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and crystalline forms analogous to those produced by nature. For example, calcium carbonate in the skeletal plate of sea urchins existing as porous, sponge‑like calcite crystals has little resemblance to the regular rhombohedral morphology of synthetic calcite. It has received considerable attention due to the existence of the three polymorphs calcite, aragonite and vaterite. The biomimetic laboratory synthesis of calcium carbonate has been studied in great detail due to their abundance in nature and also their important industrial applications in paints, plastics, rubber, paper and medical industries.
To achieve the formation of star shaped calcium carbonate crystals, Dr Murali Sastry and his team at the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune, used Keggin ions consisting of phosphorus and tungsten atoms. They mixed the aqueous solutions of calcium chloride and phosphotungstic acid and allowed these to react for one hour. The reaction mixture was clear even after one hour of mixing. Further, they bubbled the carbon dioxide gas slowly in this solution. After about ten hours of carbon dioxide bubbling, a faint turbidity was observed that increased progressively with time. The mixture turned milky‑white after three days and was analyzed by spectrometer, microscope and X‑ray diffraction.
Reaction of aqueous calcium ions with phosphotungstate Keggin ions led to the formation of uniform, crystalline colloidal particles of calcium phosphotungstate of nanoscale dimensions. Exposure of these nearly spherical colloidal particles to carbon dioxide resulted in the formation of high‑density star‑shaped calcium carbonate crystals. The crystallites in the star‑shaped superstructure are calcite crystals and presumably grow along directions of `easy' diffusion of carbon dioxide in the parent calcium phosphotungstate colloidal particles.
The metal cation‑Keggin ion colloidal particles represent a new class of inorganic precursor material with exciting possibilities for the growth of different minerals with potentially different morphologies and will form the basis of future studies.
The work was featured on the cover page of the recent issue of the prestigious journal, Langmuir published by the American Chemical Society. [Debabrata Rautaray, Sudhakar R. Sainkar, and Murali Sastry, Langmuir, 2003, 19, 10095.]
For further information on this work contact Dr Murali Sastry, NCL, Pune 411008.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between CSIR and the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) to provide a broad framework of collaboration between these two organisations. The signing took place at CSIR on 29 January 2004 in the presence of Dr R.A. Mashelkar, Director General, CSIR.
The CSIR Centre for Mathematical Modelling & Computer Simulation (C-MMACS), Bangalore, had earlier signed an identical MoU with Tezpur University. In order to facilitate the CSIR-University interface with these two universities, C-MMACS is putting up an online registration form to create a database of CSIR scientists who would like to jointly/individually guide research students from these universities.
( Visit www.cmmacs.ernet.in /cmmacs/ pdf/csir-univ.pdf )
THE Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), New Delhi, entered into agreements and signed MoUs with several organizations in India and abroad, during February 2003 Ä January 2004. Some of the major MoUs signed during the period are:
THE Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), New Delhi, took a well considered decision to adopt IS/ISO 9001 Quality Management System in the working of all its functional areas. Prof. P.K. Sikdar, Director, CRRI, formally released the quality documents including the Quality Manual, MR Procedures Quality System Procedures, Master List of Quality Records and Master List of Quality Documents, on the occasion of National Science Day last year. To check the adequacy of effectiveness of the implementation of Quality Management System in its right earnest, two internal quality audit were carried out in May and August 2003 and the non‑conformity observed were rectified by taking corrective/preventive steps.
Prof. V.S. Raju,
Chairman,CRRIResearch Council (right), handing
over the ISO 9001: 2000 Certificate to Prof. P.K. Sikdar, Director, CRRI
The switch over audit from IS/ISO 9001: 1994 to IS/ISO 9001: 2000 by the auditors of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) was carried out during 17‑18 November 2003 to assess the implementation of Quality Management System requirements as specified in IS/ISO 9001: 2000. The BIS auditors at the conclusion of the switch over audit recommended CRRI for switch over to IS/ISO 9001: 2000 Quality Management System. The institute's Chief Guest Prof. V.S. Raju, Chairman, CRRI Research Council, handed over the IS/ISO 9001: 2000 Quality Management System certificate to Prof. P.K. Sikdar, on the National Science Day this year (28 February 2004).
