Heated debate in Lok Sabha over Indian Medical Central Council (Amendment) Bill

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New Delhi, Aug.31 (ANI): Lawmakers of the treasury and the opposition on Tuesday engaged in a heated debate over the Indian Medical Central Council (Amendment) Bill 2010.

The Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament, saw members on either side engaging in broadsides on various aspects of the Bill. Proceedings in the House were disrupted at least twice during the day.

The amendment bill, passed by the Lok Sabha earlier, entails reconstitution of the Medical Council of India (MCI) within one year from the date of its replacement. Until then, a board of governors will exercise the powers and perform the MCI's functions.

The MCI was dissolved May 15 this year through an ordinance that established a board of governors to handle the affairs of the council for one year.

The amendment under consideration relates to Section Two Clause E of the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970, where for the words "or Unani Tibb", the words, ", Unani Tibb or Sowa-Rigpa" is to be substituted.

Amendments are also under consideration for Section 3 Clause(a) for the words "and Unani" wherever they occur, the words ", Unani and Sowa-Rigpa" shall be substituted; and (b) for the words "or Unani", the words ",Unani or Sowa-Rigpa" shall be substituted.

In Section 8 of the principal Act, in the proviso to sub-section (2), for the words "or Unani", the words ", Unani or Sowa-Rigpa" shall be substituted.

In Section 9 of the principal Act,-(A) for Sub-Section (1), the following sub-section shall be substituted, namely:-

"(1) The Central Council shall constitute from amongst its members,-(a) a Committee for Ayurveda; (b) a Committee for Siddha; (c) a Committee for Unani; and (d) a Committee for Sowa-Rigpa,and each such Committee shall consist of members elected under clause (a) or clause (b) or nominated under clause (c) of sub-section

(1) of Section 3 representing the Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani or Sowa-Rigpa system of medicine, as the case may be."; (B) in sub-section (2), for the words "and Unani", the words ", Unani and Sowa- Rigpa" shall be substituted; (c) in sub-section (3), for the words "or Unani", the words ", Unani or Sowa- Rigpa" shall be substituted.

In Section 17 of the principal Act, in sub-section (2), in clause (a), for the words "physician or", the words "physician or Amchi or" shall be substituted.

In the First Schedule to the principal Act, in paragraph 1, "and Unani", the words ", Unani and Sowa-Rigpa" shall be substituted.

The Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970, inter alia, provides for constitution of a Central Council of Indian Medicine for regulating of educational standards of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani systems of medicine and the maintenance of Register containing names of approved medical practitioners of the Central Council of Indian Medicine.

The Central Council of Indian Medicine was initially constituted under Section 3 of the said Act by nomination of members from Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani in the year 1970.

At present, the Council comprises of members elected from amongst the practitioners of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani whose names are enrolled in the State Registers, from Universities having the faculty or Department of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani and members nominated by the Central Government from amongst the persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of Indian Systems of Medicine. The "Sowa- Rigpa" system of medicine practiced in the Sub-Himalayan region needs to be included as a system within the definition of "Indian Medicine" and the practitioners of the said Sowa- Rigpa system be enrolled in the Register so as to develop the system and its practices within a legal framework.

The amendment to various provisions of above said Act are required in order to legalise Sowa-Rigpa as a system of Indian Medicine. This will also enable the protection and preservation of this ancient system of medicine and will help its propagation and development.

The recognition of the "Sowa-Rigpa" system of Indian Medicine will also lead to the setting up of a regulatory mechanism in the field of its education and practice.

The Bill seeks to achieve the above objectives. (ANI)

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