WriteUps By Amritpal Singh
M.D. (Doctor of Medicine in Ayurveda) or Ayurveda Vachaspati is the three-year master's course in the Indian medical system of Ayurveda. MD/MS (Ayurveda) is offered in many Ayurvedic colleges in India and abroad. The selection to the MD/MS (Ayurveda) course is generally done by a competitive National level written entrance examination which is called AIAPGET - All India AYUSH Post Graduate Entrance Test, which is open to candidates with B.A.M.S degree.
MD/MS (Ayurveda) is offered in fifteen distinct disciplines and post graduate education is governed by NCISM Act, 2021. Before NCISM Act, 2021, Indian Medicine Central Council (Post Graduate Ayurveda Education) Amendment Regulations, 2020 was governing post graduate education in Ayurveda. Ayurveda Vachaspati (M.D. -Ayurveda )- Dravya Guna Vigyana and Ayurveda Vachaspati (M.D. -Ayurveda)- Rasa Shastra are the post graduate qualifications relevant for pharmaceutical purpose. Dravya Guna Vigyana is addressed as Herbal Materiaa Medica and Pharmacology and Rasa Shastra as Indian alchemy or latrochemistry.
Recently, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Educational and Research, Mohali has invited application for Technical Supervisor Grade-I/Scientist Grade-I vide Advt. No. 03/2023 dated 04.03.2023. Essential Qualification and experience has been fixed as M.Sc. in Biotechnology/Chemistry with 55% marks with six years post M.Sc. research/teaching experience or M. Pharm. with four year post M.Pharm. Research/teaching experience.
Desirable requirement is Ph.D. in Natural Products/Biochemical Engineering/Biomedical Engineering/Biotechnology or M. Tech in Chemical Engineering/Fermentation Technology. Candidates having experience in development of Nutraceutical and Phytopharmaceutical products, AYUSH formulations, Standardization and Pharmacological evaluation of herbal drugs/AYUSH drugs and Isolation and Characterization of Natural Products from medicinal plants shall be given preference.
Earlier, application for faculty positions-Assistant professor (Advt. No.08/2021 dated 26.06.2021) was advertised. Ph.D. was the essential qualification and desirable requirement was Post-doctoral research experience in Ayurvedic and allied sciences. Experience in Rasashastra/Dravyaguna/Ayurvedic pharmacy (formulations), pre clinical/clinical evaluation of traditional medicine formulations, AYUSH Pharmaceutical Research, Standardization of herbal drugs/traditional medicine formulations using modern techniques with markers. A candidate with Ayurveda / traditional medicine experience will be preferred.
For the post of Technical Supervisor Gr-I/Scientist Gr-I: Traditional Medicines as per recruitment advertisement No 02/2009 issued by National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Mohali. Educational qualification and Experience was MD in Ayurvedic Medicine with two years of experience in relevant field. As per Rolling Advertisements No.20/2010, and 06/2010 and Advertisement.No.12/2013, applicant for assistant professor -Traditional Medicines under in Discipline of Chemical Sciences were invited and PhD in Ethno medicine was the essential qualification.
It is worthwhile here that Traditional Medicines has been surprisingly omitted in advertisements No.08/2021 dated 26.06.2021 and No. 03/2023 dated 04.03.2023. Whereas, Traditional Medicines has been clearly mentioned in advertisements No 02/2009, Rolling Advertisements No.20/2010, and 06/2010 and Advertisement.No.12/2013 and clear-cut demarcation between traditional medicine and natural products was evident as far as educational qualification and experience are concerned. Further, MD in Ayurvedic Medicine and Ph.D in Ethnomedicine have been a missing link in essential qualifications in advertisements No. 03/2023 dated 04.03.2023 and No.08/2021 dated 26.06.2021.
