data is under an obligation to deal fairly with the individual’s personal data, and use it for the authorised purposes only.
Obligations of fiduciaries: To prevent abuse of power by service providers, the law should establish their basic obligations, including: (i) the obligation to process data fairly and reasonably, and (ii) the obligation to give notice to the individual at the time of collecting data to various points in the interim.
Definition of personal data: The Committee noted that it is important to define what constitutes personal information. It defined personal data to include data from which an individual may be identified or identifiable, either directly or indirectly. The Committee sought to distinguish personal data protection from the protection of sensitive personal data, since its processing could result in greater harm to the individual. Sensitive data is related to intimate matters where there is a higher expectation of privacy (e.g., caste, religion, and sexual orientation of the individual).
Consent-based processing: The Committee noted that consent must be treated as a pre-condition for processing personal data. Such consent should be informed or meaningful. Further, for certain vulnerable groups, such as children, and for sensitive personal data, a data protection law must sufficiently protect their interests, while considering their vulnerability, and exposure to risks online. Further, sensitive personal information should require explicit consent of the individual.
Non-consensual processing: The Committee noted that it is not possible to obtain consent of the individual in all circumstances. Therefore, separate grounds may be established for processing data without consent. The Committee identified four bases for non-consensual processing: (i) where processing is relevant for the state to discharge its welfare functions, (ii) to comply with the law or with court orders in India, (iii) when necessitated by the requirement to act promptly (to save a life, for instance), and (iv) in employment contracts, in limited situations (such, as where giving the consent requires an unreasonable effort for the employer).
Participation rights: The rights of the individual are based on the principles of autonomy, self-determination, transparency and accountability to give individuals control over their data. The Committee categorised these rights in three categories: (i) the right to access, confirmation and correction of data, (ii) the right to object to data processing, automated decision-making, direct marketing and the right to data portability, and (iii) the right to be forgotten.
Enforcement models: The Committee also recommended setting up a regulator to enforce the regulatory framework. The Authority will have the power to inquire into any violations of the data protection regime, and can take action against any data fiduciary responsible for the same. The Authority may also categorise certain fiduciaries as significant data fiduciaries based on their ability to cause greater harm to individuals. Such fiduciaries will be required to undertake additional obligations.
Amendments to Other Laws: The Committee noted that various allied laws are relevant in the context of data protection because they either require or authorise the processing of personal data. These laws include the Information Technology Act, 2000, and the Census Act, 1948. It stated that the Bill provides minimum data protection standards for all data processing in the country. In the event of inconsistency, the standards set in the data privacy law will apply to the processing of data. The Committee also recommended amendments to the Aadhaar Act, 2016 to bolster its data protection framework.
Rights of the individual: The Bill sets out certain rights of the individual. These include: (i) right to obtain confirmation from the fiduciary on whether its personal data has been processed, (ii) right to seek correction of inaccurate, incomplete, or out-of-date personal data, and (iii) right to have personal data transferred to any other data fiduciary in certain circumstances.
Obligations of the data fiduciary: The Bill sets out obligations of the entity who has access to the personal data (data fiduciary). These include: (i) implementation of policies with regard to processing of data, (ii) maintaining transparency with regard to its practices on processing data, (iii) implementing security safeguards (such, as encryption of data), and (iv) instituting grievance redressal mechanisms to address complaints of individuals.
Data Protection Authority: The Bill provides for the establishment of a Data Protection Authority. The Authority is empowered to: (i) take steps to protect interests of individuals, (ii) prevent misuse of personal data, and (iii) ensure compliance with the Bill. It will consist of a chairperson and six members, with knowledge of at least 10 years in the field of data protection and information technology. Orders of the Authority can be appealed to an Appellate Tribunal established by the central government and appeals from the Tribunal will go to the Supreme Court.
Grounds for processing personal data: The Bill allows processing of data by fiduciaries if consent is provided. However, in certain circumstances, processing of data may be permitted without consent of the individual.
These grounds include: (ii) if necessary for any function of Parliament or state legislature, or if required by the state for providing benefits to the individual, (iii) if required under law or for the compliance of any court judgement, (iv) to respond to a medical emergency, threat to public health or breakdown of public order, or, (v) for reasonable purpos¬¬es specified by the Authority, related to activities such as fraud detection, debt recovery, and whistle blowing.
Grounds for processing sensitive personal data: Processing of sensitive personal data is allowed on certain grounds, including: (i) based on explicit consent of the individual, (ii) if necessary for any function of Parliament or state legislature, or, if required by the state for providing benefits to the individual, or (iii) if required under law or for the compliance of any court judgement.
Sensitive personal data includes passwords, financial data, biometric data, genetic data, caste, religious or political beliefs, or any other category of data specified by the Authority. Additionally, fiduciaries are required to institute appropriate mechanisms for age verification and parental consent when processing sensitive personal data of children.