While receiving the certificate, Prof. Sikdar expressed his happiness on the completion of the second phase of journey of getting IS/ISO 9001: 2000 certification and congratulated the staff of CRRI for their efforts and hard work. He stressed the need for continuous improvement in the services to be provided by the institute to its customer and said that customer satisfaction is the key element of ISO 9001: 2000. He expressed his confidence that with the efforts of all the members of CRRI, the institute will achieve greater heights in delivering the quality services to its clients. BIS has granted IS/ISO 9001: 2000 Quality Management System Certificate to CRRI with the scope `Research and Development in the field of Road and Road Transportation including Design, Testing, Consultancy Services and Training in Highway, Bridges and Transportation Engineering'. Thus, the institute's tradition of quality working has been formally recognized for the second time through the BIS certification. By raising the quality standard to ISO 9001: 2000 level CRRI is now in a better position to do business in the domain of Road and Transportation Engineering.
The advantages of adopting the IS/ISO 9001: 2000 Quality Management System are:
By obtaining the IS/ISO 9001: 1994 Quality Management System in December 2001 and its updation to IS/ISO 9001: 2000, the institute's Quality Management Cell (ISO Sectt.) has acquired the expertise and confidence and can assist other CSIR laboratories who are yet to go for IS/ISO Quality Management System.
PROF. G. Ravindra Kumar, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, has been selected, along with Dr Biswarup Mukhopadhyaya, Harish‑Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad, for the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in Physical Sciences, for the year 2003.
Prof. Ravindra Kumar's research spans different areas of nonlinear optics and interaction of very intense light beams with matter. The three major areas of his interest are — (1) Study of interaction of intense, ultrashort pulses (picosecond and femtosecond) of light with single molecules, (2) Study of the behaviour of hot, dense plasmas created by intense, femtosecond light pulses, and (3) Search for better nonlinear optical materials. Highlights of his noteworthy contributions to the areas (1) and (2) are as follows:
Laser intensities above 1012 W cm‑2 are considered to be intense fields. At such intensities, the light field cannot be treated as a perturbation. In fact, it starts competing on an equal footing with the intra‑matter coulomb fields and leads to highly non‑perturbative interactions, which display novel physical features. Prof. Kumar and his students are currently pursuing very vigorously, experimental research aimed at understanding the dynamics of energy transformation in dense plasmas created from solid media by intense, femtosecond laser pulses. These plasmas are interesting not only because they represent complex physical systems, but also because they have tremendous technological spin‑offs like femtosecond x‑ray pulse generation, acceleration of charged particles, laser induced nuclear fusion and so on. A major feature of these plasmas is the production of extremely energetic electrons, known as `hot' electrons. Hot electrons carry away much of the input laser energy and give rise to many unique features of these plasmas, for example creation of giant magnetic fields (up to 100 million Gauss or 10000 Tesla!), the largest created on the earth. Prof. Kumar's lab, in collaboration with Prof. P.K. Kaw and other researchers from IPR, Gandhinagar, provided the first measurement of the duration of these pulses  and postulated that such picosecond, megagauss magnetic pulses can have applications in many other areas like condensed matter science, biology, magnetic storage devices etc. (see http://www.aps.org/media/tips/tips 041702.cfm and http://www.aip.org/enews/physnews /2002/614.html )
Hot electrons eventually lose their energy to other constituents of the plasma. One way they can relax is by emitting hard and very hard x‑ray radiation in collisions with the positively charged ions in the plasma. While many studies examined such emission, it is only recently that researchers have begun to think of enhancing such emission. Here again, Prof. Kumar's lab working in collaboration with Prof. P. Ayyub's lab at TIFR demonstrated a novel x‑ray emitter. The design of this emitter relies on ideas from the emerging area of nanotechnology. In his work , more than ten fold enhancement of very hard x‑ray emission was obtained, bringing closer the realization of table top hard x‑ray sources as alternatives to huge, complicated and expensive sources like synchrotrons. This research also gave simple physical explanations for the enhancement and provided criteria for designing even better x‑ray emitters.
Presently, Prof. Kumar is extending these studies to a higher intensity regime, where the hot electrons acquire relativistic velocities. These studies will examine some very interesting and fundamental studies related to their creation as well as the role of these electrons in reshaping the properties of the light beam that creates them.
