The institute known as ICAR - NIBSM was created after recommendations of the Veerappa Moily Oversight Committee on the implementation of the reservation in higher educational institutions for expansion, inclusion and excellence. The recommendation said “establishment of a dedicated research institute of Deemed-to-be-University Status on Biotic Stress Management”. Institute came into being as a follow up of this recommendation pursued after union cabinet’s approval to the proposal of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, Department of Agricultural Research and Education during the 12th five year plan. The Chhattisgarh government handed over 50.19 ha land, the erstwhile Dr.Richhariya Research and Training Centre of the Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Raipur to NIBSM. The land is fertile and has various edaphic and pedological characteristics that can be utilized in the biotic stress research on crops and animals. The foundation stone of the institute has laid on 7th October, 2012 as the 99th research institute under Indian Council of Agriculture Research, New Delhi. The then Union Agriculture and Food Processing Industries Minister, Shri Sharad Pawar ji, laid its foundation stone in the gracious presence of Dr. Raman Singh, Chief Minister, Chhattisgarh, Dr. Charan Das Mahant, the then Union minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Shri Chandra Sekhar Sahoo, the then Agriculture Minister of Chhattisgarh, Dr. S. Ayyappan, Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Dr. S.K. Patil, Hon’ble Vice Chancellor, Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Raipur. Senior officials of the ICAR such as DR S.K. Datta, Deputy Director General (Crop Science), Dr T.P. Rajendran the then Assistant Director General (Plant Protection) from ICAR were present on the occasion along with Senior officials of Chhattisgarh Government.
Uniqueness of the Institute
NIBSM is the only institute of its kind in the country. The research institute under this proposal has over-arching domain amongst the existing plant protection research of the National Agricultural Research and Education System (NARES). It would also integrate the resources available under various universities and equivalent institutions through the deemed-to-be-university status that it desires to attain soon after its full-fledged establishment.
Some Background Information
Traditionally, focus was given in India, since colonial times, to undertake research on mitigation of arising biotic stresses in agriculture of every season. Although several research institutes of Indian Council of Agricultural research (ICAR), State Agricultural Universities (SAUs), and other agencies/organizations are working on biotic stresses, the efforts are far too inadequate considering the magnitude of the problem. Integrated Pest Management of crop pests was one of the toolbox that was developed to tackle pests and diseases in crops. The research of tackling the biotic stresses most of the times is on isolated lines, even though the multiple biotic stresses occur in conjunction. Moreover, during the last decade, several new tools in the areas of biotechnology, nanotechnology, remote sensing, information technology, and polymer sciences have become available for application in crop and animal health management. Therefore it is of national importance to not only initiate high quality research programme with global standards in this important area, but also capture, synthesize, adapt, and apply the technological advancements taking place in scientific fields. Conjunctively, it is also indispensable to build up human resources through education and capacity building to address all the emerging challenges of biotic stress management such as biosecurity and biosafety of agricultural systems.
Focused research on this important area in the National Agricultural Research and Education System (NARES) has been proposed through the novel concept of ‘hub and spoke model’ to take on unresolved issues in biotic stress management in spite of progress in research in this direction. The long term study of weather clearly states that there are changes in weather parameters so called “climate change”, which is very likely to aggravate the adverse impact of biotic stresses further. Therefore, there is an urgent need to take up coherent research plans to answer basic questions on modern agriculture influencing ecological process in agricultural farms in the country.
It is a fact that still farmers from remote parts of the country are unable to use various modern tools to manage biotic stress on their field, which creates more pressure to sustainability of resource poor, less knowledgeable farmers. Poor access to tools and products of modern tool box of crop / animal health management is retrogressive to ambitions of growth in agriculture.
Like-wise increasing CO2 and greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere are possible reasons for increasing pest pressure and change in pest species community patterns to agricultural and horticultural crops. These factors are changing the pest scenario and there are great shift in pest dynamics.
In the animal and fisheries sector, biotic stresses emerging out of parasitism and commensalism between microorganisms and higher facultative / obligatory organisms have taken toll in the productivity of commodities in the organized sectors for commercial exploitation from captive and natural production systems. Scientific tools and techniques would ease the stresses endured by animals (livestock, poultry, piggery, fisheries etc.) and shall provide better initiatives amongst entrepreneurial initiative. Commercial agriculture has to sustain farming system approach to offer profitability. Ventures in agriculture shall shoot up if mitigation of biotic and abiotic stresses is contained to acceptable levels of loss of agricultural commodities
The NIBSM shall exclusively undertake basic and strategic research on mining, isolating, characterizing, and deploying novel genes for biotic stress tolerance. It visualizes to generate intermediate products for tolerance to multiple stresses such as gene constructs and stress induced promoters, which will be made use of by crops / animals, based institutes to develop end products. It will seek to evolve a novel technology for biotic stress and also with respect to climate change related biotic stresses and focus on HRD and capacity building on biotic stress management. The institute will strongly complement the ongoing R&D in science and technology (S&T) platforms under National Agricultural Research and Education System (NARES). NIBSM, as deemed university, has been signified to redeem the strong influence of biotic stresses in the agricultural growth in the country in the context of human resource requirement to service the expected institutional framework once the country enacts the Agricultural Biosecurity and Biotechnology regulatory authority bills. NIBSM shall strive to unify the basic research in the area of factors that afflict health in the farm sector.
