RECOGNITION OF ACUPUNCTURE IN INDIA – PRESENT CRISIS

In Recent development of Acupuncture Recognition in India is very complex in nature. It is to some extent encouraging and at the same time discouraging also. A very strong lobby in the Central Govt. has played some very important role regarding this whole recognition process.  First of all they tied to take acupuncture under naturopathy and include in AYUSH system. After our strong opposition this whole plot was not possible to implement. Later on AYUSH has refused to take the responsibility of acupuncture. Moreover very recent AYUSH notification said that no alternative or new system will be accommodated in AYUSH. If it is accommodated, only it must be run by the existing medical graduates. Means existing practitioner of a new or proposed system will never get recognized. If their system is recognised at all it will be included any existing systems under AYUSH.  This was the exactly the plan of acupuncture which AYUSH thought earlier.  Now after the rejection from AYUSH, Acupuncture file came back to the Department Of Health Research (DHR) under main health ministry. 13 months has passed after the last high level committee meeting for recognition of acupuncture held on 9th. January 2018 (where we joined). Now on 21st. February 2019 DHR has recommended acupuncture can be considered as an INDEPENDENT SYSTEM OF HEALTHCARE / THERAPY, but they refuse to give the status of INDEPENDENT SYSTEM OF MEDICINE. Moreover DHR has already decided to restrict the application of acupuncture in some selective conditions only where there is proof by Randomized Control Trial (RCT). So as per the present day, DHR policy on acupuncture is not an independent system of medicine and it will be used as a part of healthcare and in some clinical conditions only.  Another important development took place. DHR is questioning the qualification of all the topmost acupuncture experts in India who have an experience of more than 40 years. They have raised this question repeatedly in their documents, minutes and in the meeting. According to DHR, without having index journal publication no acupuncture expert will be treated or be included in expert team or subcommittees to decide different issues related to acupuncture recognition. Only 4/5 present topmost experts they allowed with exception provided they submit the copies of their publication (no conference paper is allowed).  So naturally all the indications show that though acupuncture is recommended for recognition as an independent system but it cannot be given in the same status of all the other systems of medicine  AYUSH or Modern Medicine). Secondly, like other systems acupuncture cannot be applied freely in any disease conditions. There will be some choice where acupuncture can be applied or not. Thirdly, acupuncture experts & acupuncturist are not regarded true owner or leader of the science. Naturally any qualified medical graduate which some publication in acupuncture may substitute the topmost posts in any policy making body.  So all the development shows acupuncture science and acupuncturists will be more crippled in future and the most important consequence is that new generation may not be interested to learn the science as they do not get the full prestige of a full fledged science.  Moreover they cannot learn the system fully due to limited indications of diseases. Ultimately freshers may not be interested to come to this profession.  In a nutshell, doctors from other streams are showing less interest for this science, newcomers may not get interest with so many limitations. So ultimately acupuncture will be regarded as a CRIPPLE system in India where very few people apply it (presently for the last few years this downgrade trend is evident).  So the situation is very complex and disturbing. We have to think it very seriously. But unfortunately the leaders of whole movement are not aware or not at all thinking seriously about this development. They are only interested to get so called recognition of independent system of healthcare or therapy. Either they do not understand and do not want to understand. So in this situation the role of ASA is most vital. We have to aware  the common Acupuncturists and Acupuncture Organisations of India to create a nationwide united movement on this plot of crippling acupuncture science and acupuncturist by a section of central government. Serious planning is needed to take proper action in this very complex situation.

——————————————————— Dr. Debashis Bakshi

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