Approval of New Institute of “Indian Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology” Scheme during the XII Plan
The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Research and Education for the establishment of Indian Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology at Ranchi (Jharkhand) at a cost of Rs. 287.50 crore during the 12th Five year plan.
The Indian Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology (IIAB) at Ranchi (Jharkhand) will be established as a deemed University with the following schools:
School-I School of Genomics
School-II School of Bioinformatics
School-III School of Genetic Engineering
School-IV Nano Biotechnology, Diagnostics and Prophylactics
School-V School of Basic and Social Sciences and Commercialization
The mandate of the Institute would be
(i) to undertake multi-disciplinary basic and strategic research with a view to future developing crops for traits such as increased yield, or increased tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress;
(ii) to design and start academic programmes to develop the highly trained manpower required for fundamental research in agricultural biotechnology, and award post graduate doctoral and post-doctoral degrees;
(iii) to provide its research output to breeders and developers in agricultural universities and other institutions, to develop the germplasm, vaccines etc. that would enhance productivity and reduce losses due to biotic and abiotic stress;
(iv) act as a mother institute that would provide both curricula and course material to India’s agricultural universities and other institutions who are running or trying to establish successful agricultural biotechnology graduate and post graduate programmes.
There is growing demand for food, fodder and feed. A healthy growth in the GDP is likely to further boost domestic demand for food. About 53 per cent of the food demand escalation is expected to occur due to growth in population and the rest due to improve per capita consumption. The current production and the projected demand by the year 2020, are 245 and 284 million tonnes of food grain, 138 and 160 million tonnes of vegetables, 74 and 97 million tonnes of fruits, and 32 and 69 million tonnes of oilseeds respectively. As the net cultivable area of 142 million hectares is not likely to increase, the gain in food production will have to be met by increasing productivity. There is need, therefore, for a renewed and vigorous effort to increase productivity and production through the “Second Green Revolution”.
Genetic engineering tools allow the transfer of useful genes across species. This offers opportunities for improvement in virtually every domain. Biotechnological interventions that have already made global impact and offer scope for revolutionizing agricultural production and farmer’s income include,
(i) molecular breeding for accelerated improvement of specific traits using genes available in the germplasm of that plant, livestock or fish species;
(ii) molecular diagnostics and vaccines for effective control of livestock diseases;
(iii) genetically modified organisms incorporating foreign genes of interest into a target organism; and
(iv) nano-biotechnology for biosensor and delivery devices for precision farming. Genomics, aided by bioinformatics, is the new engine for developing stress resistant and higher productivity plants, on the one hand, and state of the art diagnostics and vaccines, on the other. India needs to be abreast, even ahead, of global leaders namely, the Americas, Europe and China in harnessing the benefits of biotechnology for enhancing both food security and farmers’ incomes.
In fact, there is a shortage of even highly trained scientific manpower in the area of biotechnology, specially agricultural biotechnology. A need is therefore felt for both a focused centre of research for agricultural biotechnology, and for capacity building in this frontier area of research.