Ayurveda is future, but budget allocation are stuck in past


Despite the fact that  patients often go to Ayurvedic hospitals after allopathic treatment stops showing response, isn’t it remarkable that ayurvedic system is able to show remarkable results in many cases. How can it be revitalised and made accessible at larger scale to millions more. The budget for Ayush had increased considerably in 2015-16 but after that it has remained more or less constant with 13 per cent enhancement this year. Total central health ministry budget is hardly three per cent or less of the total  and budget for Ayush is also less than three per cent of health budget. This way, AYUSH will never become first choice of the patients, which should be our goal. Decades  ago, Ayush share was four per cent of the health budget. It has come gown because health budget has increased much more than AYUSH budget.

A system which is holistic, follows the concept of systems biology which even allopathic system is veering towards, is not getting a better deal. There are several reason but one of the major reason is lack of proper documentation and publication of rigorously pursued case studies. Let me give a personal example. My wife sadhana has suffered from Ataxia for the last almost two decades. Thanks to the kind and caring advice of Dr Sudheer Shah and Dr V N Shah, situation was  managed extremely well and sadhana became a benchmark of wellness in the wake of all the adversity. Dr Pandya and Late shri Dhanshankar Pandit, ayurveacharyas helped alongside very well. Situation started to worsen about six month ago. When we were desperate, not knowing what to do, my colleague, Dr Anamika Dey found a case study in which Dr S K Singh, National Institute of Aurveda, Jaipur had described how he helped a similar patient recover.

That was a turning point, after a few meetings, we offered sadhana’s case as a subject of a case-study by allopathic and Ayurveda doctors so that we could help science progress and also negotiate hopefully a new lease of healthy future for sadhana. This has implication for rethinking our policy to   validation of community herbal claims through mainly allopathic route so far, instead of ayurvedic routes which can help us go to masses much faster.

We took some early treatment which helped in amazing reversal of loss of weight and brighter outlook in personal life of the patient in three months. We decided to pursue intensive care at  NIA Jaipur for treatment and also offer data of our case to students/researchers as well.

Early signs are encouraging. Why have I shared personal details of our life because i have met so many patients here at NIA whose stories of recovery call for a systematic analysis by multidisciplinary board. I am convinced like thousands more who have benefitted from synergy between allopathic (because we are continuing earlier allopathic treatment) and ayurvedic treatment. We don’t know yet what future holds in store for us. But new hope in our life obliges me as a public intellectual to add personal feelings to a public policy goal of strengthening Ayurveda.

I am biased and I have made my biases explicit in most transparent manner. I doubt how much objectivity exists in the social discourse any way.  In any case, paradoxical discourse requires that allopathic system must come to a common table with ayurvedic doctors and create a new idiom of self-critical dialogue on how masses in our country and worldwide can be made healthy at extremely affordable level. Government can certainly help, by enhancing the stature of AYUSH  in an unprecedented manner. More funds, more beds, more seats for post graduate education, more faculty position, more facilities for high quality documentation and analysis are urgently needed.

I hope state governments will also add their might to the subject. Expenditure on ayurvedic medicines must become reimbursable in central and state institutions. School text books should have lessons to path to healthy life by looking at the connection between different aspects of life scientifically. I hope, like  CHINA which connects allopathic system of medicines and traditional Chinese medicine at almost every floor of hospitals, we will create institutional conditions for synergy between different AYUS systems of healing, wellness and happy society. New health insurance system must include ayurvedic treatments as well.



Visiting Faculty, IIM Ahmedabad & IIT Bombay and an independent thinker, activist for the cause of creative communities and individuals at grassroots, tech institutions and any other walk of life committed to make this world a more creative, compassionate and collaborative place