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Returning to roots: Resurgence of Ayurveda and Indian ethos

India is known for its traditional medicinal systems like Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani, source of which can be traced back to the ancient Vedas and other scriptures.

Pinky Anand

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We’ve all grown up in househ o l d s wh i ch have Haldi doodh, although these days I hear its called ‘Turmeric Milk’ or the surprisingly romantic ‘Golden Latte’. Well this ‘golden latte’ touted as a wonder food, good for rejuvenation, and skin health and healing, and being called as an allrounder anti-inflammatory, has been around, at least for us Indians for thousands of years as ‘Haldi doodh’. I remember wrinkling up my nose and refusing to have it, when my mother would give it to me.

Be that as it may, the west seems to have finally woken up to ayurveda, or the ancient science of plant derived medicine. Yoga and alternative medicine, including pranic healing, reiki etc have suddenly had a resurgence in the west, and we Indians have suddenly become aware of our legacy, created thousands of years ago, which today with modern science and testing is being proved to be as effective if not more in a wide variety of ailments and diseases. Little did we realise, that the often foul tasting ‘kadha’ we were made to drink by our mothers, is actually a legacy and heritage we have, which has been thousands of year’s in the making. I have read that Indian medicine was so advanced that we actually performed rhinoplasty’s, often called a ‘Nose job’ in today’s language. It is absolutely clear, that if our doctors and healers were performing complicated surgeries and procedures thousands of years ago, they would necessarily have the know how of things like antibiotics, or anti coagulants. Surprisingly, these are discoveries that can only be traced back about a 100-150 years in western medicinal sciences.

India is known for its traditional medicinal systems like Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani source of which can be traced back to the ancient Vedas and other scriptures. The ayurvedic concept emerged and developed in India between 2500 and 500 BC. Ayurveda means “science of life” or “true knowledge of life”, since the Indian system of health care was centered around views of man and his illness. Being a tropical country, we Indians are naturally blessed with diverse flora, that are used in traditional medical treatments. In India, approximately 70percent of rural population depends on the traditional Ayurvedic system of medicine. In the Western countries, todayapproximately 40per cent of people have reposed faith in herbal and ayurvedic medicines for the treatment of various diseases. India is a mega-diverse country which harbours 7-8% of all recorded species, including over 45,000 species of plants and 91,000 species of animals. Of the 34 global biodiversity hotspots, four are present in India, represented by the Himalaya, the Western Ghats, the NorthEast, and the Nicobar Islands. Further, India is the largest producer of medicinal plants and the traditional medicinal systems found under Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani.

With a view to bring about an organised development of systems and standardise the mode of treatment by the practitioners of these systems, legislations have been framed by both the State Governments as well as the Central Government. The legislative field for framing legislation on these aspects is relatable to Schedule VII List III Entry 26 of the Constitution of India.

 In Kerala Ayurveda Paramparya Vaidya Forum v. State of Kerala, (2018) 6 SCC 648  the issue under consideration before the Supreme Court was whether the persons who do not fulfil the prescribed qualification and are not duly registered under the relevant statute, be permitted to practice “Paramparya Vaidyas”. The Supreme Court after considering the eligibility criteria laid down in the Central law and also under the State laws concluded that the right to practise any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business is no doubt a fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution but that right is subject to any law relating to the professional or technical qualification necessary for practising any profession or carrying on any occupation or trade or business.

This judgment was landmark, because it highlighted that our traditional medicine systems, are an important part of our heritage and that they cannot be treated as ‘not serious medicine’ or ‘magical remedies’. The judgment validated the fact that traditional medicine as found in the subcontinent of India, is medicine and needs to be studied and qualified for, just as much as western medicine, thus lending complete credence to the field.

Government of India, through its Ministry of AYUSH is responsible for policy formulation, development and implementation of programs for the growth, development and propagation of Ayurveda. After the change in government in 2014, a conscious decision was taken to upgrade the department and an independent Ministry of AYUSH with independent Minister and a mandate for systematic development in all spheres of Indian medicine was issued. It is a dedicated ministry created to uphold the standards and standardise procedures under the Indian System of medicine, which for so long had been neglected and been passed on to generations without truly understanding the value, in effect creating a situation, where it was considered second rate, or not trusted as much as its potential is.

