GENESIS AND HISTORY OF PLANT TISSUE CULTURE ASSOCIATION (INDIA)
Every person and every organization has a story to tell. A recorded history is a tangible way of both preserving and sharing the story of our Association. Recording the history contributes to a better understanding of the developments and changes it has undergone through the years and to take corrective measures (if necessary) in the pursuit for excellence.
Plant Tissue Culture Association (India) has been the brain child of Dr. V. Jagannathan, in 1976, the then Head of Biochemistry, National Chemical Laboratory, Pune. He was and is an ardent believer that in-depth research discussions will lead to significant contributions in the field of plant tissue culture and molecular biology. He believed an association of plant tissue culture modeled on lines of Gordon Research Conferences in USA and the Annual Mahabaleshwar Symposia, India would be ideal to usher in scientific breakthroughs in these areas. The meetings are visualized as platforms for informal in-depth discussions rather than formal presentations of the research done in various laboratories. Further, the deliberations should form the basis for recommendations to the Biotechnology policy and funding agencies. With these concepts, Dr. V. Jagannathan had extensive discussions with the eminent and senior researchers in India (in addition to the founder members and Trustees of the Association, Drs. H. C. Arya, Sipra Guha Mukherjee, P. S. Rao, H. C. Chaturvedi, M. R. Heble, R. D. Iyer, D. N. Gadgil, PushpaKhanna, Laxmi Sita, A. R. Mehta, and others) and the result is the formation of Plant Tissue Culture Association (India). The support and enthusiasm of these researchers in formation of the Association in the formative years were commendable.
Registration of the Association
The Association was registered, after extensive deliberations with all the stake holders, under The Societies Registration Act, 1860 (ACT XXI OF 1860) under Registration No. MAH / 1143 / Poona on 20th day of July 1976. The founder members and Trustees of the Association as incorporated in the articles of Constitution of Plant Tissue Culture Association (India) are: Dr. V. Jagannathan, Prof. B. M. Johri, Prof. H. Y. Mohan Ram, Prof. N. S. Rangaswamy, Dr. S. B. David, Dr. K. V. Krishnamurthy and Dr. A. F. Mascarenhas. Dr. L. K. Doraiswamy, the then Deputy Director of National Chemical Laboratory, Pune has authorized the registration of the Association with the Registrar of Societies under Maharashtra Act and approved the location of the Registered Office of the Association: The Biochemistry Division, National Chemical Laboratory, Poona 411 008.
Membership and Finance
At the first PTCA (I) meeting convened by Dr. V. Jagannathan in 1977-78 at NCL, Pune, Dr. A. F. Mascarenhas, the then group leader of plant tissue culture at NCL was elected as the Secretary of the Association. Dr. A. F. Mascarenhas efficiently coordinated and conducted the Association meetings with the Conveners of the Association at various venues while Dr. K. V. Krishnamurthy looked after the functions of a Treasurer (unofficially) as the Constitution does not provide for the post of a Treasurer.
This arrangement continued till Dr. A. F. Mascarenhas was superannuated in 1991. During this period, various amendments to the Constitution such as: increase in the number of members of the Association from 50 to 75; increase in the annual membership subscription of the Association to Rs. 25/- from Rs.10/-; biennial lectures in memory of Prof. H. E. Street and Prof. Gadgil were ratified by the General Body of the Association and subsequently by the competent authority. During this period, as a result of discussions to build a corpus fund of the Association, Dr. V. Jagannathan, who joined as an Eminent Professor at TERI, New Delhi after superannuation at NCL, Pune in 1984 and Dr (Mrs.) Laxmi Sita of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore contributed to the corpus fund from the “balance of funds” available after conducting respective PTCA (I) meetings. At present this corpus fund is in the form of fixed deposits of the Association. The interest generated from the corpus fund was meant to finance the senior research workers to attend the Association meetings who have superannuated from their respective affiliations. In a response to the Query from Income Tax Department, the Association accounts were audited by a professional auditor and the statement of accounts were filed annually to the Income Tax department under the Bombay Public Trust Act of 1950 claiming exemption of tax liability. This practice was followed till the year 2002.
In the years 1976-1984, the Symposia meetings lived up to the very foundation objectives of more informal discussions and submission of recommendations to the policy and funding agencies. Subsequently, to sustain these laudable objectives has become more difficult due to changing scenarios in policy environments, increase in the number of members of the Association, financial resources to accommodate and conduct the Association meetings and others. To alleviate these circumstances, the Association meetings were clubbed with Symposia on a theme of national importance.
Dr. K.V. Krishnamurthy was elected as the Secretary of the Association in the year 1991, at the annual Association meeting held at Lucknow, the position he continued to occupy till his superannuation from NCL. In these years he used to look after the affairs of the Association both as a Secretary and Treasurer. The help and services rendered by Mr. Dinesh Chouk, his secretary in the office at NCL to maintain the records of the Association, computerizing the documents and statement of accounts were commendable. In this period many amendments to the Constitution such as: the procedure for the election to the post of Secretary of the Association, the procedure for utilization of fixed deposits for a cause, the procedure for election and admission of new members to the Association, the procedure for an industry / company to become an Institutional member of the Association were approved by the General Body and subsequently by the Charity Commissioner, Pune. In this period, Prof. Mohan Ram instituted a Gold medal to be awarded to a young researcher below 30 years of age at the annual Association meetings in memory of late Prof. F.C. Steward and contributed Rs. 5000/- towards this cause.
On the eve of Dr. K.V. Krishnamurthy’s superannuation from NCL, in consultation with the trustees of the Association and other senior Professors and researchers, he had the privilege to modify the Constitution (“New Constitution”) taking into consideration all the amendments passed by the General Body from time to time from the date of inception of the Association up to 2001. This New Constitution was approved by the General Body at its 24th Meeting held at S. P. Jain Center, University of Delhi South Campus on October 13, 2001. This New Constitution provides for: the posts of Secretary and Treasurer of the Association, introduction of “life members” category, and deletion of the clause of “Industry / Company as an Institutional member” and others. At the same meeting at Delhi University South Campus, Prof. S. K. Sopory and Dr. A. D. Karve were elected as Secretary and Treasurer of the Association; Prof. N. S. Rangaswamy, Prof. H. V. Mohan Ram, Dr. K. V. Krishnamurthy, Dr. V. Jagannathan have withdrawn from the post of Trustees of the Association paving way for others.