|Year : 2023 | Volume
| Issue : 5 | Page : 3-5
Mann Ki Baat Inspiration: Reimagining India’s health system
Guest Editor, JRAS Special Issue National Research Professor - Ayush, Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, Ganeshkhind, Pune 411007, India
|Date of Submission||15-Apr-2023|
|Date of Acceptance||17-Apr-2023|
|Date of Web Publication||28-Apr-2023|
Prof. Bhushan Patwardhan
National Research Professor - Ayush, Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Patwardhan B. Mann Ki Baat Inspiration: Reimagining India’s health system. J Res Ayurvedic Sci 2023;7, Suppl S1:3-5
“Good health is the greatest fortune. Health is the only way to happiness in the world.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Maan Ki Baat, March 29, 2020
Narendra Modi is known as the “Prime Minister (PM) of the People,” due to his focus on inclusive development and the general welfare of the citizens. He has launched several initiatives aimed at achieving this goal —Make in India, Digital India, and Skill India. He has introduced several social welfare schemes, such as Jan Dhan Yojana, Ujjwala Yojana, and Ayushman Bharat, to ensure welfare and healthcare to the marginalized sections of society. His vision for Naya Bharat is focused on transforming the country into a global superpower strongly rooted in our history and culture. His leadership style is uniquely characterized by his ability to connect with people and communicate effectively with citizens on various topics through physical, digital, and social media platforms. The PM’s vision for Swastha Bharat and his appeals such as Vocal for Local have already initiated new movements towards self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and employment opportunities for the youth. He has emphasized these endeavours in his incredible outreach through Mann ki Baat.
Mann Ki Baat (MKB) is one of the PM’s popular initiatives to connect directly with the masses. MKB, which literally means “Thoughts in the Mind,” is a twenty-minute address sharing of ideas by PM Narendra Modi with the people of India on a Sunday morning, once every month. It is broadcast on national television and All India Radio and is accessible to 90 per cent of the population. It is the first-ever regular and structured address by an Indian Prime Minister to the citizens of the country. The PM initiated MKB in 2014 and it has, over all these years, received tremendous response from all sections of society. Over 70 per cent of the respondents to a random survey on the outreach of the show mentioned that they tune in regularly to listen to it. The topics that the PM shares as “thoughts in his mind” are concerned with the day-to-day lives of the common people, which include education, health, and wellness as the most primary. This historical endeavour to connect with the people, as initiated by the government under the able leadership of the PM, is highly applauded all over.
The MKB programme has played a crucial role in globally promoting Ayush systems in general and Ayurveda and Yoga in particular with a significant multi-fold positive impact locally on the Ayush sector. It has consistently:
Given due recognition, respect, visibility, and empowerment to the Ministry of Ayush.
Changed the mindset of people in general, and doctors, researchers, academics, and administrators, in particular.
Helped in dissolving silos, breaking walls, and getting closer to Universal Health Coverage, and a holistic integrative health system.
Stimulated global interest in Yoga, Ayurveda, and other traditional Indian systems of medicine.
Given global recognition to Yoga, Meditation, Surya namaskar and other traditional measures to improve physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Focused on translational research in neglected areas and national priorities such as women’s health, anaemia, and tuberculosis among many others.
Motivated many academic and research institutes to undertake collaborative research involving senior scientists and young scholars and strengthened industry-academia collaboration.
Helped to increase awareness, business, and market sizes, at both the national and international levels.
Triggered the innovation, entrepreneurship and startup culture in the Ayush sector.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, gave hope and confidence to people that Ayush Kadha and other such medicines can definitely help in the prevention of the disease and in building up immunity.
Several other positive impacts in improved awareness towards fitness, wellness, traditional food, cuisines, the values of millet, and other nutritional products.
The PM has talked extensively about promoting health, and well-being, with a focus on Ayurveda and Yoga during several episodes of MKB. He has stressed that good health is the greatest blessing and the key to success in life. He has often expressed support for integrative models that match the strengths, needs, and resources of the country aligning with his vision for Atma-nirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India). He has highlighted the importance of incorporating Ayurveda and Yoga into daily life for a healthier lifestyle. The PM has also stressed the need for more R&D and innovation in these fields to make them more accessible to the common people. This emphasis by the PM has helped to raise awareness about the importance of Ayurveda and Yoga in modern-day life for ensuring better health and well-being.