Transfer of data outside India: Personal data (except sensitive personal data) may be transferred outside India under certain conditions. These include: (i) where the central government has prescribed that transfers to a particular country are permissible, or (ii) where the Authority approves the transfer in a situation of necessity.
Exemptions: The Bill provides exemptions from compliance with its provisions, for certain reasons including: (i) state security, (ii) prevention, investigation, or prosecution of any offence, or (iii) personal, domestic, or journalistic purposes.
Offences and Penalties: Under the Bill, the Authority may levy penalties for various offences by the fiduciary including (i) failure to perform its duties, (ii) data processing in violation of the Bill, and (iii) failure to comply with directions issued by the Authority. For example, under the Bill, the fiduciary is required to notify the Authority of any personal data breach which is likely to cause harm to the individual. Failure to promptly notify the Authority can attract a penalty of the higher of Rs 5 crore or 2% of the worldwide turnover of the fiduciary.
Amendments to other laws: The Bill makes consequential amendments to the Information Technology Act, 2000. It also amends the Right to Information Act, 2005, and to permit non-disclosure of personal information where harm to the individual outweighs public good.
The Bill allows for a person to be declared as a fugitive economic offender (FEO) if: (i) an arrest warrant has been issued against him for any specified offences where the value involved is over Rs 100 crore, and (ii) he has left the country and refuses to return to face prosecution.
To declare a person an FEO, an application will be filed in a Special Court (designated under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002) containing details of the properties to be confiscated, and any information about the person’s whereabouts. The Special Court will require the person to appear at a specified place at least six weeks from issue of notice. Proceedings will be terminated if the person appears.
The Bill allows authorities to provisionally attach properties of an accused, while the application is pending before the Special Court.
Upon declaration as an FEO, properties of a person may be confiscated and vested in the central government, free of encumbrances (rights and claims in the property). Further, the FEO or any company associated with him may be barred from filing or defending civil claims.
Key Issues and Analysis Under the Bill, any court or tribunal may bar an FEO or an associated company from filing or defending civil claims before it. Barring these persons from filing or defending civil claims may violate Article 21 of the Constitution i.e. the right to life. Article 21 has been interpreted to include the right to access justice.
Under the Bill, an FEO’s property may be confiscated and vested in the central government. The Bill allows the Special Court to exempt properties where certain persons may have an interest in such property (e.g., secured creditors). However, it does not specify whether the central government will share sale proceeds with any other claimants who do not have such an interest (e.g., unsecured creditors).
The Bill does not require the authorities to obtain a search warrant or ensure the presence of witnesses before a search. This differs from other laws, such as the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, which contain such safeguards. These safeguards protect against harassment and planting of evidence.
The Bill provides for confiscation of property upon a person being declared an FEO. This differs from other laws, such as CrPC, 1973, where confiscation is final two years after proclamation as absconder
The Bill sets up the National Medical Commission (NMC). The NMC will regulate medical education and practice. It will determine fees for up to 40% seats in private medical institutions and deemed universities.
The NMC will consist of 25 members. A Search Committee will recommend names to the central government for the post of Chairperson, and the part time members.
Four autonomous Boards have been set up under the supervision of the NMC. These Boards will focus on undergraduate and postgraduate medical education, assessment and rating, and ethical conduct.
There will be a National Licentiate Examination for doctors to obtain a licence to practice after graduation. This examination will also be the basis for admission to post-graduate medical courses.
State Medical Councils will receive complaints relating to professional or ethical misconduct against a doctor. If the doctor is aggrieved of a decision of the State Medical Council, he may appeal to successively higher levels of authority.
Key Issues and Analysis Two-thirds of the members in the NMC are medical practitioners. Expert committees have recommended that the regulator should consist of more diverse stakeholders in order to reduce the influence of medical practitioners in regulating medical education and practice.
The NMC will determine fees for up to 40% of the seats in private medical colleges and deemed universities. There have been various arguments on fee capping by experts. It has been recommended by some experts that fees should be capped to enable access to medical education for all. On the other hand, it has also been suggested that fee capping would discourage entry of private colleges.
In cases of professional or ethical misconduct by medical practitioners, the practitioners can appeal a decision of the NMC to the central government. It is unclear why the central government, and not a judicial body, is the appellate authority.
There is no requirement for periodic renewal of the licence to practice. Some countries require periodic testing to ensure that practitioners remain up to date, fit to practice, and give good care to patients.
The Bill proposes a bridge course for practitioners of AYUSH to enable them to prescribe modern medicines. There are differing views on this provision. While some emphasise the need for greater integration between traditional and modern schools of medicine, others consider this step harmful for the independent development of AYUSH.