Various private entites have sought the central government’s permission to open 39 Ayurveda colleges in the state of Uttar Pradesh, according to data obtained from the ministry of alternative medicine or AYUSH.
Uttar Pradesh is already home to 48 out of the country’s 341 Ayurveda colleges.
Ayurveda, literally the study of life, is the traditional medicine of India, and utilizes substances obtained from plants, animals and nature to remove imbalances in the human body and make it healthy.
It is seen as slower-acting, but more benign compared to modern medicine as it tends to have fewer unintended side-effects.
Many Indians also consumer food supplements and ointments created on the basis of ancient Ayurvedic texts in their daily lives.
Besides this, Ayuveda is also seen as an alternate career. Medical courses in India cost tens of lakhs (millions) of rupees due to a scarcity of seats.
Many of those who fail to qualify for a seat in conventional medical colleges often consider becoming an Ayurvedic doctor by completing the five-year course.
Moreover, interest in the practice — which largely restricted to certain areas like Kerala — has seen a revival across India in recent years due to the rise of ‘alternate medicine’ evangelists like Baba Ramdev who combine Yogic practices and Ayurveda to offer alternate therapies for common ailments.
Including the 39 applications for Uttar Pradesh, a total of 108 applications to open such colleges are pending with the center.
The second highest number of applications are from Rajasthan, where 13 such institutions are sought to be established, followed by Gujarat with 12 and Madhya Pradesh with 10.
The ministry of alternate medicine or AYUSH promotes Ayurveda, Siddha, Homoeopathy and Unani. Unani refers to traditional medicine from ancient Ionia, which reached India via Muslim conquerors.