A mushrooming of sub-standard colleges caused erosion to the standards of education and harmed medical training and practice
There are challenges with the regulation of medical education for Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy, said a Niti Aayog report.
A Preliminary Report of the Committee on the Reform of the Indian Medicine Central Council Act 1970 and Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973 said that traditional and alternative systems of medicine i.e. Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa-Rigpa and Homoeopathy are an integral part of the health care system in India. A flexible and robust legislative framework underlying medical education for Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy is essential for contributing towards the well-being of the nation.
It is against this background that the Indian Medicine Central Council (IMCC) Act, 1970 and Homoeopathy Central Council (HCC) Act, 1973 were enacted along the lines of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956. Thereafter, the statutory bodies namely Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) and Central Council of Homoeopathy (CCH) were constituted to regulate the Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy respectively. The IMCC Act, 1970 covered only Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani systems of medicine for several years after its enactment. However, with the passage of The Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2010, Sowa-Rigpa was also given formal recognition as a part of the Indian Systems of Medicine.
The Niti Aayog report said that while these Acts initially provided a solid foundation for growth of medical education pertaining to Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy, over time, several issues started to emerge regarding the functioning of CCIM and CCH and regulation of medical education for these Systems.
The National Policy on Indian Systems of Medicine & Homoeopathy, 2002 also stated that “Medical education in Indian Systems of Medicine & Homoeopathy has been a cause of concern. The number of Indian Systems of Medicine & Homoeopathy colleges has increased phenomenally to 404. The Central Councils have implemented various educational regulations to ensure minimum standards of education. Despite this, there has been a mushrooming of sub-standard colleges causing erosion to the standards of education and harm to medical training and practice. Liberal permission by the state government, loopholes in the existing Acts and weakness in the enforcement of standards of education have contributed to this state of affairs.”
It was therefore felt that there is a need to amend some of the provisions of the IMCC and HCC Acts with respect to establishment of new medical colleges, increase of intake admission capacity or granting permission to existing colleges. Accordingly, the HCC Act, 1973 was amended in 2002 by inserting section 12A and 12B with the objective of curbing the mushroom growth of sub-standard colleges and to prevent a fall in the standard of education. Similarly, Section 13A, 13B & 13C were inserted in the IMCC Act in 2003.
The IMCC Amendment Bill, 2005 and HCC Amendment Bill, 2005 were also initiated to streamline the functioning of the Central Councils on issues of membership, bringing about transparency in the mechanism of granting permission to colleges, practices, ethics as well as standards in AYUSH medical education.
“For various reasons, significant progress with respect to these Bills was not made. Challenges with the regulation of medical education for Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy, however, remained,” the report said.