Before beginning the work on dense sold plasmas, Prof. Kumar carried out experimental research on the behaviour of molecules in intense pulsed laser fields, another frontier in laser‑matter interactions. This was a major research activity that he initiated after joining TIFR. He performed, in collaboration with Prof. D. Mathur, dissociative ionization studies on a number of diatomics and triatomics using picosecond and femtosecond pulses up to peak intensities of above 1015 W cm‑2. Among the most visible results of this research is the first demonstration of `pendular states' of molecules when they are subjected to intense, linearly polarized light fields . This work provided proof of the large dipole moments induced by the light fields in molecules, which cause them to reorient along the laser polarization axis. In addition, the vectorial nature of this interaction suppresses certain dissociation pathways, as demonstrated by the TIFR. His research did much to elucidate the role of light polarization in these interactions.
Some of the other research work Prof. Kumar has actively pursued includes the study of structure‑nonlinear optical property relations in novel materials, using a variety of techniques like four wave mixing (FWM), optical limiting and Z‑scan. He investigated a number of systems ranging from porphyrins to metal nanoparticles. He succeeded in identifying materials with some of the largest reported nonlinear responses till date.
Born at Parigi in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, Prof. Kumar had his school education in Andhra Pradesh itself. He did his B.E. (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering and M.Sc. (Hons.) in Physics from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, in 1983 and Ph.D. in Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, in 1990. After a year of postdoctoral work at IIT Kanpur, he joined TIFR in 1992, where he is now an Associate Professor.
He received the B.M. Birla Science Prize in Physics for the year 2000 and has been elected a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences this year. He is a life member of the Indian Laser Association, the Indian Society of Atomic and Molecular Physics and the Indian Society for Mass Spectrometry. He has over 80 publications in peer reviewed international journals.
Prof. Kumar would like to acknowledge the wonderful contributions to his research by talented colleagues and a stream of highly motivated, bright students in the Atomic and Molecular Sciences Laboratory of TIFR and excellent collaborations that he could set up with other colleagues in TIFR and at IPR, Gandhinagar, University of Hyderabad and IIT Bombay.
 Physical Review Letters, Vol. 89 (2002) 225002
 Physical Review Letters, Vol. 90 (2003) 115002
 Physical Review A, Vol. 53 (1996) 3098; Also see “Laser Control and Manipulation of Molecules”, Eds: A.D. Bandrauk, R.J. Gordon and Y. Fujimura (American Chemical Society, Washington DC, 2001)
THE first joint Workshop on `Quality Control and Standardization of Traditional Medicine' was organized at the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow, during 8‑10 January 2004 under the bilaterial collaboration programme of National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and CSIR. This workshop is a positive outcome of the Asia Pacific Center for Transfer of Technology (APCTT) meeting held at Wuhan, China in September 2003. It was perhaps for the first time in modern age that these two major countries came together to discuss and explore the area of mutually beneficial collaboration in healthcare system, particularly based on their rich healthcare traditions. Fifteen experts from China and 22 from India connected with herbal drug research and manufacturing firms including leading industries participated in the workshop. Prof. Hu Shilin of the Institute of Chinese Materia Medica, China Academy of Traditional Medicine, headed the Chinese delegation. Dr K. Laxminarayanan, Senior Executive from APCTT, participated as a special invitee. Twenty‑six presentations (17 from India and 9 from China) were made on topics related to traditional medicine and herbal technology. These were followed by a panel discussion. Based on deliberations, it emerged that although China and India have the best strength in traditional medicine and herbal technology, these countries are confronted with certain impediments/problems – such as establishing appropriate reference for fixing standards, specifications, identifications, safety, purity, strength, documentation in clinical data and also in protecting IPRs, etc. of the traditional herbal medicines.
Shri Vishnukant Shastri, Governor of UP, inaugurated the workshop. It was presided over by Dr Nityanand, former Director CDRI, Shri Sudhir Kumar, Joint Secretary, CSIR, was the guest of honour.
Dr P. Pushpangadan, Director NBRI, while welcoming the guests said that both India and China are rich in biodiversity and their traditional systems of medicine are the two greatest medical civilizations in the world. He said that this workshop is the first step in the direction of gains, which can be attained by both China and India through mutual cooperation.
Dr Nityanand in his presidential address pointed out that the area of herbal medicine has tremendous potential and India and China should work jointly for the development of traditional medicines.