Health is not just a medical subject: It is an equally important social and political subject. The health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), especially Universal Health Coverage (UHC) have become integral to the global agenda. The emphasis on good health, a commonly addressed topic in MKB, symbolizes the priority accorded to it by the government. This is a very positive sign for a nation that has much to attain in health goals. This is a major shift from an approach viewing the people as not only users of medical services but as active participants, contributing to an emphasis on good health at the individual and societal levels. These ideas of health and well-being have a solid philosophical foundation, known as “Swasthya” in Ayurveda. This concept promotes a holistic one health approach — the individual is an integral part of an entire ecosystem and therefore, individual health is inseparable from other components in the surrounding ecosystem. This divergence from the pathological understanding of health and pharmacology-based medicine to the thrust on universal holistic health with more focus on physiology-based approaches to health promotion, disease prevention, and “the co-creation of one health ecosystem” is very relevant when the world is reeling under the limitations of the current unaffordable, inaccessible, or unavailable healthcare systems. Global health, already impacted by incremental costs and rapid increase in medical issues, faced a major setback with the Covid pandemic. In this scenario, Ayurveda and Yoga played, and can continue to play, a pivotal role.
The downside, however, is that even now, our healthcare policies and practices remain dominated by recommendations of erstwhile British committees. The true spirit of Bharat remained compromised because of the dominance of a colonial mindset, which was preceded by multiple invasions. Consequently, although aware of the national needs and societal realities, the strategies towards national health programmes in India have been narrow and reductionist in approach. This has not only affected the planning and designing of our healthcare system but has also undermined the needs and expectations of the community. Post-independence, for the first time, PM Narendra Modi has revived that focus on a holistic approach to exploring the potential of the Indian traditional health systems. This is a commendable and bold initiative, with much potential for national and global health.
The PM has promoted a strong scientific outlook. On several occasions, including on MKB programmes, he has appealed to medical doctors to generate the required scientific evidence to stand the tests of time. In the PM’s words, “We must provide the praman (evidence) for the parinam (effect).” The PM’s vision and recognition of the Ayush sector are reflected in the government’s policy to strengthen the Ministry of Ayush with a substantial increase in budgetary allocation. This has helped to promote education, research, innovation, practice, and trade in the Ayush sector. The increased interest in decolonizing the national health system has led to several major initiatives. The launch of International Yoga Day in 177 countries of the United Nations is a historical step led by India. In 2020, NITI Aayog commissioned a group of experts for an Integrative Health System in India. The establishment of the World Health Organization’s Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in Jamnagar in 2022 is another major step in this series. The National Academy of Medical Sciences (India) constituted a task force on evidence-based traditional medicine and its report has recommended mainstreaming Ayush systems in the Indian healthcare system.
The PM’s inspiring messages in MKB have already inspired the upcoming G20 summit with the theme, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (One Earth – One Family – One Future). The idea of universal integrated holistic health is resonating in G20 within several engagement groups including Science 20, (S20), Civil 20 (C20), Women 20 (W20), Think 20 (T20), and a few others.
The Ayush system is a confluence of classical shastras, India’s ancient scriptures, and the immense knowledge and wisdom of the sages, amalgamated to bring forth a means of sharing and caring and presenting it as a possible comprehensive and modern solution to ensuring both mental and physical health of the people. The MKB has set the ball rolling for a historical change in support of the Ayush systems and pursuing the idea of a One Nation One (integrative) Health System. Let’s hope that this will further strengthen the hope not only for a Swastha Bharat but present a role model for global health in the true spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.
Finally, MKB is no longer merely the PM’s “Thoughts in the mind.” It has become a mass movement and a platform for very dynamic dialogue given the feedback of thousands of citizens of India with their “Dil Ki Baat” (thoughts from the people’s hearts). This special issue of JRAS provides just a few glimpses of the positive impact of MKB on the Ayush Sector. Needless to say, the actual impact is far more significant, which is difficult to capture just in one issue.
On behalf of Ayush and the scientific community, JRAS respectfully salutes PM Narendra Modi for enriching and empowering us in many respects through his ever-inspiring Mann Ki Baat.
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Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.