The BJP government in Haryana has decided to accord the rank, equal to that of a cabinet minister, to yoga guru Ramdev; he had earlier been named as the state’s brand ambassador with the government then explaining his elevation as an attempt to promote yoga and ayurveda in the state. Ramdev will also be honoured by the state government in Panchkula on April 21.
Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij had visited Haridwar – where Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth is headquartered – in January this year when the announcement to make Ramdev the brand ambassador was made. On Monday, Vij announced the cabinet rank for Ramdev. “Baba Ram Dev Brand Ambassador for promotion of Yoga and Ayurveda in Haryana will be given status equivalent to Cabinet Minister,” Vij tweeted during the day. Justifying the government’s decision later in the day, Vij said: “It is an honour that the government has given to Swami Randev keeping in view his national and international status”.
The move comes in the wake of the state government having already made yoga compulsory in schools. It has proposed to build ‘yogshalas’ in all towns and villages of the state under the Ramdev’s guidance and will send physical education teachers, for yoga training, to the Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar. Anganwari workers are also to be trained so that they can teach yoga to children. As part of the state’s plans, refresher courses are to be organized for 550 doctors of the AYUSH Department at Patanjali Yogpeeth whike the Shri Krishna Government Ayurvedic College, Kurukshetra, is to be upgraded as a university to promote ayurvedic education. Ramdev is also to help the government develop a ‘herbal forest’ that will house ayurvedic herbs.
Ramdev’s elevation as the brand ambassador had caused a furore in the Haryana Assembly session last month.