Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India has been authorized by Ministry of Agriculture has vide Gazette of India Notification dated 10th March 2006 notified that “In exercise of the powers conferred under section 8 of the seeds Act, 1966 (54 of 1966), to act as Certification Agency for the purpose for certification of the tissue culture-raised propagules up to laboratory level and to regulate its genetic fidelity as prescribed by them”. Accordingly a National Certification System for Tissue Culture Plants (NCS-TCP) has been developed.
Components of NCS-TCP
The NCS-TCP is well organized. The components and their role and responsibilities are given below:
i. Tissue Culture Certification Agency (TCCA)
The Certification Agency (DBT) is responsible for implementing the National Certification System for Tissue Culture Plants (NCS-TCP) in the Country.
An Accreditation Cell of Project Management Unit (PMU)has been setup for undertaking Accreditation of Test Laboratories for testing of Virus and Genetic Fidelity/ Uniformity and also Recognition of Tissue Culture Production Facilities, based on the established guidelines and criteria.
Referral Laboratories have been identified for carrying out confirmatory tests, if required, and also for developing standard protocols, maintenance of referral material, training etc. The Certification Agency is overall responsible for developing standard tests, production protocols/guidelines and manuals. It will also set-up a Monitoring Unit which will be responsible for monitoring issue of certificates by Accredited Test Laboratories.
ii. Accreditation Panel (AP)
The Certification Agency maintains a panel of experts to undertake initial assessment of laboratory facilities for virus diagnosis and genetic fidelity/ uniformity testing for accreditation and/or periodical auditing of accredited facilities for granting renewal/revalidation/ reinstatement. The Accreditation Panel makes an assessment of the tissue culture production facility. The panel comprises experts specialized in plant tissue culture/plant biotechnology/plant virology/plant bacteriology/ molecular biology and a phytosanitary expert. The Accreditation Panel submits its assessment report based on established criteria/guidelines to the accreditation cell of PMU for grant of accreditation/ recognition. The guidelines for Accreditation of laboratory facilities for Virus diagnosis and genetic fidelity/ uniformity testing and for Recognition of tissue culture production facilities are at Annexure-I. The Accreditation cell of PMU ensures that the eligibility criteria of application and mandatory criteria of self assessment report are met with prior to initial assessment of facility for accreditation/recognition.