Answer Synopsis 18/11/2020

Question : SUTRA – PIC is the latest addition to the various initiatives in upgrading the indigenous cows. Explain its objectives and criticisms raised against this project?

Synopsis

The Ministry of Science and Technology has launched the “Scientific Utilization through Research Augmentation-Prime Products from Indigenous Cows” (SUTRA-PIC India).

SUTRA PIC

  • The initiative, SUTRA PIC, proposed to research on ‘indigenous’ cows is led by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). 
  • The partners are the Department of Biotechnology, the CSIR, the Ministry for AYUSH and the Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR).

It has five themes– 

  1. Uniqueness of Indigenous Cows
  2. Prime-products from Indigenous Cows for Medicine and Health
  3. Prime-products from Indigenous Cows for Agricultural Application
  4. Prime-products from Indigenous Cows for Food and Nutrition
  5. Prime-products from indigenous cows-based utility items

Objectives of SUTRA – PIC

  • to perform scientific research on complete characterisation of milk and milk products derived from indigenous cows;
  • scientific research on nutritional and therapeutic properties of curd and ghee prepared from indigenous breeds of cows by traditional methods;
  • development of standards for traditionally processed dairy products of Indian-origin cows;

Criticisms

  • At least 400 scientists have petitioned the Department of Science & Technology (DST) to withdraw the proposal of SUTRA PIC.
  • The key concerns expressed are: 
    1. The research programme appeared to endorse the belief that indigenous cows had “special” and “unique” qualities and that this opened the possibility of money being “wasted to investigate imaginary qualities derived from religious scriptures”.
    2. The programme did not encourage fair comparison with other breeds of cows around the world or other bovine species within India.
    3. Given that scientific funding for several research programmes is pending and researchers not getting their fellowships on time, the new scheme is considered as dubious and additional burden

Though hoped to achieve greater heights and preservation of indigenous cows, the plan is considered over ambitious that it is not based on real facts.

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