107th foundation day programme of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) at Kolkata attended by Minister Bhupender Yadav

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AJC Bose Indian Botanic Garden of Botanical Survey of India (BSI)
AJC Bose Indian Botanic Garden of Botanical Survey of India (BSI)
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Azadi Ka Amrit Mahoutsav

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01 July 2022, Kolkata:

The Hon’ble Union Minister of the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Government of India Shri Bhupender Yadav BJP has visited AJC Bose Indian Botanic hai of Botanical Survey of India (BSI) on 1st July 2022. On his first official visit to Kolkata, he attended the 107th foundation day programme of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) at New Alipore. During this programme, he has released “the Plant Discoveries 2021” and “the Animal Discoveries 2021”. These two important publications updated the status of the floral and faunal diversity in the country. During his address to the august gathering, he heaped praise on both Institutions for playing an instrumental role in providing baseline scientific data on the status of biodiversity of India. This occasion was also attended by Shri Ashwini Kumar Choube Hon’ble Minister of State MoEFCC.

Three eminent researchers; Dr Ch Sasikala of JNT University, Hyderabad for outstanding contribution to Microbial Taxonomy, to Prof. Mamiyil Sabu, Professor in Botany, Calicut University for outstanding contribution to Plant Taxonomy and to Dr. Kailash Chandra, former Director ZSI for his great contribution to Animal Taxonomy were conferred with the “E. K. Janaki Ammal National Award” for the year 2018 during the programme.

During the function, three important publications of BSI were also released by the Hon’ble Union minister. The first book ‘Flora of India’ volume 9 comprises a comprehensive taxonomic account of 567 species, belonging to 19 families starting from Saxifragaceae to Lecythidaceae; the second book “The Wild Orchids of Goa” deals with the floristic/distributional account of 67 species (including 28 endemic species) orchids for Goa; the third book “Algal Flora of Jharkhand’ contains the taxonomic account of 744 algae species belonging to 166 genera and 64 families of Jharkhand.

Soon after the foundation day programme, the Hon’ble Minister interacted with the scientist of BSI and ZSI in detail and learned the different difficulties they face during the field trips and explorations. In his address to both BSI and ZSI Scientists, he emphasized the immense contributions of both the organization in nation-building and highly appreciated the painstaking efforts taken by the scientists for collecting the primary data with respect to the biodiversity of the country. He assured, under the leadership of Hon’ble Prime minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji, that India remains committed to providing full cooperation in all the endeavours of the scientific fraternity.

In the afternoon, the Hon’ble Minister of MoEFCC Shri Bhupinder Yadav visited the Acharya Jagdish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden, Howrah and introduced a plant Elaeocarpus angustifolius (Rudraksha) in the Botanic garden. He also inaugurated the “Aquatic plants section’’ in the garden and motivated the gathering to empower the country in all walks of life with scientific temperament.

He also visited the canopy area of the majestic “The Great Banyan tree. Dr Devendra Singh, the Scientist In-charge of the Garden narrated to him the history of the great banyan tree and the different efforts being taken to conserve the two-century-old tree. Hon’ble Minister said that the government has been pursuing seriously different scientific approaches to the conservation of biodiversity towards the fulfilling of the country’s commitment to CBD and SDG goals. He said that the Union government is in favour of promoting an “environment-friendly lifestyle” that would help not only help in creating an environmentally conscious India but also reduce the burden on mother earth. There is an urgent need to avoid mindless consumption of natural resources, action to shrink our carbon footprint, pledge for more green actions, and reduces single-use plastics so that to delay the climate change effects.
On his first visit to Central National Herbarium, Howrah, Shri Bhupender Yadav inaugurated the “Indian Virtual Herbarium (IVH)” of BSI. This interactive web portal has been developed by BSI to commemorate ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ under the Digital India initiative of the Government to showcase the plant diversity of India. Dr A. A. Mao, Director BSI appraised the Hon’ble Minister that the IVH contains more than one lakh digital images of herbarium specimens, type specimens, natural dyes and archival paintings etc. He said that this online database not only is useful to plant taxonomists but also beneficial to the naturalist, ecologist, molecular biologist, amateur researchers and all those who work on biodiversity. Presently, the IVH of the Botanical Survey of India contains the largest number of digitized specimens and is the first of its kind in the Country.
On the precursors of the programme, a press conference was organized at Press Club Kolkata to appraise the released books. Dr S. S. Dash, Scientist E and Head of Technical Section, Botanical Survey of India informed that in spite of restricted movement due to the Covid19 pandemic the scientists of Botanical Survey of India and other institutions added 315 taxa to the flora of India during year 2021; out of these 204 species are described new to science while 111 species are added to Indian flora as a new distributional record. As per current estimates, India has more than 55000 species of plants (Angiosperms, Gymnosperms, Pteridophytes, Bryophytes, Lichens, Fungi, Algae etc.).
Dr D. K. Agrawala, Scientist In-charge of the Publication Section of BSI added that the current volume of Plant discoveries records 135 taxa of angiosperms, 4 Pteridophytes, 9 Bryophytes, 28 lichens, 98 fungi, 29 algae and 12 microbes. The hotspot regions such as the Western Ghats and North Eastern Regions have contributed 28% of total discoveries. In state-wise analysis, maximum discoveries were made from Kerala with 51 taxa followed by Maharashtra and Arunachal Pradesh. This year’s discoveries include wild relatives of many potential horticultural, agricultural, medicinal, and ornamental plants such as Begonia, Impatiens (Balsams), Legumes, Zingibers, Orchids etc.
All the programmes were attended by all Scientists, staff and other officials of BSI during the first visit of the Hon’ble Union Minister of MoEFCC.

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Antara Tripathy M.Sc., B.Ed. by qualification and bring 15 years of media reporting experience.. Coverred many illustarted events like, G20, ICC,MCCI,British High Commission, Bangladesh etc. She took over from the founder Editor of IBG NEWS Suman Munshi (15/Mar/2012- 09/Aug/2018 and October 2020 to 13 June 2023).
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