Budget proposes Kerala Genomics Data Centre

Thiruvananthapuram, March 11 : A Kerala Genome Data Centre (KGDC) will be set up in line with international models to generate, curate and publish Genomic Data related to medical, agricultural and livestock sectors, Finance Minister K N Balagopal announced on Friday. He made the announcement while unveiling the state Budget for 2022-23 in the Assembly. Saying that this five-year project was expected to be complete with an expenditure of Rs 500 crore, the Minister said Rs 50 crore was earmarked in the Budget for the first phase of this project. A high capacity data center capable of storing and processing large genomic data will be set up in collaboration with Kerala versity, he said. K-DISC (Kerala Development and Innovation Strategy Council), a strategic think-tank and advisory body constituted by the government, has initiated steps to establish the KGDC, he said. This will be beneficial for health care, study on critical genetic disorders and to improve the productivity of the primary sector, he said. In the backdrop of Covid-19 pandemic, an initial amount of Rs 5 crore has been allocated to set up a Centre of Excellence (COE) and a strategic programme on Microbiome, integrating various research institutes, within a year. ‘Microbiome’, an important key to understand the inter-relationship among human beings, animals and environment, is the sum total of the interventions of microbial organisms and their genetic components in a special environment. A sum of Rs 25 lakh is provided for the preparation of a detailed project report for establishing a Centre of Excellence in Nutraceuticals in Kerala. Scientists and health care experts opines that it is beneficial to ensure healthcare and to improve living standards of the society, he said. This new knowledge sector integrates the nutrition and pharmaceutical sciences with traditional knowledge and medical practices imparted by aboriginal comm ties around the world. A total of Rs 15 crore was earmarked for ‘India Innovation Centre for Graphene,’ a project jointly implemented by the Kerala government and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology with the Tata Steel Ltd as industrial partner and the C-MET and the Digital versity as implementing agencies. Graphene is an extremely thin substance, but 40 times stronger than diamond and 200 times than steel, he said. Graphene is transparent and at the same time a good electric conductor having extraordinary physical, thermal, electrical and optical specificities. Hence, Graphene can bring about unbelievable changes in electronic, industrial and construction sectors, he added. DS MR

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