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CCIM's 2020 amendment allows Ayurveda postgraduate students to perform surgeries.

The notification clarifies the relevant provisions in the previously existing regulations of 2016. There have been no changes in the 2016 regulation.

On Nov. 19, 2020, the Central Council of Indian Medicine issued a gazette notification for Ayurveda post-graduate students, which made amendments to the Indian Medicine Central Council (PG Ayurveda Education) Regulations of 2016. Currently, the regulations formulated in 2016 are in force. The 2016 regulations allow postgraduate students to specialize in Shalya Tantra, Shalakya Tantra, and Prasuti evam Stree Roga (Obstetrics and Gynecology), the three disciplines involving major surgical interventions. Students of these three disciplines are granted MS (Master in Surgery in Ayurveda) degrees.

The 'Indian Medicine Central Council (Post Graduate Ayurveda Education) Amendment Regulations, 2020' listed 58 surgical procedures the students of Post Graduate Education in Ayurveda should practically train in to acquaint with during their study period and later be able to perform independently. Shalya Tantra (general surgery) and Shalakya Tantra (disease of the eye, ear, nose, throat, head, and or dentistry) are the two streams this notification relates to. Apart from the listed 58 procedures, the Shalya and Shalakya Postgraduates would not handle any other surgeries.

While the notification of 2016 stipulated that the students shall undergo "training of investigative procedures, techniques and surgical performance of procedures and management in the respective specialty," the details of these techniques, procedures, and surgical performance were laid down in the syllabus of respective PG courses issued by CCIM, and not the regulation per se; which have been done now.

The notification invited sharp criticism from the Indian Medical Association, which questioned Ayurveda practitioners' competence to carry out these procedures, and called the notification an attempt at “mixopathy.” IMA doctors insist that they are not opposed to the practitioners of the ancient system of medicine. But they say the new notification somehow gave the impression that the Ayurveda doctor's skills or training in performing modern surgeries are the same as those practicing modern medicine. Rajan Sharma, national president, IMA, finds this misleading and “encroachment into the jurisdiction and competencies of modern medicine.”

Later on Nov. 22, 2020, the Ayush ministry issued a clarification regarding the amendment saying " the present clarification was issued in the over-all public interest by CCIM by bringing the said details into the regulation. Hence this does not signify any policy shift."

It also said All scientific advances, including standardized terminologies, are inheritances of the entire mankind. No individual or group has a monopoly over these terminologies. Hence the use of modern terminology was required. Ministry further added that "the question of “mixing” of Ayurveda with Conventional (Modern) Medicine does not arise here as CCIM is deeply committed to maintaining the authenticity of Indian systems of medicine and is against any such "mixing.”

Since the beginning, Shalya and Shalakya are independent Departments in Ayurveda colleges, performing such surgical procedures. The surgeries mentioned in the notification are all that are already part of the Ayurveda course. "The skill sets have been defined. This will remove question marks on the ability of an Ayurveda practitioner,” Hemantha Kumar of the Jaipur-based National Institute of Ayurveda said.

Hence the claim that Ayurveda postgraduate students are now being allowed to perform surgeries after the fresh amendment is misleading.

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