Shri Vishnukant Shastri, in his inaugral address expressed that the renewed interest in herbal medicines is a good sign, and stressed the need for the standardization of these medicines.
Prof. Hu Shilin said that the collaboration could be the beginning of a new era for both India and China. He pointed out that the two countries have the richest natural resources and the quality control and standardization can be easily achieved through collaboration. Shri Sudhir Kumar emphasized the need to return to traditional medicines.
During the second and third days of the workshop, participants from both India and China delivered lectures. The speakers from India included Prof. S.S. Handa, Dr V.P. Kamboj, Prof. B.N. Dhawan, Dr S.P.S, Khanuja, Dr Y.K. Gupta, Dr P, Pushpangadan, and Dr Narendra Bhatt. Shri G.G. Pareekh of Zandu Pharmaceuticals, Dr C.K. Katiyar of Ranbaxy Ltd, and Dr Virendra Singh of Baidyanath Ayurved represented the pharmaceutical industry, and spoke about the quality control of herbal drugs from the manufacturers point of view and Ayurvedic parameters. The other speakers spoke about the various aspects related to quality control and standardization of herbal drugs in India. Shri Basant Pandit of Deendayal Research Institute (DRI), Chitrakoot, spoke about the activities being carried out at his institute. The speakers from the Chinese delegation included Prof. Hu Shilin, Prof. Li Ping, Prof. Lin Na, Prof. Wang Changen, Prof. Wu Jizhou, Prof. Li Xiaobo, Prof. Qi Qing‑Hui and Prof. Zhu Chenchen. Prof. Hu Shilin gave a comparative survey of Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Prof. Li Ping highlighted the work being carried out by her group in the area of quality control of traditional medicines. She said that cell membrane chromatography, gene chip studies and HPLC‑ELSD are new and important techniques in this area. Prof. Wu Jizhou gave an insight into the good agricultural practices followed in China. Dr Bhushan Patwardhan of Institute of Health Sciences, University of Pune, spoke about Ayu Genomics which is a new concept in Ayurveda in which Ayurveda is linked to genomes. This would lead to the development of customized medicines, said Dr Patwardhan. Dr Pushpanagadan enlightened the delegates on nutraceuticals in Ayurveda and the need for their standardization. Dr Khanuja stressed the importance of biological and genomic markers as tools for quality assurance, which can be used in addition to chemoprofiling.
Dr Y.K. Gupta stressed the need for Pharmacovigilence. Dr Shanta Mehrotra of NBRI spoke about the different methods that can be used for quality control. Dr A.K.S. Rawat told about the adulteration and substitution problem in herbal drugs. Dr P. Nath highlighted the need of DNA fingerprinting of medicinal plants. Dr Poonam Kakkar of ITRC discussed the problem of pesticide residues and heavy metals present in herbal drugs and the necessity to control these. Dr H.M. Behl told about the current status of IPRs in China and India, related to herbal drugs, and emphasized the importance of inventorization, digitization and data base development. Dr O.P. Agarwal, Head, RAPD Division, CSIR, informed about the different strategies of CSIR in developing herbal drugs.
At the end of the workshop, a Valedictory Session was organized followed by the Discussion Session, which was coordinated by Shri Laxminarayanan. Shri Sompal, Member Planning Commission, chaired the session, and Dr V.P. Kamboj, presided over. Dr Pushpangadan summarized the deliberations, and finally the suggestions that emerged from the deliberations. All the participants unanimously expressed the urgent need for close collaboration between India and China to compete in the global market. The discussion pointed out towards facing the challenges posed by the European countries by joining hands and working together towards the global positioning of the traditional Chinese and Indian medicines. Four books published by NBRI were also released on the occasion. Dr H.M. Behl presented a vote of thanks.
Based on the deliberations, following recommendations emerged:
1. India and China may initiate a joint programme to strengthen collaboration in the fields of Herbal and Traditional Medicine. It was proposed that the collaboration may begin as a model in Asia Pacific region where other Asian countries can join later through APCTT.
2. Both India and China will develop a joint venture for developing database on medicinal plant resources and their products including marketing, based on published information, in the interest of both the countries. The two countries in association can jointly work out structure of database. Both countries may share plant and product resources as per provisions of CBD and IPR laws honouring norms of biodiversity and associated knowledge systems of respective countries.
