New Delhi: The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi) has received around 50 proposals from top research institutions to explore the benefits of panchagavya—a mixture of cow products such as urine, dung, milk, ghee and curd.
The research proposals follow a brainstorming workshop held at IIT Delhi on the subject, the ministry of science and technology informed the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
IIT Delhi said the proposals have come from top-notch institutions including the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Labs. CSIR Labs, functioning under the ministry of science, are the best R&D facilities in the country.
“Yes, we have received proposals from CSIR labs, IITs, NITs (national institutes of technology), and agricultural institutions among others. We have not finalized any projects yet as they are being evaluated," said V.K. Vijay, head of the centre for rural development and technology at IIT Delhi.
The proposals received by IIT Delhi came after a National level ‘brainstorming workshop’ was organized by the institute in December 2016 to deliberate on Scientific Validation and Research on panchagavya (SVAROP). The workshop discussed the possible use of panchagavya in areas such as agriculture, medicine, nutrition, and in developing consumer products such as soaps and mosquito repellents.
As part of the effort, the government and the IIT department aim to set up a working group to study the “uniqueness of indigenous cows... and their products over exotic cows", as per a background note of the workshop now available on the IIT Delhi website.
In April, the department of science and technology set up a national steering committee on SVAROP, chaired by Union science minister Harsh Vardhan. Other members of the committee include former CSIR director general R.A. Mashelkar, current directors of institutes like CSIR, ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research), ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research), secretaries of the departments of science and biotechnology, and NGO representatives.
In the background paper now available online, IIT Delhi has said: “In order to initiate the program at national level, the centre wants to organize a two-day brainstorming-cum-consultative workshop involving different stakeholders including research institutes, academics, voluntary organization, and related industries."
The IIT website also mentions that the centre aims to invite specialized groups working on panchagavya in organizations such as department of science and technology, ICMR, CSIR, Go-Vigyan Anusandhan Kendra and other goshalas among others to brainstorm on the subject.
“The SVAROP programme is taking what is written in traditional texts and non-scientific literature as the truth and embarking on a high cost project," said a senior scientist with a CSIR institute who did not want to be named. “Empirical evidence from traditional texts cannot substitute for clinical trials (on benefits of panchgavya for human health). Before starting such a program ICMR should have initiated a clinical trial program and IIT Delhi has no expertise in such trials."