The NIBSM proposes to utilize the ICAR infrastructure for the purpose of nationally networked research areas. The ICAR initiative of Consortia Research Platforms (CRPs) shall be one another opportunity for multi-institutional research plan. Common goals of research interests between other government Departments such as Department of Science &Technology, Department of Biotechnology, Department of Earth Sciences etc. could be utilized for pursuing mission-programmes in System biology for systematic research on biological relationships, Database as strength to develop new data-banks, Computational mathematics and biology, biosensors and bio-regulators, microbes as tools for biotic stress monitoring and management, policy dynamics for natural resource optimization, new and emerging systems for Indian agro-ecologies etc. The ICAR research set up, viz., national bureaus, research institutes and agricultural universities; research programmes of other public and private research institutions shall be looked for appropriate collaborations under specific documents for enabling inter-institutional arrangement.
Convergence of Research Expertise for Higher Output
The pool of scientists in the NARES as well as of that in other institutions under various government departments shall be pooled towards working on networked solutions in key biotic stress issues. The specialized knowledge created in agricultural biotic stress management shall be maintained as IP protected pool of the team. The research expertise shall create tool boxes in order to match the demands for solutions in the wake of changing agricultural farming scenario under the influence of weather aberrations, dynamic changes in natural resources and agro-ecology. The research expertise could be pooled and deployed to address alien species threats that are looming large through the movement biological materials under trade and other routes.
The institute will strongly complement the ongoing R&D in science and technology (S&T) platforms under National Agricultural Research System (NARS). The institute will conduct research programme through four schools namely crop health management, crop resistance system, crop health biology and crop policy support system. The NIBSM should concentrate in cutting-edge research in frontier areas so that real benefit through the associated institution set up could be harnessed. The emerging issues on biosafety and biosecurity in agriculture, particularly in the light of emerging new pests as well as possible introduction of new pests (organisms that cause diseases, insects, mites etc.) could bear economic burden on Indian agriculture.Futuristic research in the management on emerging new pests could address certain aspects of agricultural biosecurity of the country. As an umbrella body, this institution aspires to oversee both the funding and management of research in the areas of managing biotic stresses in agriculture.
Yet another aspect of increased consumer awareness on safety of agricultural commodities has been the perceived biosafety threat from the contamination of agro-chemicals, particularly those for pest management and nutrient supply to crops. NIBSM has the mandate to take up the risk assessment due to the deployment of recommended application of agricultural chemicals and estimate the hazards emerging from those to consumer-communities including animals and humans. The institute would take up policy research in this direction and enable stakeholder-involvement for this purpose. NIBSM has the advocacy for responsible use of pesticides such as taking up good agricultural practice while using them that includes bringing in the safe handling and application in crops, safe transport and scientific destruction of pesticide containers and packing materials, rigidly following the type and nature of application of pesticides in crops is key to avoidance of potential risks that are anticipated from the use of pesticides in crops.
The research institute under this proposal has over-arching domain amongst the existing plant protection research of the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) and it would also integrate the resources available under various universities and equivalent institutions through the deemed-to-be-university status that it desires to attain.
NIBSM is entrusted with an unique research mandate of devising novel mitigation measures of biotic stresses in farming sector through revamping the inadequacy of the ongoing national programmes for assuring national food and nutrition security menaced by vibrant pests/pathogens in the pursuit of climate change, pathogenic mutations, intervention to keep a clean environment and global regulations under WTO/IPR regimes. To meet this goal, a long term strategy is indisputably entailed. NIBSM envisions generating intermediate products for tolerance to multiple stresses such as gene constructs and stress induced promoters, which will be made use of by crops based institutes to develop end products. Discerning molecular mechanisms of host- pest/pathogen recognition, pest/pathogenic invasion and colonization in the host tissue will be of prime concern and will be addressed as pre-requisite research themes.
Another equally important issue of NIBSM mandate is to evolve novel technology of biotic stress management with respect to climate change and biorisk fervour in the WTO and IPR regimes. HRD and capacity building befitting a modern global trend in biotic stress management is still another crucial component under obligation of deemed university, the legal status bestowed on NIBSM. The institute will strongly complement the ongoing R&D in science and technology platforms under National Agricultural Research System (NARS).