QUESTION : “India is facing major challenges to regulate Ayurveda medicine system to meet the demand for natural remedies in India and in the world market”. Comment
A CLEAR READING OF THE AYURVEDA SURGERY MOVE
Ayurvedic Medicine System in India
WHY IN NEWS ?
Ayurveda is an alternative medicine system with historical roots in the Indian subcontinent. The government is pushing towards promoting Ayurveda (co-existing with Allopathy) in Indian healthcare while the Indian Medical Association characterizes the practice of modern medicine by Ayurvedic practitioners as quackery.
RECENT NOTIFICATION :
• The Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) has amended Indian Medicine Central Council (Post Graduate Ayurveda Education) Regulations, 2016, to allow the PG students of Ayurveda to practice general surgery (Shalya).
• The act has been renamed Indian Medicine Central Council (Post Graduate Ayurveda Education) Amendment Regulations, 2020.
• The Postgraduate students in Ayurveda will be trained in two streams of surgery and would be awarded titles of MS (Ayurved) Shalya Tantra — (General Surgery) and MS (Ayurved) Shalakya Tantra (Disease of Eye, Ear, Nose, Throat, Head and Oro-Dentistry).
WHY IS PROTEST ON THIS AMENDMENT ?
• The Indian Medical Association has been opposing the Centre’s move to allow traditional systems of AYUSH to offer allopathic therapies and treatment.
• The recent notification authorizes General Surgery postgraduate degree holder on completion of his course to perform 58 surgical procedures.
• Some of the procedures in the list are rather complicated.
• For any surgeon to be trusted to perform any surgery independently require to have assisted or been taken through at least 100 odd procedures, which is not the case here.
• This can instill distrust or fear in the minds of people going for surgeries by the Ayurvedic ssurgeon.
STATE OF AYURVEDA AFTER 1947 :
• After Independence, the Indian state was faced with the difficult task of accommodating both the modern medicine brought in by the British and India’s traditional systems of medicine, notably Ayurveda.
• There options were to take the best from all systems and integrate them into one cohesive science but it was not easy as the systems have certain incompatible differences of approach.
• The state patronized and encouraged formal medical education in modern medicine as well as in other traditional systems.
• For a brief period there actually existed ‘integrated’ courses, wherein both Ayurveda and Modern medicine were taught to students but were discontinued later.
• Thus, the degree in Ayurvedic medicine became largely an Ayurveda course and it was necessary out of a practical career compulsion to teach the basics of modern medicine to these graduates.
• As modern medicine made rapid strides, the Ayurvedic graduates have experienced an identity crisis.
SIGNIFICANCE OF AYURVEDA SURGEONS IN MODERN TIMES :
• Ayurveda graduates including surgeons are a large workforce in search of an identity and they are needed in the country.
• If they are creatively and properly trained, they can play important roles in our health-care system.
• Given the right training, pay and identity, Ayurvedic surgeons can be trained to strengthen on site or ambulance care of trauma victims and save hundreds of lives.
CHALLENGES RELATED TO AYURVEDA :
• Ineffective Treatment in Emergency Cases: The inadequacies of Ayurveda in treating acute infections and other emergencies including surgery, and lack of meaningful research in therapeutics continue to limit the universal acceptance of Ayurveda.
• Lack of Homogeneity: The medical practices in Ayurveda are not uniform. It is because the medicinal plants used in it vary with geography and climate and local agriculture practices.
• Misleading Propaganda by Ayurvedic Pharmas: Ayurvedic pharmacopeia industry claimed that its manufacturing
practices were consistent with the classic Ayurveda texts.
• Lack of Recognition: Over the last few decades, there has been an increase in the global interest in Ayurveda.
However, several countries do not officially recognise Ayurveda as a medical field and have placed many restrictions on the use of Ayurvedic medicines.
• Lack of Deep Knowledge : In 2004, a leading American journal reported heavy metal (arsenic, mercury, lead) content in some of the Ayurveda drugs sold in the US, way beyond the allowed safety limits.
•Sub-standard Research In Ayurveda: During the last five decades or so, research in Ayurveda was mainly confined to hundreds of drug trials using the normal procedures that are used in other medical systems.
Often it was found that standardisation of formulation and quality of methods and data in the study was substandard.
SIGNIFICANCE OF AYURVEDA :
• In Ayurveda it is believed living man is a conglomeration of three humors (Vata, Pitta & Kapha), seven basic tissues (Rasa, Rakta, Mansa, Meda, Asthi, Majja & Shukra) and the waste products of the body i.e. mala, mutra and sweda.
• The growth and decay of this body matrix and its constituents revolve psychological mechanisms of these elements and its balance is the main reason for the state of one’s health.
• The treatment approach in the Ayurveda system is holistic and individualized having preventive, curative, mitigative, recuperative and rehabilitative aspects.
• The principal objectives of Ayurveda are maintenance and promotion of health, prevention of disease and cure of sickness.
CENTRAL COUNCIL OF INDIAN MEDICINE :
• Central Council of Indian Medicine is a statutory body under the Indian Medicine Central Council Act.
