Wednesday, 30 December 2015

National Biotechnology Development Strategy 2015-2020

The National Biotechnology Development Strategy -2015-2020 was unveiled by the Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan in New Delhi today. The Strategy aims to establish India as a world-class bio-manufacturing hub. It intends to launch a major mission, backed with significant investments, for the creation of new biotech products, create a strong infrastructure for R&D and commercialization, and empower India’s human resources scientifically and technologically.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan releasing the National Biotechnology Development Strategy -2015-2020  

• Provide impetus to utilising the knowledge and tools to the advantage of Humanity
• Launch a major well directed mission backed with significant investment for generation of new Biotech   Products
• Empower scientifically and technologically India’s incomparable Human Resource
• Create a strong Infrastructure for R&D and Commercialisation
• Establish India as a world class Bio-manufacturing Hub

Key Elements 

• Building a Skilled Workforce and Leadership
• Revitalizing the knowledge environment at par with the growing bio-economy
• Enhance Research opportunities in basic, disciplinary and inter-disciplinary sciences
• Encourage use-inspired discovery research
• Focus on biotechnology tools for inclusive development
• Nurturing innovation, translational capacity and entrepreneurship
• Ensuring a transparent, efficient and globally best Regulatory system and communication strategy
• Biotechnology cooperation- Fostering global and national alliances
• Strengthen Institutional Capacity with redesigned governance models
• Create a matrix of measurement of processes as well as outcome

• Making India ready to meet the challenge of achieving US$100bn by 2025
• Launching Four Major Missions – Healthcare, Food and Nutrition, Clean Energy and Education
• Creating a Technology Development and Translation network across the country with global partnership-5 new clusters, 40 Biotech incubators, 150 TTOs, 20 Bio-connect centres
• Strategic and focussed investment in building the Human Capital by creating a Life Sciences and Biotechnology Education Council

Source: Press Release, Press Information Bureau, India

Monday, 28 December 2015

Eighth National Steering Committee on Climate Change Approves Projects from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh

Dhirendra Kumar
News Curator cum Moderator
Indian Botanists
Shri Ashok Lavasa, Secretary, MoEF & CC
The eighth National Steering Committee on Climate Change (NSCCC) approved four projects from Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Punjab and also considered one project submitted by Government of Madhya Pradesh, at a meeting held here today. The agenda of the meeting was to consider the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) submitted by Government of Tamil Nadu and Government of Kerala for funding under the National Adaptation Fund on Climate Change (NAFCC) and demonstration projects submitted by Government of Madhya Pradesh, Government of Punjab and Government of Tamil Nadu under Climate Change Action Programme (CCAP).
Management and Rehabilitation of Coastal Habitats and Biodiversity for Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Livelihood in Gulf of Mannar, Tamil Nadu
The total cost of the project will be Rs. 24.74 crore and will cover 23 coastal villages of Tuticorin district. The 4-year project has five broad objectives: conduct baseline vulnerability studies, coral rehabilitation, sea grass rehabilitation, deployment of 6,000 Artificial Reef (AR) modules, and eco-development activities in the project villages. The project will help in developing the much needed “Comprehensive Plan or Scheme for Coral and Sea Grass Restoration”. 
It will augment the database on coral ecosystem, species diversity, fish catch/effort, anthropogenic pressure, and migration & survival rate. The project activities will lead to economic empowerment of 15 SHGs per village and benefit about 6,900 women. The project will create a platform for knowledge development through regular meeting amongst departments like fisheries, forest, TNSCCC, GOMBRT, IIT, Chennai, Anna University and facilitate planning of roadmap for future conservation efforts. It is estimated that the cumulative potential for revenue generation per annum is about Rs. 1.84 crore for fisherman community and Rs. 1.03 crore for the Women Self Help Groups (SHGs). The Department of Environment and State Steering Committee of Tamil Nadu will be responsible for facilitating overall project implementation.

Promotion of Integrated Farming System of Kaipad and Pokkali in Coastal Wetlands of Kerala 
The total cost of the project Rs. 33.73 crore envisions integrated farming methods, as climate smart practices to enhance resilience of aquaculture communities to climate change especially sea-level rise that results in severe intrusion of salinity. 
The proposed area for the 4-year project is 600 hectares (300 hectares in Kannur District and 300 hectares in Ernakulam, Thrissur and Alappuzha districts) has as its broad objectives - providing the main infrastructure facility of strong outer ‘bunds’ with sufficient height; use of tall varieties of salt tolerant paddy; integrating fishery to enhance paddy cultivation and maximize the inland fish production through sustainable aquaculture. The Agency for Development of Aquaculture (ADAK), Department of Fisheries, Government of Kerala, will be the Executing Entity for the project. The project will help simultaneous cultivation of rice and shrimp / fish in low-lying wetlands where there were no cultivation earlier. It will also improve the quality of life for local farmers through higher disposable incomes. It will improve access to fresh water, as peripheral ‘bunds’ will prevent seepage of sea water to fresh water sources, capacity building of farmers and will reduce displacement of labourers from nearby areas and provide employment to women. It will also check carbon emission, as wetlands have good potential to act as carbon sink. It is estimated that the cumulative potential for total annual revenue is about Rs. 23.25 crore under this project.

Under Climate Change Action Programme, the Committee considered three projects on

Building Resilience through Integrated Farming Systems for Enhancing Livelihood Security” submitted by Government of Madhya Pradesh, 

Technological adaptation for gainful utilisation of paddy straw (presently burnt on-site) as fuel to replace fossil fuels” submitted by Government of Punjab 

Coastal habitat rehabilitation for climate change adaptation in Gulf of Mannar, South-Eastern India: Improving ecosystem services and Fisherman livelihood” by Government of Tamil Nadu

The committee approved the projects from Government of Punjab and Government of Tamil Nadu at an estimated cost of Rs. 3.54 crore and Rs. 67 lakh respectively. The meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Shri Ashok Lavasa, Secretary Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
Government has established the National Adaptation Fund on Climate Change (NAFCC) with a budget provision of Rs.350 crores for the year 2015-16 and 2016-17, with an estimated requirement of Rs.181.5 crores for financial year 2017-18. The objective of the fund is to assist State and Union Territories that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change in meeting the cost of adaptation. The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has been appointed as National Implementing Entity (NIE) responsible for implementation of adaptation projects under the (NAFCC).
Source: Press Release, Press Information Bureau, India

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Ranchi University, Ranchi, Jharkhand to host 39th Indian Botanical Conference - 2016

Dhirendra Kumar
News Curator cum Moderator
Indian Botanists
Executive Council of Indian Botanical Society has accepted the invitation to host 39th Indian Botanical Conference at Ranchi University, Ranchi, Jharkhand. This was informed by Dr Jyoti Kumar, organizing secretary of 39th Indian Botanical Conference. While speaking to Indian Botanists, Dr Kumar expressed his pleasure and mentioned to do his best to host the conference successfully. The date will be fixed in coordination of the executive council of the society and authorities of the host university accordingly the first circular will be communicated shortly, said Dr Kumar. 

Indian Botanical Society founded in 1920 is a society for botanists of India. The Society's activities include lectures, symposia, field excursions, field projects and an annual society meeting for exchange of information between botanists working in different areas. Indian Botanical Society holds its Annual session in any University of the country where Plant Scientists/ Botanists/ present their views on recent advances in the subject. 38th conference of Indian Botanical Society was held during October 26-28, 2015 at Department of Botany, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur.