CSIR & C-DAC sign MoU to upgrade tech of Traditional Knowledge Digital Library for medicine

New Delhi: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), an autonomous Scientific Society of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The MoU is for pursuing cooperation related to upgrades and modernization of the CSIR-Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (CSIR-TKDL), Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and allied platform(s), including advanced technologies such as Big Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), mobile applications, Information Processing Tools, Techniques and Language Technology Standardization covering Indian and foreign languages.

Through this cooperation, CSIR and C-DAC shall jointly work towards updating and modernizing the CSIR-TKDL ICT infrastructure to align with the demands of the time, while also looking towards positioning the TKDL for easy adaptation to emerging and futuristic technologies. It is an initiative to prevent misappropriation of the India’s traditional medicinal knowledge at International Patent Offices.

CSIR, jointly with Department of AYUSH, in 2001 developed the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), an internationally recognized proprietary database of Indian traditional knowledge for preventing bio-piracy and misappropriation. The TKDL contains, in a digitized format, information from books related to Indian systems of medicine and health – Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Yoga and Sowa Rigpa, available in the public domain in five languages (English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese).

The TKDL is a global first and has been serving effectively as a prior art database of traditional knowledge for preventing the wrongful grant of patents related to traditional knowledge.

In 2005, the TKDL expert group estimated that about 2,000 wrong patents concerning Indian systems of medicine were being granted every year at an international level, mainly due to the fact that India’s traditional medicinal knowledge which exists in local languages such as Sanskrit, Hindi, Arabic, Urdu, Tamil etc. is neither accessible nor comprehensible for patent examiners in international patent offices.

It is a collaborative project between CSIR, Ministry of Science and Technology and Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The MoU was signed by Col. A.K. Nath (Retd), Executive Director (Corporate Strategy), C-DAC, and Dr. Viswajanani J Sattigeri, Scientist-H and Head, CSIR-Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (CSIR-TKDL) Unit, in the presence of senior officials from both organizations

Jyoti Singh is a contributor at India Science Wire.

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