Traditional Knowledge Digital Library database access widened

Traditional Knowledge Digital Library is likely to power R&D and innovation based on India’s valued heritage across diverse fields. 

In what looks like a forward-looking measure adopted by the Union Government, the Cabinet has approved the widening of to the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) database to users, besides patent offices. With this move, Indian traditional knowledge is expected to benefit much, as the TKDL is likely to power research and development and innovation based on India’s valued heritage across diverse fields. 

Besides, it needs to be noted that the opening up of the TKDL would possibly inculcate thought and knowledge leadership through Bharatiya Gnana Parampara, under the New Education Policy 2020. TKDL is an art database of Indian traditional knowledge established in 2001, jointly by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Department of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy. 

A first of its kind globally, TKDL currently contains information from existing literature related to Indian Systems of Medicine, such as Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Yoga.  The information is documented in a digitized format in five international languages – English, German, French, Japanese and Spanish. 

Traditional Knowledge Digital Library access was restricted to 14 patent offices

TKDL provides information in languages and format understandable by patent examiners at Patent Offices worldwide, so as to prevent the erroneous grant of patents.  Until now, access to the complete TKDL database had been restricted to 14 patent offices worldwide for search and examination. 

It is common knowledge that the Indian traditional knowledge offers immense potential to serve national and global needs, therewith providing societal benefits as well as economic growth.  Traditional systems of medicine and wellness from our country such as Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, Sowa Rigpa, and Yoga currently cater to the needs of people from India and abroad. Significantly, the Covid 19 – 19 pandemic had triggered extensive use of Indian traditional medicines, as they are known for immune-boosting to symptoms-relief and anti-viral activity. 

Stress on integrating and co-opting traditional knowledge with current practices

The Cabinet nod to widen the access of the database beyond patent offices has its emphasis on integrating and co-opting traditional knowledge with current practices towards enhancing innovation and trade. As per this move, the TKDL will act as an important sources of traditional knowledge towards advancing knowledge and technology frontiers. 

The current contents of TKDL are expected to facilitate  wider adoption of Indian traditional medicines, besides propelling new manufacturers and innovators to gainfully build enterprises based on our valuable knowledge heritage.

The government has stated that TKDL could cater to a vast user base, including businesses in the herbal healthcare domain, AYUSH, pharmaceuticals, phytopharmaceuticals, and nutraceuticals, personal care, besides the research institutions, educational institutions and practitioners of Indian systems of medicine.

Opening up of access to the TKDL database would be through a paid subscription model with a phase-wise opening to national and international users, it has been stated.

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Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The New Indian Express, MSN India, PanAsiaBiz. Sanjeev can be reached at [email protected]

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