India is rich in biodiversity to agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries and forestry. Much has been described in Ayurved and other ancient literature about the indigenous system of medicine, knowledge and wisdom of people. These are supported by a very strong scientific and technological base. In India, over 1,15,000 species of plants and animals have already been identified and described. The country is an important Center of Diversity and origin of over 167 important cultivated plant spices and domestic animals. A few crops which arose in India and spread throughout the world are : rice, sugarcane, vignas, jute, mango, citrus, banana, millets, spices, medicinal aromatics and ornamentals. No country in the world is as rich in biodiversity as ours. Himalaya itself has the natural wealth of plants, many of which are still unknown and many endangered. Conservation of Biodiversity
There is an urgent need for biodiversity rich countries to save it against destruction. However, in most of the developing countries, biodiverisity is attached to environment and forest agencies which have no idea about it. If such countries are not aware of conserving it for sustainable utilization, they would be compelled to export biodiversity and import products for well being of their people.
The agreement between Institute of Biodiversity (INBio) in Costa Rica and Merck (USA) is hailed throughout the industrial world. Under this agreement, extracts, from the wild plants, insects and microorganisms from Costa Rica are supplied to Merck. In return, INBio receives from Merck over 1.35 million US dollars, and expects royalty on the commercial products. INBio has to contribute 50% of royalty to the Government of Costa Rica for National Park Service. The Government has given to INBio rights to bioprospects and share conservation work. Thus, the INBio represents an alliance between biologists/ biochemists and businessmen.
In India, a large number of institutions are involved in conservation and utilization of biodiversity which come under Ministry of Environment and Forest, Agriculture, and Science and Technology. They deal conservation of biosphere reserve, national parks, wild life, sanctuaries, field gene banks, etc. The country needs more expertise and methodologies besides tiger-bird-wild life syndome. India is predominantly an agricultural country. Therefore, the policy makers have to realize that conservation and sustainable utilization of biodiversity must be placed on the top of all developmental plannings.
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