Sonowal announces major initiatives to promote traditional medicinal practice in Sikkim & NE

Sunday, May 22, 2022 07:45 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, May 22, 2022 02:18 [IST]

Sonowal announces major initiatives to promote traditional medicinal practice in Sikkim & NE

GANGTOK, (IPR): The two-day-long National Workshop on Sowa-Rigpa for the Sowa-Rigpa practitioners from North Eastern States was formally inaugurated today at Manan Kendra here in the august presence of Governor Ganga Prasad as the chief guest.
The Governor who is also the president of Namgyal Institute of Tibetology (NIT), Sikkim was accompanied by Union Minister of AYUSH and Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Sarbananda Sonowal as special guest and Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang and MoS for AYUSH and Women & Child Development, Dr. Munjapara Mahendrabhai Kalubhai as guests of honour.
Organised by the National Institute of Sowa-Rigpa, Leh, Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India in collaboration with Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Sikkim, the workshop had the presence of minister of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Sikkim, Dr. M.K. Sharma, special secretary, Ministry of AYUSH, Pramod Kumar Pathak, secretary, NIT-Gangtok, Pema W. Rinzing, Advisor, Ayurveda, Dr. Manoj Nesari, and director, NISR-Leh, Dr. Padma Gurmet, along with State cabinet ministers, distinguished guests and officials and doctors, practitioners and students of Sowa Rigpa from different institutions of the country.
The programme started with the virtual inauguration of the Sowa Rigpa College building at NIT, Gangtok through the hands of the guest of honour Sarbananda Sonowal.
Addressing the gathering, special secretary, Ministry of AYUSH, Pramod Kumar Pathak, extended a warm welcome to all the guests and participants to the workshop on Sowa Rigpa, an ancient knowledge of healing. He said that the Ministry of Ayush, Government of India has not only officially accepted and recognised Sowa Rigpa as an 'Indian system of medicine' in 2010 but also streamlined its education and practices through the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970 which is now called the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Act, 2020. He stated that the ministry has been dedicated to the promotion of Sowa Rigpa across the globe and has also launched a Tribal Healthcare Project in Ladakh which covers a full-time Sowa-Rigpa Health Care Clinic at Zanskar Valley, Kargil and Sowa Rigpa Tribal Healthcare Research programme in Leh. He expressed hope that the workshop would act as a platform to generate significant deliberations which will further benefit a large number of Sowa Rigpa practitioners.
Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Sikkim, Dr. M.K. Sharma, in his address, said that the inauguration of the Sowa Rigpa institution today marks a historic milestone in the State's journey towards developing and strengthening Sowa Rigpa practice for public health. The establishment of the Sowa Rigpa College in Gangtok will help nurture areas of research and manpower, both of which are essential in providing Sowa Rigpa services to the common people. He extended gratitude to the Union minister and the Government of India for their invaluable support in building the thrust on the traditional medicine system of Sowa Rigpa in the State of Sikkim and further put forward a request for provision of a dedicated Sowa Rigpa Hospital in the State.
MoS for AYUSH and WCD, Dr. Munjapara Mahendrabhai Kalubhai said that there is a need to focus on capitalising on strengths in the traditional system of medicine as a potential reservoir of solutions for emerging health problems. He highlighted the initiatives of the Central government in bringing about a revolution in the healthcare system by promoting the traditional medicine system in the country and added that the UGC recognition of Bachelor of Sowa Rigpa Medicine & Surgery (BSRMS) last year as a new degree under Medicine & Surgery, Ayurveda, Unani, Homeopathy, and Health & Allied Sciences, Pharmacy, Paramedical, and Nursing is a stepping stone in achieving its goal. He added that the workshop will provide a platform for scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students to bridge the gap of loopholes in the Sowa Rigpa practices.
Addressing the gathering, Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang outlined the State government's lead towards the preservation and promotion of the Sowa-Rigpa system of medicine. He said that the traditional medicine system is engraved in the culture and traditions of Sikkim and that the people of the State have long practiced this system. This old-aged system, however, had been facing constraints due to a lack of a scientific and systematic approach towards it. With the establishment of the Sowa Rigpa institution, Sikkim will have the opportunity of standardising the traditional medicine practices while creating a synergy between traditional and modern medicine practices for the holistic development of the healthcare structure in the State and the country as a whole.