Today there has been integration of AYUSH in the healthcare delivery system and national programs to ensure optimal use of the vast infrastructure of hospitals, dispensaries and physicians were focused in the policy. Through National Health Mission and National Rural Health Mission, an initiative to improve efficacy of Ayurveda has been undertaken. Resultantly, the public perception is getting inclined towards Ayurveda and development in AYUSH is observed. All this is poised to be achieved through the increase in potential of Ayurveda and optimum revival.

The educational system and professional practice of Ayurveda are controlled by the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM), a statutory body set up under Indian Medicine Central Council (IMCC) Act, 1970. Ayurveda doctors with degree or equivalent qualifications are considered as recognized medical practitioners as per the schedules of Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970. The recognized qualifications for the purpose of registration and to engage in clinical practice of Ayurvedic Medicine are Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) and MD/ MS (Ayurveda) master’s degrees in 22 specialties and equivalent qualifications.

One aspect of this resurgence of Ayurveda and the fact that today, we as a government, are taking it seriously was something i noticed when i represented the Ministry of AYUSH in Union of India Vs. Federation of Self-Financed Ayurvedic Colleges Punjab & Ors. Civil Appeal No. 603 of 2020, where the NEET exam was prescribed for students who wished to undertake graduate courses in Ayurvedic medicine. What surprised me was now seriously and vehemently, the department and the ministry took these admissions, vehement in their stand that they wanted and needed qualified and intelligent, hardworking students as doctors in traditional medicine field. The Supreme Court agreed.

On 17.10.2017, Prime Minister Modi in a speech laid stress on integrating Ayurveda, Yoga and other AYUSH systems into the public health care system, dedicated the All India Institute of Ayurveda situated at New Delhi to the nation. He also stressed on growing these herbs and medicines and said that the AYUSH ministry would provide the requisite knowhow.

 Prime Minister Modi, during the lockdown due to COVID- 19 pandemic promoted practice of yoga amongst all including world leaders calling it a perfect antidote to self-isolation blues.

The fact that an ayurvedic formulation was given to Prince Charles when he was battling the Coronavirus is also telling of the nature and effectiveness of the Indian Medicine system as well the trust that is now being reposed in it.

According to the recent reports, Modi government is leading a study to determine whether the ayurvedic herb “Ashwagandha” could be an alternative to hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as a potential COVID preventative. the study is being carried out by a group of scientists and researchers from Ministry of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The Ministry of AYUSH is taking a huge step towards promotion and development of Ayurveda, however there are more to be done to mainstream Ayurveda and validate to make it acceptable world wide as a scientific system of healthcare to regain its glory.

Sr. Adv. Pinky Anand has served as head of All India Legal Cell of Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP). She has served as the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) of India.

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Nation

Lalu Yadav criticises Amit Shah for attacking Bihar govt

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A day before he meets Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav on Saturday criticised Home Minister Amit Shah for his attack on the Bihar government coalition and emphasised the need for Opposition unity.

“Amit Shah has utterly lost his mind.  His administration has been overthrown in Bihar. The BJP will also lost in 2024. That is why he is sprinting there (Bihar) and speaking of jungle raaj. What did he do when he was in Gujarat,” Yadav said.

The former chief minister of Bihar said that “Jungle raaj” was present in Gujarat when he was there.

On Sunday evening, Kumar and Yadav will probably meet Sonia Gandhi, the president of the Congress.

We are making every effort for Opposition unity,” Yadav, who has been battling poor health, said, adding this will the agenda of their meeting.

The Bihar chief minister was slammed by Shah on Friday for allegedly betraying the BJP and attempting to advance his prime ministerial ambitions while “sitting in the laps of Congress and RJD.”

