PIB News 13th Oct, 2020

(General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations, Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.)

Regional Raw Drug Repository for AYUSH Systems launched at Chennai today
Shri Shripad Yesso Naik, Union Minister for AYUSH and Minister of State for Defence inaugurated the Regional Raw Drug Repository (RRDR) for ASU&H Medicine (Southern Plateau Region) at National Institute of Siddha today through a virtual event. Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary Ministry of AYUSH presided over the program.

RRDRs are important components of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission, which plays an important role in medicinal plants cultivation. As a step in this direction, Ministry of AYUSH, through the National Medicinal Plants Board, initiated establishment of National Raw Drug Repository and Regional Raw Drug Repositories.  NMPB have identified National Institute of Siddha as the lead Institute with the Regional Research Institute of Unani Medicine, Chennai and the Siddha Central Research Institute, Chennai as the Collaborating Institutes.  This RRDR would play a stellar role in collection, documentation, and authentication of raw drugs collected from the agro-climatic region, that is, the Southern Plateau Region.

There is a global resurgence in the traditional and alternative health care system. We in India are fortunate to have systems of medicine which date back to more than 3000 years and have deep rooted societal acceptance. Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and systems of medicine are accessible to large segment of our population including those living in remote and interior areas.

Medicinal Plants form the major resource base of our indigenous health care traditions. Their relevance has grown substantially in the current pandemic scenario, thanks to their disease preventive effects. The outreach and acceptability of AYUSH systems, both nationally as well as globally, are dependent on uninterrupted availability of quality medicinal plants based raw material. Though most of our raw drugs are commonly available, there is a lack of scientific documentation which makes research on these medicines very difficult.  This also reduces the chances of commercial exploitation of these medicines.

Easy availability of authentic scientific date of the raw drugs will promote the research on the medicines belonging to AYUSH system which will lead to further propagation of these systems. 

The growth and acceptability of traditional systems require robust infrastructure of hospitals, dispensaries, pharmacies and manufacturing units so as to manufacture and dispense quality medicine. The country has more than 9000 manufacturing units for Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homeopathy medicine. However, the quality of medicines produced by these units critically depend upon the manufacturing process followed as well as the quality of raw material. The Government has made it mandatory for all manufacturing units to adhere to the Good Manufacturing Practices as notified under Schedule T of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940. However, since more than 90% of the formulations under these systems of medicine are plant based, what is critical is to ensure sustained availability of quality raw material.

This RRDR will not only act as collection centers of raw drugs available and used in southern region but also as an accredited reference library for authentication of raw drugs and establish standard protocols and keys for authentication of raw drug used in the herbal industries. The project will be headed by Prof. Dr. R. Meena kumari, Director, NIS as the Principal Investigator and Dr. Zaheer Ahmed, Head of Institute, RRIUM and Dr. Satyarajeswaran, Director (in-charge), SCRI, will be Co-investigators.


(General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management, Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.)

Aquaponics and related alternative farming techniques to help the farmer in increasing their productivity & income: Shri Sanjay Dhotre
Shri Dhotre inaugurates a pilot ‘Aquaponics facility’ at GADVASU, Ludhiana

Aquaponics and related alternative farming techniques are highly required to improve the status of farmers. This technique will help the farmer in increasing the productivity of his land and also augment his income, said Union Minister of State for Education, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology, Government of India Shri Sanjay Dhotre. A pilot ‘Aquaponics facility’ developed by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Mohali at Guru Angad Dev Veterinary University (GADVASU), Ludhiana was inaugurated today by the Minister virtually from C-DAC, Mohali. Shri Dhotre suggested that many more such projects should be taken up to rapidly percolate such technologies in the masses.

The state-of-the-art facility, that is the first of its kind in region, is equipped with advanced sensors for monitoring and automated controls. It has been developed with the funding support from Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Govt. of India. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. PK Khosla Executive director, C-DAC, Mohali informed the facility is nearly 100% organic, need much less land for a give yield of crop, consumes 90% less water, the fish and plants so grown are more nutritious.

Dr. Hemant Darbari, Director General, C-DAC informed about various activities of C-DAC in the area of agriculture and appreciated the efforts by C-DAC, Mohali. Smt. Jyoti Arora, Special Secretary and Finance Adviser to Ministry of Electronics and IT, Govt. of India, talked about the importance of agriculture in Indian economy and the need for the technology to further work for up-lifting the agriculture. Smt Jyoti Arora, Special Secretary and Financial advisor, who was Guest of Honour state that the aspirational rural youth will be drawn in main stream with help of this technology and agri-economy will get a boost.

Speaking on the occasion Dr. Inderjeet Singh, Vice chancellor of the GADVASU University mentioned that demand for fishes and such crops is increasing rapidly in urban areas and this type of systems should be very helpful in increasing the farmer’s income, especially in non-coastal areas.

Aquaponics is an emerging technique in which both fishes as well as the plants are grown in an integrated manner. The fish waste provides fertilizer for growing plants. The plants absorb nutrients and filter the water. This filtered water is used to replenish the fish tank. This is an environment friendly technique. Dr Hemant Darbari, Director General C-DAC stated that the supercomputing power being provided by C-DAC will go a long way in developing agriculture technology.


(General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management, Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.)

Woman scientist with break-in career finds solution for nuclear weapons in dust particles
Dust can reduce the effect of nuclear weapons. This has been proved by a woman scientist who came back to science after a hiatus of one year.

Such a break is common among Indian women who prioritise family over their career due to various circumstances, which are usually typical to the gender. The Women Scientist Scheme (WOS A) fellowship of the Department of Science & Technology (DST) provides opportunities to women scientists and technologists who had a break in their career but desired to return to the mainstream.

Dr Meera Chadha from Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, New Delhi, availed this opportunity not only to return back to mainstream science after a career gap but also to show for the first time, through mathematical modelling, that the deadly effects of nuclear weapons can be partially mitigated or reduced with the help of dust particles.

Her recent study published in the Proceedings of Royal Society A, London’ illustrates the reduction in energy released and damage radius from an intense explosion (nuclear explosion in particular) by introduction of dust particles. She has shown how the blast waves from the explosion decayed in the process. 

“During my Ph.D., I studied about shock waves and how dust particles contribute in reducing their strength. I came across a book titled 'Science towards Spirituality', in which Former President, Late Dr. Abdul Kalam, was asked, ‘Can Science create a Cool Bomb that can defuse or deactivate the deadly atom bomb?’ This got me thinking,” Dr. Chadha said, explaining the trigger behind her research.

She utilised her break in career in studying about explosions and the possible effects of dust particles on them. The WOS scheme gave her the flexibility of time and enough resources in terms of equipment and funds to carry out her research and achieve her dream.




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