Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Promise

Parliament Question for 16.3.2016 raised in Lok Sabha on the subject of 'Kit to Identify Adulteration in Milk' listed as starred, stands at the second position under the names of SHRI RAHUL SHEWALE, MP; and SHRI NAGENDRA KUMAR PRADHAN, MP.

The question states, “ Will the Minister of SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY be pleased to state: (a) whether a new technology to analyse and detect adulteration in milk has been developed by the Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute and if so, the details thereof; (b) whether any survey/study has been commissioned to ascertain the availability of adulterated milk in the market and if so, the details thereof; (c) the extent to which the new technology is likely to tackle national level health hazard on account of adulteration of milk in the country along with one time and recurring cost of this new technology; and (d) whether the Government has prepared any plan to patent and popularise the use of new technology by various stakeholders and if so, the details in this regard?

In reply Dr. Harsh Vardhan the Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences gave a written statement:

(a),(b),(c)&(d) : A Statement is laid on the Table of the House.


Part wise reply:

(a) Yes, Madam (
(the current Lok Sabha Speaker is Ms Sumitra Mahajan, to who every query of every member is addressed)  A new technology to analyze and detect adulteration in milk has been developed by CSIR-Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-CEERI), Pilani. This technology is novel and is based on acquiring electrochemical fingerprint coupled with multivariate data analysis techniques. There are no systems currently available globally based on similar methods. This innovation represents the first fully Indian “concept to implementation” effort in the instrumentation related to milk and dairy, addressing an unmet need.

(b) No, Madam. CSIR-CEERI has not conducted any survey/study to ascertain the availability of adulterated milk in the market. The R&D work was started on the basis of industry requirement in dairy sector and reports/survey available during the time in electronic and print media. According to the recent reports, over 68 percent of milk in the country does not conform to the standards set by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI; based on the national vide survey conducted by FSSI in 2011).According to the FSSAIs 2011 survey, the most common adulterant was found to be the addition of water, besides, other adulterants such as glucose, skimmed milk powder, urea, detergent, refined oil, caustic soda and white paint which, according to studies, are "very hazardous" to human life and can cause serious diseases.

(c) Milk being commonly used in everyday diet, if adulterated poses serious health hazards. Deeper understanding of the role of Milk in human health, as a critical component has stimulated interest in the development of the present technology which is cost-effective. The adoption and deployment of the innovation in as many villages and milk societies possible would be a step forward in enhancing and implementing, the standards and quality of the milk. Besides it can help in generating employment. The technology excels in its ability to detect known and unknown adulterants in milk and coupled with its low cost has a great potential to be used widely in the dairy industry. This technology has been transferred to two industries, namely M/s Rajasthan Electronics & Instruments (REIL), Jaipur (a Mini Ratna PSU) in December 2012 and M/s Alpine Technologies, Surat in December 2015 for manufacturing and commercialization. M/s REIL has manufactured system based on the technology costing around Rs. 70,000/- to Rs.100,000/-. The other industry is in the process of setting up manufacturing facilities. The recurring cost for testing a milk sample through this new technology is around Rs.0.05 - 0.10. The sample measurement time is nearly 40-45 seconds. 

(d) The following two Indian Patents were filed related to innovation and thereof developed system:
(1) PC Panchariya, AH Kiranmayee & S. Raghunath, "A novel method and a system based on voltammetry for characterization and discrimination of liquids" India, 0568/DEL/ 2010A.

(2) PC Panchariya, AH Kiranmayee, R.S. Chouhan, & P. Bhanu Prasad, "A method and system for detection of synthetic milk in natural milk", India, 0198/DEL/2013A.
Efforts are on to enhance the deployment of the technology.

