19 July 2016 Current Affairs: The Rajya Sabha has passed the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill, 2016 on 18 July 2016. The Bill seeks to establish a Regional Centre for Biotechnology in Faridabad, Haryana.
This will be an institution of education, training and research, under the auspices of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the National Capital Region.
It also confers upon it the status of an institution of national importance.
With this, both the houses of parliament passed the bill. Lok Sabha passed the bill on 25 April 2016 after it was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan, on 15 March 2016.
Now, the bill will be sent to the President for his assent.
Provisions of the Bill : Disseminate knowledge by providing teaching and research facilities in biotechnology and related fields. Create a hub of biotechnology expertise.acilitate transfer of technology and knowledge in the SAARC region and generally Asia.Promote cooperation at the international level.
The centre, located in Faridabad in Haryana, will be a state of the art institute and a regional hub for interdisciplinary education, training and research in biotechnology.
Powers granted to the Regional Centre includes : The Regional centre will provide masters’ and doctoral degrees, and post-graduate diplomas in biotechnology and related subjects (eg. medical, agricultural and engineering sciences).It will be responsible for instituting academic positions, like professorships, and appointing persons to such positions. It will be determining standards of admission to the Regional Centre.It will be fixing and receiving fees.
Authorities of the Regional Centre : It will have Board of Governors, Programme Advisory Committee, Executive Committee and Finance Committee etc as authorities responsible for its administration and functioning. Programme Advisory Committee : The Programme Advisory Committee will be the principal academic body of the Regional Centre. It will be responsible for
a) Making recommendations on planning education, training and research activities
b) Reviewing annually the programmes of the Regional Centre
c) Publishing reports on scientific and technical issues referred to it by the Board, and more
d) It will comprise 14 members (including nominees of the Board, central government and UNESCO)
Executive and Finance Committees: The Executive Committee will be in charge of implementing policies and decisions of the Board. The Finance Committee will review finances and accounts of the Regional Centre, and make recommendations to the Board. The constitution and powers of these committees will be specified by the Board.
Review of functioning : The Regional Centre’s functioning will be reviewed once in every four years by persons appointed by the central government.
Fund : The Regional Centre will maintain a Fund to meet its expenses (including fees and allowances paid to members of the Board and various committees and expenses incurred in carrying out its functions). The Fund will include
a) Money provided by the central government
b) Fees received by the Regional Centre
c) Grants, gifts, donations, etc. received
Board of Governors : The Board will be the apex body of the Regional Centre responsible for
a) Approving the annual plan and budget of the institute
b) Reviewing its policies and programmes
c) Approving organisational structure
d) Carrying out the projects relevant to the institute
e) Expanding fund raising capabilities and more
The Board will have seven members and they include
a) The Secretary with the Department of Biotechnology as Chairperson
b) Three scientists nominated by the central government (not below the rank of Joint Secretary or equivalent rank)
c) Three representatives of UNESCO
The Regional Centre will be responsible for disseminating knowledge by providing teaching and research facilities in biotechnology and related fields. Besides, it will help create a hub of biotechnology expertise and promote co-operation at the international level.
Biotechnology is a new and growing field with immense potential for societal benefit and economic transformation. It is a powerful tool that can revolutionise health care, agriculture, industrial processing and environmental sustainability.