Petition Closed
Petitioning Hon. Defence Minister, Government of India Shri. A.K. Antony and 6 others

Include Ayurveda under Indian Armed Forces Medical Reimbursement Rules


PV Manesh, NSG Commando, saved 40 lives on 26/11 in Mumbai in an act of selfless service, but a grenade blast left the right side of his body paralysed.  Manesh, a Shaurya Chakra awardee, regained his speech and certain degree of independent mobility after undergoing classical Ayurveda therapies, but is now forced to pay his medical bills as the Director General,  of Armed Forces Medical Services has stated his inability before the Hon. Delhi High Court to include Ayurveda for the purpose of reimbursement of medical expenses to Indian Armed Forces personnel.

What the court said?

Following media reports in 2011, a public interest litigation was filed in the Delhi High Court, the division bench directed the Centre to frame guidelines for compensation to defence personnel who wished to avail treatment under Ayurveda system of medicine.

The court also directed the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to frame guidelines relating to medical treatment and reimbursement within three months, in consultation with the heads of all three defence forces.

What does the army say ?

The Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services stated his inability before the Hon. Delhi High Court to include Ayurveda (Indian Systems of Medicine) for the purpose of reimbursement of medical expenses to Indian Armed Forces personnel. Needless to say, it is a sad day when a most powerful living medical tradition that serves the needs of millions of people is disregarded in the country of its origin and practice.

What are we demanding :

The "INCLUDE AYURVEDA" petition demands the intervention of the Hon. Defence Minister, Government of India, and the Chiefs of Staff of the Army, Navy, and Airforce to constitute a special committee/ task-force made up of relevant stakeholders from within the armed forces as well as from the Ayurveda medical services sector to formulate clear guidelines for inclusion of Ayurveda under authorised medical reimbursement for (serving and retired) members of the Indian armed forces and implement the same at the earliest.

What does the petition seek to redress

This petition is realistic in its expectations. We do not say that Ayurveda can be the treatment of choice for all diseases- it depends on the roga(disease), and the roga-rogi awastha or disease-patient status. We can understand that the defence establishment has very complex and sensitive issues to address and how Ayurveda medical care is provided for has to be carefully planned taking into account these multiple factors. We respect that genuine concerns and constraints may exist- some real, some based on ignorance of what Ayurveda is capable of, and perhaps also because of inertia (resistance to change).

AYURVEDA- RESURGENCE AS A MAINSTREAM MEDICAL SYSTEM:

Ayurveda is approved by CGHS, SGHS, and by many of the medical insurance companies. RSBY, the flagship GoI scheme to cover BPL citizens of the country under a comprehensive medical insurance scheme is soon expected to cover Ayurveda too. NABH accreditation as applicable for Allopathic hospitals is now possible for Ayurveda hospitals too and in fact there are several Ayurveda hospitals that are already NABH accredited in different parts of the country.

We only want that the guidelines be framed in a judicious and time-bound manner so that AYURVEDA PLAYS AN APPROPRIATE AND VALID role in non-emergency medical conditions where it has time tested remedies and we are given an opportunity to serve our brothers and sisters in the Indian armed forces and their families. 

Letter to
Hon. Defence Minister, Government of India Shri. A.K. Antony
Hon. Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Government of India Shri. Ghulam Nabi Azad
Chief of Army Staff General Bikram Singh
and 4 others
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma
Director General, Armed Forces Medical Services Lt. Gen. Mandeep Singh
Secretary, Department of AYUSH, Government of India Shri. Anil Kumar
I just signed the following petition addressed to: Hon. Defence Minister, Government of India:

"INCLUSION OF AYURVEDA UNDER INDIAN ARMED FORCES MEDICAL REIMBURSEMENT RULES"

OBJECTIVE:
We seek the intervention of the Hon. Defence Minister, Government of India, and the Chiefs of Staff of the Army, Navy, and Airforce to constitute a special committee/ task-force made up of relevant stakeholders from within the armed forces as well as from the Ayurveda medical services sector to formulate clear guidelines by 31st December, 2012 for inclusion of Ayurveda under authorised medical reimbursement for (serving and retired) members of the Indian armed forces and implement the same by 31st March 2013.

