|The Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy (ISM&H) were given an independent identity in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 1995 by creating a separate Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) in November 2003. The department is entrusted with the responsibility of developing and propagating officially recognised systems, namely, Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy Siddha, Unani, and Homoeopathy. This was done in explicit realisation of contributions these ancient and holistic systems can make towards the health care of the people. These systems have marked superiority in addressing chronic conditions and offer a package of promotive and preventive interventions.
Encouragement to scientific research and education, laying down pharmacopoeial standards to ensure quality drugs, evolving good laboratory practices, following good manufacturing practices, regulating education standards, supplementing the efforts of State Governments in setting up specialty clinics of AYUSH in allopathic hospitals and AYUSH wing in District Allopathic hospitals, creating awareness through organisation of Health Melas and other information, education and communication means, are just some of the ways in which the department is helping in the growth and wider reach of Indian Systems of medicine and Homoeopathy.
The Central Acts are in place to regulate education and practice, manufacture of drugs for sale and enforcement mechanism. Ayurveda, Siddha Unani and Homoeopathy drugs are covered under the purview of Drugs and Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. Since most of the medicines of AYUSH sector are made from medicinal plant materials, the Department has set up a National Medicinal Plants Board to promote cultivation of medicinal plants and ensure sustained availability of quality raw material. A separate National Policy on Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy is in place since 2002.
The infrastructure under AYUSH sector consists of 1355 hospitals with 53296 bed capacity, 22635 dispensaries, 450 Undergraduate colleges, 99 colleges having Post Graduate Departments, 9,493 licensed manufacturing units and 7.18 lakh registered practitioners of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy in the country.