3. Both countries develop a list of therapeutically useful plants, preferably limit 50 initially, and prioritize these so that there is a meaningful pooling of resources and joint promotion of trades of these medicinal plants.
4. Develop common Herbal pharmacopoeia on the lines of European Herbal pharmacopoeia.
5. Strategies will be worked out for research programmes including exchange visits of scientists/experts and training in identified areas; prioritization of medicinal plant species, particularly those common to both the countries, and with similar or dissimilar functionalities, by scientific institution of both the countries in project mode. NBRI was identified as a nodal institute to initiate this programme in CSIR while Leader of the Group from China may identify Chinese Nodal Institution.
6. The two countries may share agro practices including the nursery protocols, seeds storage, post harvest management, etc. and also may jointly develop state of art techniques for further improvement of these and also the marketing technology.
7. Both countries may develop joint certification protocols.
8. Both countries may develop shared protocols for IPR protection.
9. Joint effort may be made to integrate traditional medicine with modern Science in the best interest of providing safe and effective remedies for those ailments where no cure is available in modern medicine.
10. Development of common certificates of herbal products and common SOPs for rare, medicinal plants for GMP, GLP,GHP, GAP, GCP may be prepared and efforts may be made for harmonization of such parameters so that production/manufacturing of herbal products of one country are recognized in China and India as well as other countries of the Asia‑Pacific region.
11. Both countries proposed and expressed their willingness to organize a second workshop on this subject very soon. China volunteered to hold it in China.
THE Industrial Toxicology Research Institute (ITRC), Lucknow, celebrated its thirty‑eighth Foundation Day on 4 November 2003. Prof. Y.K. Gupta, Director, ITRC, welcomed the distinguished guests viz. Prof. P.K. Dave, former Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, Prof. Kartar Singh, Director, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, and other dignitaries.
Presenting the annual report of the Centre, Prof. Gupta said that this institute took up new challenges of `genomic era' in order to compete globally. It is participating in 10 CSIR Networked Projects. The institute is coordinating a major task force project on Toxicogenomics which will permit assessing the response of chemical on thousands of gene at one time. New techniques for safety evaluation of genetically modified food and engineered drugs are being established and validated. Under the CSIR Networked projects, several natural extracts from plant, microbial and fungal origin and the Ayurvedic extracts were screened for antioxidant property in primary screening at IICT, Hyderabad. These extracts were subjected to secondary detailed screening using two semiautomated microassays developed at ITRC. A `dust free' laboratory for toxicogenomic studies has been set up. ITRC also conducted health‑risk assessment of different industries. ENVIS website is maintained regularly and provides online information.
In his inaugural address, Prof P.K. Dave, speaking on the `Backache and its Rational Management' said that backache is one of the commonest problems encountered in orthopedic practice. There are many causes of backache, some of which pertain to spinal column and others to other abdominal organs. The most common cause of backache is degenerative disorder of spine, which may or may not be associated with prolapsed intervertebral disk or spinal stenosis. In most cases the treatment for degenerative disorder is conservative. Only in some cases where either the pain is very severe, or conservative treatment has failed or other is a severe, neurological deficit, surgical intervention is resorted to. The conservative modalities are: rest, analgesics, thermotherapy (hot‑pads, short wave diathermy and microwave diathermy), spinal exercise, laser therapy, ultra sound therapy, transcutaneous nerve stimulation, phonopherisis, braces, yoga therapy and proper training for maintenance of posture.
Prof. Kartar Singh in his presidential address said that avoiding overshooting or undershooting, discipline and optimization in all your action, channelization of thoughts are some of the characteristics practiced from time immemorial in India and elsewhere which may lead to a balanced and a healthy life.
On this occasion, ITRC News Bulletin, Annual Report, and the Environmental Assessment Report of Lucknow was also released.
Er K.K. Gupta, Dy. Director, ITRC proposed a vote of thanks.
THE National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa, now has a plush new auditorium The Cardium., It was inaugurated by Shri Kidar Nath Sahani, Governor of Goa, on 20 November 2003. The first lecture in this auditorium was delivered by Dr R.A. Mashelkar, Director General, CSIR.