ISSUES AT STAKE:
There are two points of principle at stake in the "INCLUDE AYURVEDA" campaign:

i. complementing modern medicine (not mixing) with Ayurveda to comprehensively serve the healthcare needs of (serving and retired) Indian defense personnel and their families, and
ii. zero tolerance to negative bias towards Ayurveda medical science in the country of its origin and primary practice

CONTEXT:
A recent news article in the Daily Pioneer (http://dailypioneer.com/home/online-channel/360-todays-newspaper/71885-2611-braveheart-left-to-fend-for-himself.html ) throws light on the entire episode wherein the Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services stated his inability before the Hon. Delhi High Court to include Ayurveda (Indian Systems of Medicine) for the purpose of reimbursement of medical expenses to Indian Armed Forces personnel. Needless to say, it is a sad day when a most powerful living medical tradition that serves the needs of millions of people is disregarded in the country of its origin and practice.

AYURVEDA- RESURGENCE AS A MAINSTREAM MEDICAL SYSTEM:
Ayurveda is approved by CGHS, SGHS, and by many of the medical insurance companies. RSBY, the flagship GoI scheme to cover BPL (poor) citizens of the country under a comprehensive medical insurance scheme is soon expected to cover Ayurveda too. NABH accreditation as applicable for Allopathic hospitals is now possible for Ayurveda hospitals too and in fact there are several Ayurveda hospitals that are already NABH accredited in different parts of the country. Increasingly, people are realising the benefits of root-cause diagnosis and management provided by Ayurveda with virtually no side effects. There are over 300,000 professionally qualified Ayurveda doctors in the country and over 14,000 fresh graduates and post-graduates passing out each year. The Ayurveda sector is a mature one spanning public and private endeavour. Ayurveda is India's national medical science. Post independence it had languished but is now resurgently claiming its position as a proven medical science capable of meeting the highest clinical standards and process-quality-documentation standards expected from a modern healthcare system.

'OSTRICH LIKE RESPONSE FROM THE AFMS'
Rather than consider the Delhi High Court's directive as a welcome opportunity to seriously consider how Ayurveda can be co-opted in the overall scheme of medical care provision for the armed forces of India the DG-AFMS has blatantly ignored Ayurveda medical science and its time tested therapeutic capabilities as well as potential health benefits to the primary stakeholder- the Indian armed forces personnel and their families. It is beyond reason to imagine that serving and retired defense personnel and their families do not require the excellent treatments available for both secondary and tertiary prevention of various chronic diseases, and in particular the proven ability of Ayurveda in the area of rehabilitation of various kinds (neurological, musculo-skeletal, wound healing, and other). The reasons quoted by the DG-AFMS in his submission could be easily addressed in a time bound fashion if there was indeed an intent and willingness to do so.

WHAT DOES THE PETITION SEEK TO REDRESS?
This petition is realistic in its expectations. We do not say that Ayurveda can be the treatment of choice for all diseases- it depends on the roga(disease), and the roga-rogi awastha or disease-patient status. We can understand that the defence establishment has very complex and sensitive issues to address and how Ayurveda medical care is provided for has to be carefully planned taking into account these multiple factors. We respect that genuine concerns and constraints may exist- some real, some based on ignorance of what Ayurveda is capable of, and perhaps also because of inertia (resistance to change). We only want that the guidelines be framed in a judicious and time-bound manner so that AYURVEDA PLAYS AN APPROPRIATE AND VALID role in non-emergency medical conditions where it has time tested remedies and we are given an opportunity to serve our brothers and sisters in the Indian armed forces and their families.

TIME TO ACT:
It will be a shame that sixty years after independence this day has come to pass where the Indian Armed Forces repudiates the validity and relevance of the India’s national system of medicine- Ayurveda, in seemingly cavalier fashion without demonstrating serious intent to examine the matter and see when, where, and how Ayurveda can be incorporated into the medical services corp of the Indian Armed Forces.

We request our Hon. Defense Minister, Shri A.K. Antony and the three respected Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces of India to intervene, and render appropriate and transparent justice in arriving at a decision in this matter of national pride and significance.  

Sincerely,
[Your name]