From next year, it will be mandatory for those seeking admission in AYUSH courses to clear the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET). The decision in this regard was taken to standardise the admission procedure and attract meritorious students into the AYUSH (Ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) stream. The Centre had last year announced that admissions into AYUSH courses would be through the NEET, but could not implement it from this year after states raised objections to it. “The demand for Ayurveda, homoeopathy, naturopathy and Unani medicines and yoga have increased worldwide and the number of students pursuing such courses has also risen. So there is a need to maintain standard of education in this stream,” Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Yesso Naik said today. With the introduction of NEET, he said, examinations by privates entities would not be conducted to fill seats in any of the AYUSH colleges.
The Ministry of AYUSH has sent advisories to all state governments in this regard. Ahead of International Day of Yoga (IDY) on June 21, Naik said that data showed that in the last two years, there had been a 30 percent increase in the number of people practising yoga in India and more than 15 per cent in foreign countries. This year, the main event of IDY will be held in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior ministers, Uttar Pradesh chief minister and yoga gurus, along with about 51,000 people, are expected to take part. In Delhi, seven main events are being planned at different places in association with the NDMC, the DDA and yoga organisations. Apart from this, yoga events will be held in different parts of the country as well as in cities like Paris, London and New York across the globe. Around 150 countries, in coordination with Indian missions there, are expected to participate in the mega event.
IDY will be observed there at some of the major landmarks like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Trafalgar Square in London and the Central Park in New York among others. Naik further said that the Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy is conducting a mega multi-centric research study on efficacy of yoga on diabetes in which around 2.50 lakh people have been screened and its preliminary results are very encouraging. He said that the government has decided to dedicate 100 parks for yoga activities across the country to promote the traditional practise. The parks would be managed by yoga or other organisations voluntarily. A group of secretaries, in a recent meeting, had also suggested to the prime minister that the Medical Council of India should re-frame curricula in order to incorporate elements of AYUSH into allopathy and vice versa.
“No decision has been taken in this regard and talks are still on,” said a senior Ministry official. The Ministry, on its official website, has requested those visiting the web page related to IDY to take a pledge to make yoga an integral part of their daily life. The first IDY celebration was organised at Rajpath in New Delhi on June 21, 2015 in which representatives of 191 nations had participated. Last year, the main function was held at Chandigarh. The United Nations General Assembly, heeding to a call by Prime Minister Modi, had made a declaration in December 2014 to observe June 21 every year as International Day of Yoga.