The Maharashtra Cabinet on Thursday approved the country’s first-of-its-kind gene bank programme in the State. The programme is aimed at conserving native biodiversity to ensure that natural resources are passed on to the next generation.
Rajiv Gandhi Science and Technology Commission, under the State government, ran the project from 2014-2019 in different parts of the State. The Cabinet on Thursday approved to continue the work and set it up permanently.
The project has identified seven sections — marine biodiversity; native crop seed; local breed oflivestock; freshwater biodiversity; barren land, grazing land and grass land biodiversity; protection and management of forest land; and, rejuvenation of forest land. The gene bank project will create database on these seven sectors.
Under the project biodiversity, traditional knowledge and local community wisdom about conservation will be documented. The successful conservation and methods will be standardised by collection and analysis and will also be popularised on different educational and social levels. It will promote permanent biodiversity conservation and suggest measures on effects on food security due to climate change.
The project will be carried out by a three-tier panel with the Chief Secretary as head of the State-level committee. Each of the seven major points identified in the project will be worked upon by organisations, research institutes or NGOs working in that area. An executive committee under Principal Secretary (Forest) will monitor the sector-wise functioning while a panel under district collector will look after the functioning at district level. A budget of ₹172.39 crore for five years has been approved.