Six central universities will start a full-fledged department of yogic arts and sciences this year as part of NDA-II government’s plans to introduce the ancient therapy in higher education.
HRD Minister Smriti Irani announced this at a workshop attended by central university vice-chancellors on Saturday. She said that the government has accepted an expert panel’s recommendation to establish a department of yoga in all central universities and has identified six institutions representing north, south, east, west and the northeast to kickstart the first phase of implementation.
Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University in Uttarakhand, Visva Bharati in Santiniketan, Central University of Kerala, Indira Gandhi National Tribal University in Amarkantak, Manipur University in Imphal and either the Central University of Rajasthan in Ajmer or Central University of Gujarat in Gandhinagar will start offering bachelors, masters, postgraduate diploma, PhD and certificate courses in yoga from the new academic session this year.
The recommendation was made by a panel headed by Professor H R Nagendra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s yoga guru. The committee, which submitted its report in April, has prescribed a syllabus for the courses and recommended a grant of
Rs 10 crore to each university over five years to set up a department of yogic arts and sciences.
The committee has also formulated a yoga syllabus to be included in the bachelors and masters programme for physiotherapy. University Grants Commission secretary Jaspal Singh Sandhu has already written to all universities requesting them to integrate this syllabus into their existing physiotherapy programmes.
The yoga syllabus also includes a component on cancer and neurological disorders. However, Dr Ishwar V Basavaraddi of Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, who was a member of the committee headed by Nagendra, clarified that the syllabus only prescribes yoga as an adjunct therapy. “We are not suggesting yoga is a cure for cancer… As of now, the syllabus suggests how yoga can be used as an adjunct therapy for patients undergoing chemotherapy,” he told The Sunday Express.