Centre plans to promote traditional medicines of Northeast

GUWAHATI: Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and AYUSH Sarbananda Sonowal has announced a slew of major initiatives planned to boost the traditional medicinal practices in the north-eastern states.

Addressing the conference of Health Ministers of North Eastern States for promoting of AYUSH system of medicine on the theme “AYUSH at Your Service” at Assam Administrative Staff College at Khanapara here on Saturday, Sonowal announced that as many as 1,000 new Health & Wellness Centres (HWC), as part of the National Ayush Mission (NAM) Scheme, will be opened in the NE states for growth and development of the Ayush system.

“These centres aim to provide a holistic wellness model based on principles of Ayush systems of medicine. A total of 12,500 HWC are to be operationalized in the country. To boost the popularity of traditional medicines provided by Ayush, the minister announced setting up of 100 Ayush dispensaries under NAM in the Northeast,” Sonowal said.

The Union Minister later told reporters that to boost education and training of Ayush medicinal experts, financial provision of Rs 70 crore, under NAM support, will be provided for the establishment of a new Ayurvedic College at Dudhnoi in Goalpara. The Ministry of Ayush has decided to upgrade the Government Ayurvedic College in Guwahati and develop it as a Centre of Excellence. A sum of Rs 10 crore as the financial grant is to be provided in this regard. All states of the Northeast were requested to put up a specific proposal to the ministry for opening new Ayush educational institutions.

A facilitation centre for semi-processing of raw material is going to be opened up in NE. Along with this, it is also envisaged to set up Regional Raw Drug Repository (RRDR) in NE states in collaboration with the National Institute of Bio-resources and sustainable development in Imphal, Manipur under the Department of Bio-Technology. This is under the National Medicinal Plants board Ministry of Ayush is implementing Central Sector Scheme on Conservation, Development and Sustainable Management of Medicinal Plants. This Scheme has provision to support joint forest management committees (JFMCs) for value addition, drying, warehousing and augmenting marketing infrastructure.

The Ayush medical facilities under the northeastern State governments, the Central government and teaching hospitals in Ayush Colleges will be brought under the Ayush-Health Management Information System (AHMIS).

Speaking at the conference Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the NE States have tremendous potential in the AYUSH sector as the region has rich bio-diversity. If this potential is developed systematically, the Northeast can become an AYUSH hub in future, he said.

Sarma underlined the role of Ayurvedic medicine in preventive and clinical management during the Covid period. He also informed that the State government in a bid to boost the AYUSH system has taken up construction of AYUSH Hospitals at Dudhnoi and Majuli. While construction of the AYUSH hospital at Dudhnoi is already complete, the hospital at Majuli would be completed soon.

The Chief Minister said Assam has now only one Government Ayurvedic College. Considering the potential of the sector, Sarma urged the Union AYUSH Minister for granting another Ayurvedic college in Assam and informed them that land for the same has already been identified at Dudhnoi. He assured to complete construction of the college in record time along with deployment of all necessary staff for its establishment.

Union Minister of State for AYUSH Dr Munjpara Mahendrabhai Kalubhai, Health Minister of Assam Keshab Mahanta, Health Minister of Sikkim Dr Mani Kumar Sarma and Health Minister of Nagaland S Pangnyu Phom also spoke at the conference.

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