Siddha Medicine & Health News

TKDL to safeguard valuable Traditional Medical Knowledge

Considering the piracy threat to traditional Indian medicine, the Health Ministry has now finally fixed 1950 as the “cut-off year” for the purpose of including transcriptions of all Indian traditional works in the database of the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL). The step taken for the first time aims to safeguard the valuable traditional knowledge from being patented by other countries. This means that under the TKDL, which is a collaborative project between the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the AYUSH Department of the Union Health Ministry, all literature existing before 1950 in the public domain pertaining to Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha will be converted in digitized format in five international languages English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese. “First there has to be a database of traditional knowledge so that a patent can be challenged in the international patent office,” a senior official from the Ayush Department said. Much of the traditional knowledge, which has so far not been incorporated into the TKDL database, is always in danger of being lost/misutilised by way of patent applications. So far, the TKDL includes about 2.12 lakh medicinal formulations (Ayurveda: 82,900; Unani: 1,15,300; Siddha: 12,950 ), from 148 books available in public domain, and the database runs into 34 million pages. The need to fix the cutoff date has been felt in the context of access agreements signed by TKDL with patent offices. According to Government estimate, number of patents taken on Indian Systems of Medicine at International Patent Offices each year is approximately 2,000. “Efforts are being taken to ensure to protect our tradition in the best ways,” said the official. The marking of cut off year would ensure that the task of building up a database becomes easier for the Ministry. However, in a bid to keep the options open, the official said, “As years pass, knowledge currently regarded as “current” would clearly need to be shifted into the “traditional knowledge” category in  other words, the cut off year decided now would be open to review at a later stage,” he added. Also, “in case a particular document, even though published in recent years, was at any future point of time be actually classified as a “traditional knowledge” document, there would be absolutely no bar to incorporating it into the TKDL database.”

Source : Daily Pioneer

Dr Amritjude

Chief Doctor and owner of “Agasthiyar Guru Siddha Marma Chikitsalayam” Siddha Hospital, Melvettoor P. O., Varkala, Kerala.

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