At a rally in Purnea, Shah predicted that the Kumar-Lalu Prasad jodi would be destroyed (soopda saaf) in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and that the BJP will win a majority by itself in the state assembly elections the following year.

In response, Yadav said, “Amit Shah bilkul paglaye hue hain” ( Amit Shah is absolutely insane).

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Hollywood star John Cusack supports ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, says solidarity to all anti-fascists

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Hollywood star John Cusack on Saturday showed his support to the Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, a campaign to reach out to the general public. Cusack tweeted: “Indian parliament member Rahul Gandhi is walking to Kashmir from Kerala.” This was written weeks after the march, which intends to go over 3,500 kilometres across the nation, began.

Expressing his support for Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra on Saturday, Hollywood actor Cusack stated that he stands in solidarity with “anti-fascists everywhere.”

Cusack, the leading man in blockbusters like “Serendipity,” “High Fidelity,” “Con Air,” and “2012,” has been outspoken on social media regarding a number of international issues.

Jairam Ramesh, a Congress’s spokesman, shared the post of the Cusack’s tweet.

The actor posted on Twitter that Indian parliament member Rahul Gandhi is walking from Kerala by foot to Kashmir. Cusack responded to a user who complimented him for backing Gandhi’s cause by saying, “Yes – solidarity – to all anti fascists everywhere!” The actor has previously offered support to the farmers’ and students’ demonstrations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and three agriculture legislation, respectively.

Rahul Gandhi began his march from Kanyakumari, the southernmost point of the nation’s mainland, and he is currently travelling through the southern states. A verbal battle between the BJP and the Congress has been ongoing since the yatra got underway.

Gandhi has often emphasised that the Yatra is a fight against the BJP’s poor leadership. He has brought up concerns including unemployment, inflation, and women’s safety. However, following numerous polling failures over the past few years, the party is also focusing on the 2024 national elections during the mass contact programme.

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Assam CM’s three-day Chintan Shivir to start today

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Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma

The three-day Chintan Shivir, which is due to start today, will be attended by the Cheif Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma as well as all other ministers and senior secretaries of various state government agencies.

The state administration will talk about the departments’ ongoing activities during the brainstorming session. In the shivir, it is probable that the departments’ five-year plans and road map will be prepared.

In August of this year, a cabinet meeting presided over by the CM decided to organise the three-day shivir.

Around 2 pm, the Chief Minister of Assam will attend the Chintan Shivir’s opening session.

All of the BJP’s ministers and legislators from its ally party are likely to attend the Chintan Shivir.

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News

Resort of BJP leader’s son arrested for 19-year-old’s murder demolished at midnight

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Chief Minister Pushkar Dhami ordered the demolition of a resort owned by the accused amid outcry over the reported murder of a 19-year-old woman in Uttarakhand by a BJP leader’s son.

Abhinav Kumar, special principal secretary to the CM, said that demolition was underway at the Vanatara Resort in Rishikesh owned by Pulkit Arya on late Friday night on the orders of Dhami.

The son of Vinod Arya, a prominent BJP figure from Haridwar and a former leader of the Uttarakhand Mati Kala Board, is Pulkit Arya.

Three individuals, including Arya, were arrested on Friday for the alleged murder of a woman who worked as a receptionist at his resort on Chilla Road in the Yamkeshwar region. In Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand, the woman went missing earlier this week, according to authorities.

Arya was arrested along with Saurabh Bhaskar (35) and Ankit Gupta (19) and all of them have confessed to the crime, police added.

Bhaskar was a manager at the resort, and Gupta was his assistant, according to senior superintendent of police (SSP) Yashwant Singh of Pauri Garhwal.

The senior police officer said Arya on September 20 had approached police with a missing complaint to mislead the investigation.

But once the victim’s father was approached by the woman’s friend with a WhatsApp message implying the trio’s involvement, he began to wonder about Arya and the staff’s involvement.

“During the course of investigation, police learnt the accused and the woman had gone to Rishikesh on Sunday. While on their way back, Pulkit and the woman entered into an argument following which the accused threw her into a canal in Chilla,” the SSP said.

