Organisational Structure

Although CIS started its journey in 1993, it was registered in December 2004 as a Society Organisation, with ecologist Dr. Debal Deb [CV] as its Founder-Chair, designer and entrepreneur Mr. Debashis Chatterjee as Secretary, chemist Mr. Partha Majumdar, and environmental engineer and consultant Mr. Sanjay Srivastava [CV] as Executive Members. However,  CIS never renewed its registration, and continues to function as an independent forum, while Basudha was registered as a Trust in August 2009.

Since 2009, the Board of Trustees of Basudha governs all operations of CIS, including the farm and the Laboratory for Conservation. The Board of Trustees, comprised by Dr. D. Deb (Chair), Mr. Avik Saha (Secretary), Mr. Tathagata Banerjee (Addl. Secretary), Dr. Mita Dutta (Treasurer) and Mr. Debdulal Bhattacharya (Member), have a long track record of active involvement in environmental protection and in various civic movements for biodiversity conservation, cultural activism, and social justice. They share a vision of building a more socially just society, and are committed to conducting honest scientific research, documentation, awareness campaign, and policy advocacy for protecting the biological and cultural heritage of the country, resist developmentality, and promote sustainable living.

The composition of the Board of Trustees is permanent – barring death or disability of members, who are accountable for all activities of CIS. CIS has not yet received any external financial support from any funding agency. All of its activities are fueled by contributions from its founder-members and donations from friends. In 1998, CIS, as a partner of Research Foundation for Science, Technology & Ecology (RFSTE), New Delhi, established Vrihi, a folk rice gene bank — the first in eastern India. Vrihi distributes folk crop variety seeds among farmers to promote in situ conservation of rare crop varieties. Vrihi is the first and the largest non-governmental rice seed bank in eastern India.

Until 2010, CIS had its research station and demonstration farm Basudha at Binodbati village in Bankura district. However, the farm has been shifted to Kerandiguda village of Odisha’s Rayagada district. CIS engages a small, but effective, number of eminent experts in different disciplines of science, humanities and law in advocacy campaigns to influence national policies in biodiversity conservation and indigenous people’s rights. CIS periodically conducts public seminars and workshops on conservation of biodiversity, including crop genetic diversity, community forest management, biopiracy and intellectual property rights of the indigenous people, and farmers’ rights. CIS is a member of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) of India’s Ministry of Environment and Forest. CIS works in collaboration with different NGOs in the fields of people’s innovations, conservation of species and habitats, research in ecoforestry, and campaign against bio-piracy and commercial release of untested genetically modified organisms.

Basudha Biotechnology Laboratory for Conservation was founded in 2014, and is run entirely on donations from friends. Currently, Dr. D. Deb is the Director of this Laboratory, with Dr. Avik Ray and Dr. Manjari Sengupta working as Adjunct Scientists. Mr. Sanjib Chattopadhyay (Senior Research Assistant), Ms. Debarati Chakraborti (Research Assistant) and Priyabrata Roy (Research Assistant) are conducting frontier research in rice biochemistry and molecular biology as well as tissue culture of critically endangered plants for conservation.

Last Updated (Saturday, 01 June 2013 19:47)

One comment on “Organisational Structure
  1. Agentur Nina Sillem, Frankensteiner Str. 2, 60594 Frankfurt, Germany

    Frankfurt, October 31st 2018

    Dear Dr Deb,

    Please let me first introduce myself: my name is Nina Sillem, I am a literary agent based in Frankfurt, Germany. For more than twenty years I worked as a non-fiction-editor for S. Fischer Verlag, one of the oldest German publishing houses, before I started as an agent.
    I published books on enviromental and political subjects by authors such as Ilija Trojanow and Ranjit Hoskoté, Pankaj Mishra and Naomi Klein.
    I first read about you and the Vrihi rice bank in an article in the Guardia last year. A story that fascinated me right from the start. Ever since I follow your activities, your mission.
    To learn more about your initiatives, your work, the philosophy of „beyond developmentality“ would be really essential in a world which is trapped in constant growth and consumption.
    I have noticed that you wrote a big book/your opus magnum for Routledge (Beyond Developmentality: Constructing Inclusive Freedom and Sustainability) but I am hoping that you would consider a new book for a broader audience, too.
    It is so rare to find someone like you who lives up to his theory, who combines theoretical, political, philosophical knowledge with practical work, like yours in agriculture and for sustainability. It is also fascinating to see how you learned from indigenious societies.
    I would be more than happy if we could talk about such a project: A concise and accesible book on your philosophy and your new way of thinking and also on practical work for a wider audience!
    I would be thrilled to talk with you over a concept or proposal for the book. I am also well conntected to publishers in the UK, the US and elsewhere in Europe and I work with co-agents in many territories.

