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Prized Or Priced?

Posted on 10 August 2012  | 
The traditional knowledge (TK) of India’s people touches many lives within the country and outside it. For the holders of TK, it is their very lives and thus valuable as is. For others who don’t live by it, it has been priced – given a monetary value, be it by the manufacturer of ‘value-added’ products, the law and policy-maker making rules for marketing, or the consumer who renders payment for the end products.

India is seen as a treasure house of knowledge related to the biological world. But despite its mega bio-richness and booming bio-industry, this treasure has not translated into overall wealth and well-being for the vast majority of its people. There is a classic divide amongst those who embody it and others who merely attribute economic value to it.

TK is worth billions for the life sciences corporations. So the industry has a vested interest in the business of TK ‘protection’. And governments view TK management as both a means to exercise control and as a resource for revenue generation. The regulatory regime is aiding the taking out of informal know-how from local communities to the ‘outside’ world. Protection of TK is thus being defined from that perspective. That too not really by those who actually practice it.
Prized Or Priced?
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