The victim’s body was found in the Chilla Canal, and her relatives were contacted to identify it, according to a representative for the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF).

The BJP leader’s son had pressurized Ankita to enter into prostitution, a police officer said who did not want to be named.

The accused have been booked under Sections 302 (murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

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Policy & Politics

20th Meeting of Prosecutors General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States organized at Astana, Kazakhstan

Tarun Nangia

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20th Meeting of Prosecutors General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States organized at Astana, Kazakhstan

The 20th Meeting of Prosecutors General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States was held on 23rd September, 2022 in Astana, Kazakhstan. The Indian delegation attended the meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan under the leadership of:-
Tushar Mehta, Learned Solicitor General of India, Department of Legal Affairs
Dr. Anju Rathi Rana, Additional Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs
As precursor to the event on 23rd September, 2022 Dr. Anju Rathi Rana, Additional Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Law & Justice attended the Meeting of the Experts Group for the 20th Meeting of the Prosecutors General of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States on 8th and 13th September, 2022. The Meeting of the Experts Group reaffirmed strengthening of cooperation at bilateral and multilateral levels between SCO Member States. The Experts group discussed issues pertaining to the growth of transnational economic crime in the world and thier experience of recovery of proceeds of crime from the states. The discussion between the Member States was held in a constructive and friendly atmosphere fostering the spirit of mutual trust and understanding.
The 20th Meeting of Prosecutors General was attended by the Solicitor General of the Republic of India Shri Tushar Mehta, Prosecutor General of the Republic of Kazakhstan Asylov B.N., Prosecutor of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate of the People’s Republic of China Zhang Jun, Prosecutor General of the Kyrgyz Republic Zulushev K.T., Additional Attorney-General of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Rashdeen Nawaz Kasuri, Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Krasnov I.V., Prosecutor General of the Republic of Tajikistan Rakhmon Yu.A., Prosecutor General of the Republic of Uzbekistan Yuldashev N.T. and the SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming.
A Protocol incorporating the deliberations of the 20th meeting of Prosecutors General of the SCO Member States was signed and adopted by the SCO Member States. The salient features of the Protocol are as under:
To strengthen cooperation between the Prosecutor General’s Offices of the SCO Member States with respect to the recovery of the proceeds of crime particularly in money laundering.
To develop cooperation between the prosecutor’s offices of the SCO member states at international institutions and forums on issues related to combating economic crimes like money laundering, search, seizure and recovery of the proceeds of crime from states.
To use the forums of bilateral and multilateral gatherings to discuss about ways to strengthen the systems in place to combat economic crimes particularly money laundering.
To continue the exchanging of information on domestic laws governing seach seizure and recovery of proceeds of crime. State’s experiences in their prevention as well as references, methodological, information-analytical, scientific and other materials in the field of combating economic crimes.
To develop cooperation between the Prosecutors General offices of the SCO member states in the field of training and advanced training of prosecutors and employees of other law enforcement agencies whose competence includes issues of combating economic crimes.
To conduct and participate in bilateral and multilateral events on combating economic crimes, search, seizure and recovery of proceeds of crime from states.
Addressing the eminent gathering of Prosecutors General from SCO Member States, Tushar Mehta, Learned Solicitor General of India highlighted the initiatives taken by the Government of India to address Transnational Economic Crimes internationally by the ratification of two UN Conventions; the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNCTOC) and its three protocols and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). At the national level in order to stop the threat of Transnational Economic Crimes, India has implemented a number of legislative measures over the years to prevent, detect, and penalise money laundering by specialised legislation namely Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA), Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA), The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 (FEOA) and the Companies Act, 2013.
Tushar Mehta also underlined the vital role of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties/Agreements for the cases where it is necessary to gather information and conduct formal investigations abroad with the help of foreign government, when the accused person(s) has fled the country after committing a crime, or when a part or the entire crime was committed outside the country.
In order to seek aid in pursuing such crimes India has signed Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements to request assistance in investigating such crimes. India has signed Extradition Treaties/Agreements with 47 and 11 countries respectively and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties/Agreements with 42 nations to seek assistance in the investigation of such instances.
In his concluding remarks, Shri Tushar Mehta, Learned Solicitor General of India, expressed his gratitude to all participating member states and urged them to work together to broaden the scope of the activities of the forum and eliminate the threat of transnational economic crimes by enhancing mutual trust, understanding, cooperation and communication between the member states.
The next (21st) meeting of the Prosecutors General of the SCO Member States will be held in the People’s Republic of China in 2023.

