On 22 September, President Ram Nath Kovind signed the National Commission for Homeopathy Act, 2020. The act aims to standardise homeopathy education and practice in India and promote national-health goals. However, the act makes no substantive moves to check malpractice already rampant in alternative medicine in India.
The act’s preamble lays out goals of making homeopathy “accessible and affordable to all citizens,” while promoting “equitable and universal healthcare that encourages community health perspective.” A report on the bill by the parliamentary standing committee on health and family welfare, as well as comments from state governments and AYUSH associations from different parts of the country, also said more specifically that the new act should popularise homeopathy, make the services of homeopathy accessible in rural and tribal areas, and make up for shortages of healthcare staff. But public-health observers have pointed out that traditional systems of medicine do not need promotion in India but need to be regulated—which the act does not have adequate provisions to do.
The act repealed the Central Council for Homeopathy Act, 1973, which had set up an elected council that was the sole statutory body responsible for regulating homeopathy education and practice in India. The council also had the power to approve new and upcoming homeopathy-education institutions. Besides the new homeopathy act, the government also secured passage of the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Act, 2020—which aims to regulate the education and practice of indigenous medical systems, mainly ayurveda—during the monsoon session of parliament.