Beginning of Reforms: Lok Sabha passes bill to revamp homoeopathy council
New Delh: A bill seeking to replace the Central Council of Homoeopathy (CCH) with a board of governors and aimed at bringing accountability and quality in homoeopathy education system was passed by the Lok Sabha today.Replying to the debate on the Homeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill 2018, Aayush Minister Shripad Yesso Naik assured the Lower House that the government would come up...
Replying to the debate on the Homeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill 2018, Aayush Minister Shripad Yesso Naik assured the Lower House that the government would come up with comprehensive bills to promote homeopathy, Ayurveda and Siddha.
The Bill, which seeks to replace an Ordinance promulgated by the President in May, was approved by a voice vote after the House rejected several unofficial amendments while Congress member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury withdrew his statutory resolution disapproving the ordinance.
The government, the Minister said, will reconstitute the CCH within a year and restore the democratic process.
During the debate, Opposition members questioned the ordinance route taken by the government to bring the amendment in the 1973 Homoeopathic Council Act and "undermine" Parliament's powers and asked it to explain the "extraordinary situation" which compelled them to do so.
In his reply, Naik said the government had to come out a law to abolish the CCH as it did not have powers to deal with the erring chief and other members who faced grave charges of corruption.
The CCH chief was arrested by the CBI for allegedly accepting bribe of Rs 20 lakhs as part payment for granting approval to a homoeopathy college.
On the urgency to come up with an ordinance, the Minister said the government had to adopt the ordinance route to ensure that academic sessions at homeopathic colleges start on time.
As per the bill, the members of the board of governor will replace the existing functionaries of the CCH and comprise seven eminent homeopathy practitioners and administrators who will be appointed by the government.
Participating in the debate, K Kamaraj (AIADMK) questioned the intent of the government to bring the ordinance and said when the standing committee had made the recommendation to amend the Act in 2015, what was the reason for a delay of three years and then taking the ordinance route.
He asked the Minister to explain the "extraordinary situation" that led to the government to bring the ordinance "undermining the power of Parliament".
"What is the guarantee that Board of Governors which will replace the CCH will correct all anomalies," Kamaraj said.
When allegation of misappropriation and corruption against members and president of CCH were made in 2016, the government had enough time of one and a half years to bring amendments through Parliament, Rabindra Kumar Jena (BJD) said.
He said the government had enough power under the existing Act to supersede the CCH if it was not functioning properly.
P Ravindra Babu (TDP) said the government has made a "mockery of Parliament" by bringing ordinance even though there was no extraordinary situation.
Ratna De (TMC) also wondered what was the urgency to bring the ordinance. She asked the government to include eminent homoeopathic doctors in the board of governor.
Shrikant Shinde (Shiv Sena) asked the government to constitute comprehensive commission for alternative medicines on lines of Allopathic medicine.
Karan Singh Yadav (Congress), Dhanajay Mhadik (NCP), Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav (RJD) N K Premachandran (Revolutionary Socialist Party) also questioned the use of the ordinance route to bring in the legislation.
Yadav said attempts were being made to make the council a "rubber stamp" and "toe the government line".
Accusing the government of saffronisation, the Alwar Congress MP said the government has already resorted to lateral entry by appointing a person as the secretary in the ministry who is not a civil servant.
Yadav said instead of bringing the ordinance, the bill should have been referred to a select committee.
Nihalchand (BJP) said his constituency has been reporting increasing number of cancer patients and demanded that a central government team be sent to look into the matter.
Meghna A Singhania is the founder and Editor-in-Chief at Medical Dialogues. An Economics graduate from Delhi University and a post graduate from London School of Economics and Political Science, her key research interest lies in health economics, and policy making in health and medical sector in the country.She is a member of the Association of Healthcare Journalists. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact no. 011-43720751