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Policy & Politics

India’s Rice availability position is comfortable

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India’s Rice availability position is comfortable

With the amendment in export policy of Broken Rice from “free” to Prohibited”, Government of India has successfully ensured domestic food security, availability of domestic feed for poultry and cattle feed, while keeping a check over inflation as well as domestic price of rice.
Export policy of broken rice has been amended in order to ensure adequate availability of broken rice for consumption by domestic poultry industry and for other animal feedstock; and to produce ethanol for successful implementation of EBP (Ethanol Blending Programme) program.
Due to various reasons, there was need for amending the Policy.
Domestic price of broken rice, which was Rs. 16/Kg in the open market has increased to about Rs. 22/Kg in States because of exports due to higher international prices. Poultry sector and animal husbandry farmers were impacted the most due to price hike of feed ingredients as about 60-65% inputs cost for poultry feed comes from broken Rice and any increase in prices will be reflected in poultry products like Milk, Egg, Meat etc. which resulted in food inflation.
There has been a rise in global demand for broken rice due to geo-political scenario which has impacted price movement of commodities including those related to animal feed. The export of broken rice has increased by more than 43 times in past 4 years (21.31 LMT exported from April-August, 2022 compared to 0.41 LMT in the same period in 2018-19).
The export share of Broken Rice significantly increased to 22.78% as compared to the 1.34% corresponding period of 2019. From the year 2018-19 (FY) to 2021-22 (FY) export of Total Broken Rice increased by 319%.
Some countries (who never imported broken rice from India) have tapped into Indian market to exploit the situation at the cost of Indian consumers.
The government has not made any changes in the policy relating to par-boiled rice (HS CODE = 1006 30 10) and Basmati rice (HS CODE = 1006 30 20).
Parboiled Rice and Basmati Rice constitute around 55% of total rice export from India. So, the farmers will continue to get good remunerative prices and dependent/vulnerable countries will have adequate availability of par-boiled rice as India has significant share in the global rice export.
In domestic production, 60-70 LMT estimated production loss was earlier anticipated. Now, production loss of 40-50 LMT is expected and production output is not expected to be higher this year but only at par with previous year.
Notably, 217.31 LMT rice is in Government buffer stock which is higher than the buffer stock norm. In the upcoming Kharif Season, 510 LMT and in Rabi Season, 100 LMT of rice will be procured. The buffer stock maintained by the country is more than enough to meet the demand for the public distribution system. The Government intervention by prohibiting export of broken rice and imposing 20% duty on the export of basmati and non-par boiled rice will further help in containing the situation.
India commands 40% share in the global rice trade, exported 21.23 MMT of rice in 2021-22 fiscal as against 17.78 MMT in the previous year. Due to the current geo-political situation, the international price of rice was lucrative leading to high export of rice as compared to previous year.
Due to surplus stock of rice, the domestic price of rice will be under control as compared to international market and neighbouring countries where the price is comparatively high. The percentage increase in the MSP of paddy in last year was 5.15% (Rs.2040/qtl. in 2022-23 and Rs. 1940/qtl. in 2021-22). The actual increase in price of rice is around 3%, due to increase in MSP and other input costs. The domestic price of rice is in comfortable position and the prices will remain well under control.
All India Domestic Wholesale prices of Rice and Wheat decreased by 0.08% and 0.43% respectively over the week. Retail price of Sugar is showing a decrease of 0.19% over the week.

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