He informed that the faculty of Sowa-Rigpa at the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is affiliated with Sikkim University (SU) and has a herbal garden, clinic, pharmacy, and a library at its premises. The Namgyal Sorig Herbal Garden has collected more than 200 medicinal herbs, shrubs, and medicinal plants and aims at encouraging active individual participation of people in cultivating herbal plants at their homes and farms, he added.
The Chief Minister further informed that 80% of the construction work of the infrastructure has been completed as of now and with progress going in a full swing, the construction work is expected to be complete by June 2022. Moreover, the clinic is also increasingly gaining momentum and the number of patients has been growing significantly, he added.
The Chief Minister extended gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ministry of Ayush for acknowledging and boosting the traditional medicine system in the country and for extending their full support in transforming NIT, Gangtok into an educational infrastructure for Sowa Rigpa. He further urged for the ministry's assistance in mobilising resources that can aid in compounding medicines at a larger scale to meet the increasing demand for traditional medicines.
Addressing the gathering, the Union Minister for AYUSH and Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Sarbananda Sonowal announced that an International Yoga & Naturopathy College will be set up in Sikkim which will boost the medical tourism sector in Northeast India. Underlying the importance of Sowa Rigpa and its further exposure among people for enriching their quality of life, a 30-bedded Sowa Rigpa Hospital is going to be set up in Sikkim. The Union Minister also announced the setting up of yoga and wellness centre at every Gram Panchayat level in the State along with an Ayurveda Medical College under the Satellite Institute programme in Sikkim.
Highlighting the importance of Ayush-based growth in the region, the Union Ayush minister also said that the ministry is exploring the possibility to set up a Research Council for Sowa Rigpa. He said that the traditional Indian medicinal practices can offer tremendously along with the modern medicinal practices to enrich human lives & improve the quality of lives of people. He reiterated the Prime Minister's futuristic vision of collaborating both traditional and modern medicine systems to work towards building a healthy and happy nation.
Speaking on the role of Ayush in the North East, the Union minister said that the Northeast is the new engine of growth for India and that the government has been taking steps to create a platform for the tremendous potential that Ayush has in Northeast India owing to its rich flora. He expressed hope that the people of the region as well as from the rest of the country will benefit immensely from these steps being undertaken by the Ministry of Ayush under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to boost the traditional medicinal practice including Sowa Rigpa, Ayurveda and Naturopathy. He shared in confidence that Sikkim and all of Northeast will take full advantage of this opportunity and become major stakeholders in unlocking the economic potential.
Governor Ganga Prasad, in his address, congratulated the NISR-Leh and NIT, Sikkim for successfully holding the workshop which provides a platform to scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students from various institutions to delve deeply into the most ancient yet living traditions of Sowa Rigpa. He touched upon the potential of the State of Sikkim in offering an incredible scope for the development of this sector as the State is blessed with a great wealth of medicinal plants and traditional medicinal knowledge.
The Governor added that herbal medicines are now in great demand for primary healthcare because of their cost-effectiveness and also better compatibility with the human body and minimal side effects. He applauded the Prime Minister's revolutionary vision of transforming India into a home for traditional medicine and extended gratitude for supporting Sikkim and all the North Eastern States in reaching the ancient healing traditions to the people of the country.
-International Yoga & Naturopathy College to come up in Sikkim
- 30-bedded Sowa Rigpa Hospital in Sikkim
-Yoga & Wellness Centres at every Gram Panchayat in the State
- Ayurveda Medical College in Sikkim under Satellite Institute Programme
-Ayush Ministry exploring possibility to set up a Research Council for Sowa Rigpa

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi