Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, a well-known academic and an efficient Ayurveda doctor, is the new special secretary in the Ministry of AYUSH. This is for the first time that a specialist has been appointed take charge of affairs at the ministry since its inception. The former vice-chancellor of Jamnagar-based Gujarat Ayurveda University was awarded the Padma Shri in the year 2015. He talks to Ninu Susan Abraham in an email interview about his new position and his vision for the future of AYUSH. Excerpts from the interview:
Question: You are the first Ayurveda expert with vast experience in teaching and practising the ancient medical system to become the new Special Secretary at AYUSH, please share your thoughts for our readers on this new position?
I understand the level of my responsibility. I feel honoured for the trust in me by the Government of India. There are lot of expectations from the sector which is normal. India will use my experience and exposure to deliver.
How do you think your experience as Vice Chancellor of Gujarat Ayurveda University will help in your new role?
I am sure that my experience as Vice Chancellor of Gujarat Ayurveda University will help me a lot to visualise my work in this bigger platform.
As special secretary, what is your vision and mission for AYUSH?
My main focus will be to bring in transparency and quality in all sectors of AYUSH.
How do you think your new role can help in the promotion of Ayurveda in India and overseas?
The Ministry of AYUSH has already a very good track record of various activities of promotion of AYUSH systems in India and overseas. I will do my best to attract more investments in the sector, quality education and integration of AYUSH systems in public health as an important part of National Health Policy in our country. For overseas, I will focus on quality improvement in practices, research and export of AYUSH products to different countries of the world. Also, formal recognition of AYUSH system of health in different countries will also be my agenda to work on.
Will there be a time when Ayurveda is treated at par with modern medicine? Is this a very distant dream?
I do not think that it is a distant dream. AYUSH system of health and modern medicine, both have their own specialties. As a science, both have tremendous potential to contribute to public health. So, in place of thinking of AYUSH as competitor of modern medicine, integration of all systems of health in the overall improvement of the health of the people of the nation should be considered.
Finally, your thoughts to our readers regarding Ayurveda and why they should follow this most ancient medical system originated in India.
AYUSH systems are not just a science of medicine where you take some pills for some illness and as an individual there is no responsibility towards our own health. AYUSH looks at health from a different perspective. We can call it whole system approach where an individual is required to take care of his / her overall health by adopting healthy ways of nutrition, lifestyle, exercise, appropriate sleep to stay qualitatively healthy till late age. With this approach, individual and community health can be qualitatively upgraded so that need of doctors and hospitals is less required for most of the time.