The Assam government today introduced a Bill in the state Assembly to set up a yoga council for regulating the teaching and practice of yoga. The proposed council will aim at assuring quality of service and avoid misinterpretation and misuse of the system, a state government official said. On behalf of the Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary introduced 'The Assam Yoga Council Bill, 2018' in the House. During the introductory remarks, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) MLA Aminul Islam opposed the proposed council saying the existing healthcare facilities in the state are in bad shape and the focus should be to improve them instead of spending money on something new. Congress MLA and former minister Rakibul Hussain pointed out that minister Sarma, who also holds the finance portfolio, has been absent in the House since the beginning of the Budget Session and requested the Speaker to allow introduction of such bills when he is present. However, Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami allowed tabling of the Bill in the House and requested the members to discuss the need of the council while deliberating the document at a later stage. In his written statement on the Bill, Sarma said: "It is time Assam establishes a Yoga Council for setting up of a proper mechanism necessary for regulating yoga and naturopathey sector." The council is proposed to be set up in order to assure quality of service and avoid misinterpretation and misuse of the system, besides ensuring yoga institutions to offer safe, reliable and quality medical healthcare, he added. Sarma said the council will be empowered to grant affiliation and accreditation to institutions teaching yoga as well as withdraw the same. The other objectives are "to confer registration on the institutionally qualified professional practitioners, to confer registration to other yoga practitioners fulfilling the terms and conditions laid down in the draft Bill", he added. The minister further said in his statement that the council will regulate course curriculum of studies for registration by yoga practitioners and advise the state government as well as academic institutes in the matter of research on the subject.
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