Dr Mashelkar mesmerized the houseful audience with his invigorating lecture entitled `India on the March'. He said: “This is the best time to be in India, incredible things are happening here and the whole world is looking to India in awe as it gallops towards excellence in all major fields of human endeavour”. “The 21st century is witnessing the third `IC'. The first `IC' happened in the 19th century i.e. triumph of the Internal Combustion (IC) engine that transformed the world of transport. The second `IC' took place in the 20th century — the Integrated Circuit (IC) chips which have revolutionized the world of electronics by miniaturization and the third `IC' of the 21st century is going to be India‑China (IC), the two countries that would lead the world in the revolution of knowledge production”, he explained.
Shri Kidar Nath Sahani, Governor of Goa, after unveiling the plaque of the Cardium.
Seen on his right are : Dr E. Desa , the then Director of NIO, and Dr R.A. Mashelkar,
Director General, CSIR, who delivered the first lecture in the new auditorium,
on `India on the March'
He praised India's output in sectors like auto components, drugs and pharmaceuticals. The world looked not only at the country's information technology but the other `IT', i.e. Indian Talent. Appreciating India's wealth of talent, more than 100 multi‑national companies including General Electric have set up their R&D bases in India. Regarding The Cardium, Dr Mashelkar said, “It is a world class auditorium built in a world class laboratory and placed in a world class state”. He also complimented Dr E. Desa, the then Director of NIO, for his many contributions.
Inaugurating the auditorium, the Governor Shri Kidar Nath Sahani, appreciated NIO for its contributions and the vision as one of the best CSIR laboratories. He hoped that the people of Goa would put such a fine auditorium to good use.
Dr Desa in his introductory remarks referred to the brief given by his predecessor at NIO, Dr B.N. Desai, to develop the concept of the auditorium. He told that he picked up the shape for the auditorium from the Cardium, which is a mollusk found in the Konkan coast.
Dr M.R. Nayak, Deputy Director, proposed a vote of thanks.
SHRI Kidar Nath Sahani, Governor of Goa, released a book titled `Sagar Bodh' at a function held at the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa. Fourth in the series of books in Hindi being brought out by NIO, Sagar Bodh contains 25 articles on different aspects of ocean research such as advancements in gene research, bio‑invasion, polymetallic nodules, gas hydrates — a new alternative source of hydrocarbon fuel, and hydrothermal processes. In its outreach efforts, NIO encourages its researchers to write scientific articles in different languages.
The Governor in his inaugural address appealed that the research information should reach much larger population, and one way to achieve this is to make it available in a language, which is easily understood. However, we should also take pride in promoting our own national language. He appealed to the heads of central government offices to follow NIO's example and try to bring out similar publications for the benefit of the society.
Earlier, Dr M.D. Zingde, Scientist‑in‑Charge, NIO Regional Centre, Mumbai, welcomed the Chief Guest and gave an account of the institute's effort in promoting awareness among the masses about ocean science through Hindi.
Dr Ehrlich Desa, the then Director of NIO and Chairman of Town and Official Language Implementation Committee (TOLIC, North Goa), called for a greater effort to reach the set goals. Dr M.R. Nayak, Dy Director, NIO, and Shri Rajendra Kanishk, Deputy Director, Regional Office, Official Language Implementation, Mumbai, also spoke on the occasion about the three books brought out earlier by the institute and the overall performance in promotion of Hindi in daily work. Dr Usha Goswami, a senior Scientist at NIO and Co‑Chairperson, TOLIC North Goa, proposed a vote of thanks.
Prof. Peter I. Folb (third from left) and Dr Niresh Bhagwandin (standing)
from the Technology and Business Development Directorate, MRC, South Africa,
with Shri V.K. Gupta, Director (extreme left) and Senior Scientists of NISCAIR
The objective of the South African delegation's visit was to explore areas of collaboration with CSIR in the context of an MRC project aimed at development of novel drugs utilizing indigenous medicinal plants and local knowledge of South Africa. They listed the following potential areas of interest for collaboration: (i) sharing of databases, (ii) sharing of extracts for further investigation, (iii) discussion on larvicidal agents and (iv) collaboration in development of plant‑based drugs for diabetes millet, malaria and tuberculosis.