• It regulates the Indian medical systems of Ayurveda, Siddha, Sowa-Rigpa and Unani Medicine
WAY FORWARD :
• Given the right training, pay and identity, Ayurvedic surgeons can be trained to strengthen services and save hundreds of lives.
• AYUSH, or Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy, is a priority area for the present government. The revival of Indian medicine fits well into a certain narrative.
• The IMA in its opposition to such moves needs to be precise and constructive.
• Utilising India’s large workforce of non-MBBS doctors to improve access to decent health care for ordinary citizens is one of the urgently needed and serious discussions.
Though deeply rooted in antiquity and Hindu civilisation, Ayurveda has carried forward some of the finest traditions in healing and cure the world has ever seen. Moreover, it has undergone some transformation to suit modern India, but more is required.
Thus, there is a need for state patronage, so that Ayurveda can claim its rightful place along with modern medicine as a mainstream medicinal system.
QUESTION : Critically evaluate how the trade relations between India and the US have gone through many ups and downs for last couple of years ?
PUTTING TRADE TIES ON NEW FOOTING
WHY IN NEWS ?
After tumultuous years of Trump administration in trade policies, the article examines the new possibilities under the next U.S. President in trade ties with India
APPROACH TOWARDS WTO AND INDIA :
• The new U.S. administration will have more constructive stance on multilateral issues in the World Trade Organization (WTO).
• The Trump administration went out of its way in seriously undermining WTO institutions when the organisation was already in need of reform and new direction.
• The Biden administration is less likely to engage in unilateral tariff increases and more likely to pursue remedies in the WTO.
• In case of India, the Trump administration it pursued an aggressive approach to resolve market access concerns through threats to eliminate India’s benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences programme.
• However, the follow-through was weak.
• The administration was on the brink of concluding a historic bilateral trade deal, yet it lost focus.
INDIA-US TRADE :
• The US is India’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade touching $88.75 billion in the 2019-2020 financial year.
• The bilateral trade between the US and India is approximately 62 per cent in goods and 38 per cent in services, the bilateral trade between India and China is dominated by goods.
• Trade has increased 10 times in the last 15 years. India is a trade deficit country in most cases, but it has a trade surplus with the US. The trade surplus was around 26 billion dollars in 2018.
WHAT IS GENERALISED SYSTEM OF PREFERENCES (GSP)?
• It is a US trade program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry for up to 4,800 products from 129 designated beneficiary countries and territories.
IMPORTANT LIKELY DEVELOPMENTS AFTER TRUMP :
1) It is clear that Mr. Biden plans to focus on domestic concerns first.
There may be trade aspects to some of these efforts, but they may have limited early relevance for a future U.S.-India trade policy.
2) Two, as it turns to trade policy, the Biden administration is not likely to place India among its top few priorities.
Among top priorities will include formulating its approach with China, such as finding alternatives to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership to set new global standards that address China’s practices.
3) The trade deal still pending with the Trump administration remains compelling.
There could be an early opportunity to conclude these negotiations and for the Biden administration to get credit.A bilateral deal will not lead to serious consideration of FTA negotiations any time soon.
But this first trade agreement could pave the way for later additional small agreements.
4) The existing Trade Policy Forum (TPF) met only once over the last four years.
It seems likely that the Biden administration will see the TPF’s value as a venue for more regular discussions on a range of trade issues.
5) A reinvigorated TPF will present new opportunities for the two countries to take up a range of cutting-edge trade issues that will be critical in determining whether the U.S. and India can converge more over time or will drift further apart.
These include digital trade issues, intellectual property rights and approaches to nurturing innovation, better health sector alignment, and more regular regulatory work on science-based agricultural policies.
TRADE POLICY FORUM :
• It was established in 2005.
• The Forum is part of the overall United States-India Economic Dialogue, replacing the Trade Policy Working Group pillar.
• It convenes on a regular basis.
• The Forum provides an opportunity to work together to expand trade between the two countries.
• The agenda could cover the following subjects: tariff and non-tariff trade barriers; foreign direct investment; subsidies; customs procedures; standards, testing, labeling and certification intellectual property rights protection; sanitary and phytosanitary measures; government procurement; and services.
The future looks bright for U.S.-India trade under a Biden administration, but that does not mean it will be any easier. It will be critical for leadership on both sides to commit to strong efforts to put the trade relationship on a new footing, which will have to involve a ‘can-do’ attitude to solving problems.
WAY FORWARD :
• India would also have to create a suitable environment for private investments, as it’s currently an issue.
• India would also have to work on its own development in order to be able to take advantage of international events and not become vulnerable in the face of a crisis.
• In order to counter China in the maritime domain, India needs to fully engage with the US and other partners in the Indo-pacific region, in order to preserve the freedom of navigation and the rules-based order.
• A new trade deal with the US is the need of the hour. It will make it a lot easier to deal divergences in trade under Biden’s administration on a range of issues including terrorism, Kashmir and the unfolding crisis in Afghanistan.