During Question Hour which takes place from 11 to 12 ‘o clock, the Minister further stated,
“Respected Madam I think, I have given a comprehensive reply. The amount of adulteration that is happening in the country, that is as per the latest report of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, has been given. The last survey was done in the year 2011 in which they had taken samples from 33 States. About 1700 samples were taken and it was found that 68.4 per cent of the samples of milk that were picked up from different places, were adulterated. There were many adulterants; some of them were named by you. So, in fact, the earlier process for testing adulteration in this country was actually either a routine lactometer which was able to only test the density or there was a mechanism of strips or a chemical technique in which for everything that is added, you have a different test and then you have to use chemicals and all. So, this was the time when we were in fact working on an electronic tongue and we thought to replace the man testers. We thought in our laboratory that this is a very serious problem for the country as in about two lakh villages in the country, there are about four lakh places where milk is collected. Then, through the cold chain, it is sent to the dairies. So, we have now developed the Ksheer-Scanner which is, I think, going to revolutionise the whole process of getting an instant test at the point of first collection, the first point where the milk is given to the collection centre. Comment [KR3]: Contd. by d1 16.03.2016 :: Hng-Kvj Uncorrected / Not for Publication 8 (d1/1115/lh-sk) The cost of this test is five to ten paise. You get the result within 40 seconds. Once that scanner machine is installed at different places, we can ensure quality of milk. Earlier what was happening was that if somebody was delivering milk at a place, they took sample to the main collection centre and later on testing of that sample was done with chemical methods, etc. but the damage was already done. Now, this is a mechanism in which within 40 seconds you get the result ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and you can also know the name of adulterant. So, this is a revolutionary idea. Our CSIR laboratory has already got in touch with two leading companies, one in Gujarat and the other in Rajasthan. The Rajasthan company has already installed 50 scanners at different places in four States. They had initially done testing on 2,000 samples and they crosschecked their results with chemical methods. The accuracy of this test was one hundred per cent. We have demonstrated it before whole group of our media people who cover the scientific community. After this revolutionary discovery by our scientists, we are now in the process of further developing it for individual people at homes. That is a Ksheer scanner that we are developing, which will be costing only Rs.10,000. Our ultimate aim is to develop this machine further in a way that the whole chain of milk collection is connected through GPS system and wherever there is adulteration in milk, immediately a message can be sent to the dairy that this is a particular sample and at one particular place adulteration is likely to happen. Comment [l4]: Q.No. 262 cd. Dr. Harsh – contd. 16.03.2016 :: Hng-Kvj Uncorrected / Not for Publication 9 To make this happen and also to convert into really peoplefriendly and people-saving movement in the country, I have written to all the Health Ministers of the country. We have requested them to involve their PFA Department and also their Animal Husbandry Department. I would also simultaneously appeal to all the Members of Parliament to take care of their own constituency and maybe through their MPLAD fund or by just mobilizing local resources, they can ensure that this scanner is installed at all the collection centres and also at all the dairies. Then, it can be used in other places also. In the societies also this machine can be installed at the gate and when somebody comes and delivers milk, one can get it tested. That is the basic idea. This is a very serious problem which is actually adversely affecting the health of millions of people in this country. Not only one particular organ of the body is affected but also from heart to liver, from liver to kidney, from kidney to gastrointestinal tracts leading to cancer, etc. Many ailments are actually happening due to adulteration in milk. It deserves the serious attention of all of you and particularly you can make your own areas free of adulteration in milk, which is happening now. You can actually do it with a very simple technique”.

This seems to me to be a bit of a coincidence.

Today while I was reading a by-line ‘2 out of 3 Indians drink milk laced with detergent, urea and paint’ by Rhythma Kaul published in the front page of the Hindustan Times, my door bell rang and my wife, who opened the door, fetched a half litre of milk pack offered by a certain company named dairylac. Along with the milk pack, there is an accompanying brochure too.

Dairylac promises delivery of the organicalized milk in 12 to 24 hours in below 4 degrees centigrade temperature. It is scientifically proven that bacteria does not grow in temperatures below 4 degrees. This implies use of a multitude of workers from the farm to the customers’ doorsteps. Digitalization of customer experience and development of android and ios applications and the option of conducting tests at every stage are also on offer.

This comes in the backdrop of high rates of cancer, especially breast cancer in modern time.  So the timing is not altogether bad.