    I am very much looking forward to hearing from you!

    With all best wishes, sincerely,

    Nina Sillem

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Deb’s new paper on biomolecular mapping of rice grains

February 7, 2019February 7, 2019
Deb's new paper on mass spectroscopy showing localization of various biomolecules in the grains of selected rice landraces. This work was accomplished in T. Pradeep's lab in IIT-M. Read here

Deb’s work featured in Gaia Foundation exhibition

October 24, 2018October 24, 2018
Gaia Foundation's photography exhibition, We Feed the World, held in October in London, featured Deb's conservation work as one of the best examples of the triumphs and tribulations of the smallholder farmers and fisherfolk who bring food to the plates of hundreds of thousands of people every day. Report here.

IIT-Madras talk

September 12, 2018September 12, 2018
September 12:  D. Deb gave talk at IIT-Madras on ‘Agroecology’, and designed a collaborative research with Prof. T Pradeep. DD-IITM    

Debal and Debdulal train Koraput farmers

August 31, 2018August 31, 2018
Debal Deb and Debdulal Bhattacharya went to 4 villages in Boipariguda Block of Koraput district, Odisha on 29th and 30th August to give hands-on training in rouging techniques to maintain the genetic purity of the folk varieties distributed to them earlier this year. This year, more than 1100 farmers adopted 35 folk varieties to suit their land types.

Prof. T Pradeep talks at Basudha Study Circle

June 21, 2018June 21, 2018
Basudha Study Circle by Prof. T Pradeep of IIT-Madras on Nanotechnology and Water on 20 June 2018. Pradeep@BasudhaLab  

The Guardian cites Deb’s work

June 6, 2018June 6, 2018
John Vidal's new article in The Guardian describes Deb's work as "the antithesis of Bayer and Monsanto."

Deb teaches Agroecology to Bangladesh Farmers

April 25, 2018April 25, 2018
D. Deb gave an intensive training in agroecology to farmers in the Agroecology School organised by RIB, at Nilphamari, Bangladesh. DD-BD-Nilphamari DD-BD-Farmers2 DD-BD-class DD-BD-Farmers1  

Deb questions the necessity of Golden Rice

April 3, 2018April 3, 2018
At an international conference "Stop Golden Rice", held in Quezon City, D. Deb talked with Philippino ministry and activists, and demonstrated the unnecessary public expenditure on developing Golden Rice, while several indigenous rice landraces from India and the Philippines contain vitamin A. [View video of Deb's speech here]

Basudha Study Circle Talk by Santanu Mitra

January 27, 2018January 27, 2018
Basudha Study Circle Talk on "Why You Should Be More Concerned about Glyphosate Herbicide than Farmers", by Santanu Mitra, eminent expert on the environment and public health from Canada. February 24, 2018. 4:00-6:00 pm. 186A, Kalikapur Canal Road, Ekatre 2nd Floor, Kolkata 700099. [View video recording here] Tonu-Glyphosate DD-Glyphosate  

Deb’s new paper identifies an Endangered Tree in Bengal

December 30, 2017December 30, 2017
D. Deb has identified a hitherto unidentified rare tree, locally known as Sitapatra as Cordia macleodii, of which only 5 mature specimens are surviving in West Bengal. Deb also adds a few novel characters of this species to its taxonomic description. Here is the new paper, published in Dec 2017.

Crash Course in Agroecology: Principles and Practice

November 2, 2017November 2, 2017
The Crash Course was conducted from 26 to 31 October 2017. Trainees from 4  States of India and one from Germany attended the course.

Rice conservaonists from the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia visit Basudha

October 11, 2017October 11, 2017
Agroecology activists and rice conservators from the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia visited Basudha on the 9th and 10th October. The team from MASIPAG, Philippnes exchanged seeds with Basudha.

‘Silver Rice’ paper published in ACS Journal

August 5, 2017August 5, 2017
Details of silver accumulation on Garib-sal rice published in ACS journal:

Deb’s New Paper on Traditional Agricultural Knowledge

June 2, 2017June 2, 2017
Deb's new paper Folk rice varieties, traditionl knowledge and nutritional security in South Asia is published in G. Poyyamoli (ed), Agroecology, Ecosystems, and Sustainability in the Tropics. Studera Press, New Delhi.

Deb’s Talk to Punjab Farmers: Transcript

February 18, 2017February 18, 2017

Hindu Business Line Blink on Deb’s Work

February 5, 2017February 5, 2017

Laconte and Remy write on Basudha

January 1, 2017January 1, 2017
Dr. Philippe Laconte and Jean Remy wrote articles on Basudha's work on conservation and sustainability, in Reflets and Biodynamis: Cultiver la Vie.