The decision of omitting MD in Ayurvedic Medicine as essential qualification for the post of Technical Supervisor Gr-I/Scientist Gr-I must be reversed and Traditional Medicine should be incorporated in the advertisements. It is worthwhile that B.A.M.S degree from a recognized university is eligible for appearing in entrance test leading to admission in M.S. (Traditional Medicine). Besides, B.A.M.S degree B.Pharm/MSc. (Botany) degrees are also eligibility requirements for the purpose of admission.
Traditional medicine course was initiated in 2007 by National Institute of Pharmaceutical Educational and Research, Mohali and till to students are being admitted every year. Initially, the proposed M.S. programme was in AYUSH/Traditional medicine but finally Traditional medicine was finalized. Traditional medicine is universally accepted term and has global significance. AYUSH on other hand has been limited to domestic level but gaining momentum gradually at global level.
In response to the article “Current status of MS traditional medicine course” published in 2017, Dr USN Murty, Director NIPER Mohali (Officiating) responded with following words “This is a thought provoking article that has thrown light on the hidden importance of the Traditional Medicine course. I strongly feel that this course is not only helpful in bringing out the masked info on Traditional Medicine but also explore the doctoral programs in NIPER system. I strongly suggest that MS (Traditional Medicine) course must be inducted in all NIPERs especially in NIPER Guwahati where it is more relevant due to the richest biodiversity of North East region. I hope DoP (department of personnel) will support our future programs. “Enhancing popularity of MS (Pharm) traditional medicine course” is another article published in 2019 throwing light on potential of traditional medicine.
The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2021
The Standing Committee on Chemicals and Fertilizers (2020-2021) noted that specialization programme on Natural Products is conducted by NIPERs at Mohali, Ahamedabad, Hyderabad and Kolkata and specialization programme on traditional medicine is conducted by Mohali NIPER only. The Standing Committee on Chemicals and Fertilizers (2020-2021) recommended that the programmes on Natural Products and traditional medicine further strengthened in coordination with the Ministry of AYUSH. The Department also considered introducing the Programme on traditional medicine in other NIPERs as well. Likewise, the course on natural products may also be conducted in all the NIPERs.
Keeping in mind the The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2021 Ayurvedic qualification duly recognized by Central Council of Indian Medicine (Second schedule of the IMCC Act, 1970) or National Commission of Indian Medicine (Section 35 of NCISM Act, 2021) must be retained as essential qualification for the purpose of scientist or faculty position for traditional medicine.
With concept of integrative medicine rapidly catching up at international level and steps taken by Central government for global promotion of AYUSH, deletion of Ayurvedic qualification for the purpose of employment in NIPER can be seen as a retrogressive step. Traditional medicine has roots in Ayurveda and syllabus has good amount of portion related to Ayurvedic principles and practices and pharmacy.
Apparently, Ayurvedic qualification for the purpose of employment in NIPER seems to be arbitrary but there must be some basis of selecting MD Ayurveda qualification for the post of Technical Supervisor Gr-I/Scientist Gr-I: Traditional Medicines as per recruitment advertisement No 02/2009. Now omission of MD Ayurveda qualification besides traditional medicine is surprising in latest advertisements. Similarly for the post of applicant for assistant professor -Traditional Medicines under in Discipline of Chemical Sciences PhD in Ethno medicine was the essential qualification.
In our opinion, a course having B.A.M.S (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery) degree as eligibility criteria for appearing in entrance test leading to admission in M.S. (Traditional Medicine) and lack of Ayurveda faculty is not in contrast. If there is some basis of omission of MD Ayurveda qualification, then B.A.M.S degree as eligibility criteria for appearing in entrance test leading to admission in MS. (Traditional Medicine) should also be removed.
The purpose of the article is just an attempt for retaining M.D.Ayurveda qualification as essential qualification for traditional medicine course. With new disciplines Ayurvedic biology and genomics making in roars in Ayurvedic curriculum and PGIMER, Chandigarh including Ayurveda in M.B.B.S course syllabus, NIPER must reconsider the decision.