New Delhi: Admissions to courses in alternative medicine, such as ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy, may soon be through a common examination, along the lines of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).

The Upper House on Monday introduced the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill (NCISMB) and the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill (NCHB), which aim to bring transparency to alternative medicine streams. The cabinet had on Friday approved both the bills.

The NCISMB proposes a common entrance exam and an exit exam, which all graduates will have to clear to get licences to practise. A teacher’s eligibility test has also been proposed in the bill to assess the standard of teachers before appointment and promotions.

The proposed legislation is aimed at bringing reforms in Indian medicine education in line with the National Medical Commission proposed to be set up for the allopathy system of medicine. The bill seeks to replace the existing regulator, Central Council for Indian Medicine, with a new body to ensure transparency.

The proposed bill also provides for the constitution of a national commission with four autonomous boards entrusted with conducting overall education. Education in ayurveda would be under the Board of Ayurveda and that of unani, siddha and sowarigpa under the Board of Unaini, Siddha and Sowarigpa.

There are two common boards—the board of assessment and rating to assess and grant permission to educational institutions of Indian systems of medicine and the board of ethics and registration of practitioners of Indian systems of medicine to maintain a national register and decide on ethical issues relating to practice under the National Commission for Indian Medicine (NCIM).

The government has said that the proposed regulatory structure will enable transparency and accountability for protecting the interest of the general public. The NCIM will promote availability of affordable healthcare services in all parts of the country.

“The government is committed to promote Indian systems of medicine, from ayurveda and siddha to unani. However, it is equally important that we remain alive to having value addition in terms of eligibility, quality, in terms of having a system that produces quality practitioners and quality teachers," Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said on Friday.

The NCHB seeks to replace the existing regulator, the Central Council of Homoeopathy, with a new body to ensure transparency and accountability. The draft bill provides for constitution of a national commission with three autonomous boards entrusted with conducting overall education of homoeopathy by the Homoeopathy Education Board, according to an official statement.

“The board of assessment and rating to assess and grant permission to educational institutions of homoeopathy and the board of ethics and registration of practitioners of homoeopathy to maintain a national register and decide on ethical issues relating to practice are under the National Commission for Homoeopathy," it said

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