Seedling of Vitex glabrata planted in Odisha

November 25, 2016November 25, 2016
Basudha Lab regenerated a few seedlings using tissue culture method from seeds of the last specimen of Vitex glabrata, that existed in a roadside sacred grove in Chhandar village of Bankura district of West Bengal. This Critically Endangered tree was cut down in March 2016. The first seedling was successfully transplanted in Kerandiguda village, near Basudha farm, on November 18, 2016.

Basudha’s Work mentioned in OFAI Source Book

June 1, 2016June 1, 2016
Basudha's Work and Debdulal's contribution mentioned in Shamika Mone's Source Book on Organic Seeds, published by OFAI, Goa.

Basudha Lab’s Report (Jan-Apr 2016) Published

April 25, 2016April 25, 2016
The First Quarterly Report of Basudha Biotechnology Laboratory for Conservation is published. Click to download

Deb presented agroecology before Gujarat Chief Minister

April 19, 2016April 19, 2016
Kapil Shah and D Deb were invited to gave presentation before the Chief Minister, Gujarat, to suggest (a) enlisting of agroecology experts outside of mainstream agriculture universities on faculty of the proposed Organic Agriculture University, (b) agroecological design of a demonstration plot of the university, and (c) exclusion of GMOs from the State.

Agroecology training in Chittagong, Bangladesh

April 12, 2016April 12, 2016
Deb gave agroecology training for farmers and NGOs at Chittagong, Bangladesh from 10-12 April 2016.

34 Rice Landraces Rescued from Nagaland

January 2, 2016January 2, 2016
D. Deb and Avik Saha visited the districts of Dimapur and Peren in Nagaland and rescued 34 traditional rice landraces from imminent risk of extinction from agricultural modernization.

New publication: Biochar effect on crop productivity

January 2, 2016
Recently published: "Variable effects of biochar and P solubilizing microbes on crop productivity in different soil conditions" DOI: 10.1080/21683565.2015.1118001. [Download PDF]

Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems journal mentions Basudha’s work

December 2, 2015December 2, 2015
Editorial of Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems vol. 39 (6), 2015 mentions Basudha's conservation and demonstration efforts.  [Download PDF]

New Demonstration Farm in Kashipur, West Bengal

November 28, 2015November 28, 2015
Under the auspices of Mr. Avik Saha, Basudha took over in November 2015 a new agroecological demonstration farm at Kashipur, West Bengal. This farm will (i) demonstrate agroecology and ecological fishery, and (ii) conserve multiple landraces of rice, millets, legumes and tubers.

New Study Published Showing Metal Profiles of 130 Rice Varieties

September 14, 2015September 14, 2015
In a recent issue of Current Science (10 Aug 2015), a new study on metal contents of 130 rice varieties was published, showing over 65 varieties containing high quantities of iron, and a unique variety containing a considerable amount of silver uptake and deposition in grains. This work was authored by D. Deb and Prof. T Pradeep, and Soujit Sengupta from IIT-Madras.

400 Indigenous Farmers Joining Force to Save Heirloom Seeds

May 19, 2015May 19, 2015
During a period of just 5 days, from the 13th June to 18th June, Basudha's campaign to save folk rice varieties persuaded over 400 farmer households to replace all modern rice varieties with heirloom varieties, on zero-external chemical input. D. Deb and Debdulal Bhattacharya visited 8 villages of Gendabaju and Kodisuru villages of Chandrapur block, Rayagada district of Odisha to talk with them about the value of indigenous rice varieties and the means to winning freedom from seed corporations and chemicals industry. Entire communities in these 8 villages, comprising over 400 farmer households, pledged to abandon all modern rice varieties, and grow indigenous seeds instead, on their farms. They would collect seeds free of cost from Virhi in early June. Kodisuru Gendabaju

22 Rice Landraces Rescued from Malkangiri District

March 26, 2015March 26, 2015
D. Deb surveyed 4 blocks in Odisha's Malkangiri district, and rescued 22 landraces to add to Vrihi's accession.

Biotechnology Lab for Conservation Opened in Aug 2014

August 26, 2014August 26, 2014
Basudha's Biotechnology Laboratory for Conservation opened in Kolkata on 12 August 2014, entirely funded by Mr. Avik Saha, cultural activist and lawyer, and Basudha's trustee. This laboratory is established with the explicit aim to promoting conservation of the country's biological heritage. The lab will remain engaged in studies to reveal genetic, biochemical and nutraceutical properties of folk rice varieties; and tissue culture of critically endangered plants to promote their conservation for the benefit of the local communities. This is the only lab in the country that runs on individual donations, and does not, and will not receive any institutional funding support from any governmental or corporate institutions, and is entirely aimed at biodiversity conservation. Read report in Times of India (New Delhi/Kolkata) 13 August.   [Download pdf]