Rajya Sabha passes bill for regional biotechnology centres

New Delhi, July 18 (IANS) The Rajya Sabha on Monday passed a bill for establishment of regional centers for biotechnology, under the auspices of UNESCO, in the National Capital Region.

The Bill seeks to establish a Regional Centre for Biotechnology, an institution of education, training and research, and declare it to be an institution of national importance.

Opposition parties however questioned if there will be reservation in the institutes, to which Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan said the rules which apply to other institutes of national importance will be applicable on this institute as well.

“Where institutes are of national importance there is no reservation,” said BSP leader Satish Chandra Misra, asking the government to clarify if this institution will have reservation.

Misra was joined by members from other parties, who also demanded to know the status of reservation in the centre.

“In other institutes of national importance, there is no reservation. He is not sure if there will be reservation in other institutes. We want to know if there is any guidelines,” said Trinamool Congress member Sukhendu Sekhar Roy.

To this the minister replied: “I am saying clearly there is reservation.”

Talking about the bill earlier, the minister said: “Biotechnology has immense potential to emerge as a global key player.”

He said India has emerged as a global leading manufacturer of vaccines at affordable costs.

“There is an enhanced need for highly specialised to translate research in labs to clinical practice.

“It is for the whole country and also for SAARC region. This institution will help us train professionals from whole country It will be mentor institution helping all bio-technology institutions in the country,” he added.

The Bill says that the objectives of the Regional Centre will include disseminating knowledge by providing teaching and research facilities in biotechnology and related fields, facilitating transfer of technology and knowledge in the SAARC region and Asia, creating a hub of biotechnology expertise, and promoting cooperation at the international level.

India had entered into an agreement in 2006 with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) regarding establishment of the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Training and Education in India to serve the member countries of UNESCO.

In light of this agreement, the central government set up the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Training and Education in Faridabad, Haryana through an executive order in 2009. The Bill seeks to provide legislative backing to the Regional Centre.

It also confers upon it status of an institution of national importance, or an institute which imparts scientific or technical education, and is empowered to grant degrees.



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