Shri V.K. Gupta, Director, NISCAIR, pointed out that a similar programme was being undertaken by CSIR, India, also, which involved, in addition to several CSIR labs, some prestigious Ayurveda institutions. The programme undertaken at NISCAIR in the form of Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) was a link in the chain of CSIR initiatives aimed at facilitating development of novel drugs based on the plant wealth of the country and so far as NISCAIR was concerned there was a possibility of tailoring the available technologies according to the South African requirements for the preparation of a similar database. The Director NISCAIR also made a presentation on TKDL showing its unique features. The visitors went round the TKDL section as well as the herbarium to have a first hand view of the project.
At the end it was decided that the two sides would exchange further information after the visit of the South African delegation to India was completed.
MS Elizabeth V. Cardoza, Assistant Director General (Legal Policy And International Affairs) of the International Property Office (IPO), Singapore, visited the National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (NISCAIR), New Delhi, on 5 March 2004. She met senior scientists of NISCAIR to explore the possibility of a collaborative initiative in the areas of mutual interest of the two organizations.
Ms Elizabeth V. Cardoza, Assistant Director General (Legal Policy And International Affairs)
of the International Property Office (IPO), Singapore, during a meeting with Shri V. K. Gupta,
Director (left) and Senior Scientists of NISCAIR
Ms Cardoza explained the work being pursued at IPO, Singapore, which aimed at making Singapore a hub of IPR services in the region. At present, much of the work on patent examination was being outsourced to countries like Australia and Denmark. She had come to India as a part of a trade delegation and to NISCAIR, to have first‑hand information about the TKDL project.
Shri V.K. Gupta, Director, NISCAIR, presented an overview of the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) project undertaken at NISCAIR. It was pointed out that the use of traditional medicines was prevalent in most of the developing countries, especially those belonging to Asia and Africa; and even in the Western countries a significant part of the population was using herbal medicine. However, there are several examples where traditional knowledge of other countries has been exploited for commercial benefit by big multinational companies. Challenging of this exploitation was quite expensive and time‑consuming as shown by the CSIR‑India's fight for revocation of the wrong patents on turmeric, neem and Basmati. With this background, Shri Gupta outlined the genesis of the TKDL project and its progress through various stages followed by demonstration of various features of the CD containing sample TKDL data. A copy of the CD containing 500 of the 36,000 formulations in the database was presented to Ms Cardoza.
The presentation was followed by general discussion. It was agreed that there was a potential for collaboration in the areas of (i) patent examination and searches, (ii) use of TKDL database by IPO, Singapore, under the usual non‑disclosure agreement clauses and (iii) training of persons from Singapore in the IPR‑related activities. Ms Cardoza requested for accommodation of two representatives of IPO, Singapore, in the forthcoming training programme on IPR being organized in Maldives by NISCAIR, under the auspices of the SAARC Documentation Centre.
THE National Science Day (NSD) is celebrated on 28 February, by all the CSIR laboratories/institutes every year to commemorate the anniversary of the discovery of `Raman Effect' on 28 February by Sir. C.V. Raman, Nobel Laureate.
At CRRI, Prof. V.S. Raju, Chairman of the institute's Research Council, was the Chief Guest. He was apprised of the institute's R&D programmes and was also was taken around the newly established Computer Centre and the Prof. S.R. Mehra Library of CRRI, which is one of the best in the area of Road And Transportation Engineering. Appreciating the institute's R&D contributions, Prof. Raju emphasized that the institute should coordinate and establish linkages with various professional organizations engaged in the development and maintenance of road and transportation infrastructure at the State and Central Government level.
Welcoming the Chief Guest, Dr P.K. Nanda, Scientist in Director's Grade and Area Coordinator, HRP, pointed out that while the Indian technologists perform excellent in foreign countries, they are not able to do so well in their own country. To find out the constraints being faced by them while working in India, he suggested that a debate might be held on this issue as a part of next NSD celebrations.
Prof. P.K. Sikdar, Director, CRRI, introduced the Chief Guest and briefly described the background of the NSD celebration. He gave a number of examples of technology development and elaborated on their role in human life. He said that science is the practical aspect of human life today.
Prof. P.K. Sikdar,
Director, CRRI, introducing the Chief Guest,
Prof.V.S. Raju, Chairman, CRRI Research Council (seated second from left),
during NSD Celebrations at the institute
Prof. Raju gave a presentation on `Science and Technology of Human Effectiveness – Attitudes, Values and Self Renewal'. In his address, he touched upon the various aspects of human values and attitudes, and answered the questions raised by the audience.