AUTHOR- HARSHITA SAXENA*
EDITOR- SHUVASMITA NANDA
Homeopathy is a popular method of treatment in many European Countries and India. Derived from two Greek words, 'homois' meaning 'similar' and 'pathos' meaning 'suffering', the term Homeopathy is a medical system that was developed by a German physician Sammuel Hannemann in 1796. The basic principle of Homeopathy is "like cures like". Generally, it means that the thing that is causing disease can be, in a small amount, used for curing it. This term is in discussion since the Rajya Sabha has passed the National Commission for Homeopathy Bill, 2020 and the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2020 on 19th March 2020. Later on, the Lok Sabha approved them and made them into an act.
Before the introduction of National Homeopathy Act 2020, there was the Homeopathy Central Council Act, 1973. Its purpose was to establish a Central Council for promoting practice and education of homeopathy. The Central Council had functions, constitution, and regulation making-powers similar to the Medical Council of India. But the malfunctioning of the council had resulted in deteriorating quality of homeopathy education and healthcare services. Keeping this in mind, the National Commission for Homeopathy Act 2020 was proposed with some amendments. Its objective was to repeal the Homeopathy Central Council Act, 1973 and take its place.
~ Repealing of Homeopathy Central Council Act, 1973
The National Commission for Homeopathy Act, 2020 aims to repeal the former Homeopathy Central Council Act, 1973 and to take its place.
~ Institution of 'National Commission for Homeopathy' in place of 'Central Council for Homeopathy'
Constitution: The new commission, consisting of 29 members, is proposed to set up after removing the Central Council for Homeopathy. These 29 members will include a Chairperson, the President of the Board of Ayurveda, President of the Board of Unani, Siddha, and Sowa-Rigpa, and other members.
Functions: This commission is proposed to be established for the promotion of Homeopathic education and healthcare services. It will help in the regulation of Homeopathic hospitals, Healthcare centres and other medical professionals. It will also be responsible for framing new policies for the achievement of these goals in the country by providing human resources and infrastructure in the field of Homeopathy. The commission will coordinate with State Medical Councils of Homeopathy to work on these objectives.
~ Other Autonomous Boards and Councils
Homeopathy Education Board: This board will specifically focus on making various norms and conditions for creating homeopathic medical institutions, their educational programs, curriculums, determining the qualification of teachers, and it will provide recognition to the UG and PG students of homeopathy.
Medical Assessment and Rating Board for Homeopathy: This board will work on the examination of homeopathic medical institutions, defining the process of grading and ranking of the institutions and has the power to impose fines and penalties on the institutions which do not follow the guidelines set by the board.
Board of Ethics and Medical Registration for Homeopathy: This board has to maintain the record of all registered homeopathic medical practitioners. It will be recorded in a National Register. Unlicensed practitioners will not be allowed to practice homeopathy medicine as a profession.
Advisory Council for Homeopathy: The advisory council is required to advise and supervise the NCH (National Commission for Homeopathy) in the matters related to homoeopathic education. The council will discuss with the States and Union Territories and suggest their views and opinions to the NCH. This is how the Advisory Council will help in making policies according to the medical needs of the States and UTs.
~ Eligibility Criteria
According to this new act, a uniform National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test and an exit test will be conducted for under-graduates of homeopathy education in all Homeopathic medical institutions.
Additionally, there will be a National Teachers' Eligibility Test for the post-graduate students who aspire to teach homeopathy.
~ In the case of professional and ethical misconduct
In the case of professional and ethical misconduct by a licensed homeopathic practitioner, an individual can approach the State Medical Council. But if the medical practitioner is dissatisfied with the decision of the State Medical Council then they may appeal in the Board of Ethics and Medical Registration for Homeopathy. The Board of Ethics and Medical Registration for Homeopathy and the State Medical Council have the power to take strict action against the practitioner and can even impose a penalty.
If the practitioner is still aggrieved of the decision of the board he/she may approach the National Commission for Homeopathy. The appeal of the decision of the NCH lies with the central government.
To sum up, we can say that the government has initiated this step to amend the former act concerned with homeopathy to promote and improve this field in our country. Such steps will encourage people in this profession and facilitate medical services of homeopathy. This new act will ensure mandatory medical reforms in the field of homeopathy. Through this act, the alternative medical treatments in our country can be promoted. The regulatory boards and council will aim to facilitate homeopathy services at very affordable prices. The newly formed boards will help in the proper regulation of all the homeopathic medical health centers in the country. The National Council for Homeopathy will maintain a balance among different State Medical Councils and ensure coordination among them for creating tremendous opportunities and healthcare services in this field of homeopathy. The initiative of the National Register will ban the unlicensed homeopathic medical professionals and will keep an eye on their conduct.
As we can see, this act has been introduced to expand and cultivate the culture of homeopathic medicine in our country. It aims to provide high quality homeopathic medical treatment and highly qualified medical professionals in India.
"National Commission for Homeopathy Bill, 2019", Drishti IAS, (19 Mar 2020), https://www.drishtiias.com/daily-updates/daily-news-analysis/national-commission-for-homeopathy-bill-2019-1
Team Next IAS, "National Commission for Homeopathy Bill, 2020", NEXT IAS: A UNIT OF MADE EASY GROUP, (September 15, 2020), https://blog.nextias.com/national-commission-for-homoeopathy-bill-2020
*The Author is a 2nd year B.A.LLB (Hons) student at Jiwaji University Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh
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