IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) Database

19th December, 2022 Science and Technology

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  • The Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has approved the “Widening access of the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) database to users, besides patent offices”.



  • The TKDL database, first of its kind worldwide, was established in 2001 by the Government of India, through a collaboration between CSIR and Ministry of AYUSH.
  • Currently, the TKDL contains information on over 4.2 lakh formulations and techniques of Indian Systems of Medicine such as Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, and Sowa Rigpa as well as Yoga from the traditional texts.
  • The TK information from diverse languages and subject areas are transcribed into value-added information correlated with modern terminologies.
  • The TKDL information is presented in a digitized format in five international languages including English, German, French, Japanese and Spanish, and format easily understandable by patent examiners.


  • The key objective of the TKDL is to prevent the erroneous grant of patents on Indian traditional knowledge (TK) and deter misappropriation of the country’s traditional knowledge.


  • As per the extant approvals in place, the TKDL database is available only to patent offices through TKDL Access Agreements.

Significance if TKDL

  • The TKDL is a global benchmark in the defensive protection of traditional knowledge and has been successful in protecting India’s interest against any possible misuse of its heritage.
  • Indian traditional knowledge (TK) offers immense potential to serve national and global needs, therewith providing societal benefits as well as economic growth.  For example, the traditional systems of medicine and wellness from our country, namely Ayurveda.  Siddha, Unani, Sowa Rigpa, and Yoga are serving the needs of people from India and abroad even today.  The recent COVID- 19 pandemic has also been witnessing extensive use of Indian traditional medicines whose benefits range from immune-boosting to symptoms-relief to anti-viral activity. 
  • Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) established its first off-shore Global Centre for Traditional Medicines (GCTM) in India.  These demonstrate the continued relevance of traditional knowledge in addressing the current and emerging needs of the world. 
  • The TKDL can cater to a vast user base that would include businesses/companies {herbal healthcare (AYUSH, pharmaceuticals, phytopharmaceuticals, and nutraceuticals), personal care, and other FMCG}, research institutions: public and private; educational institutions: educators & students; and others: ISM practitioners, knowledge holders, patentees and their legal representatives, and government, among several others.
  • The TKDL will act as an important source of TK information for advancing knowledge and technology frontiers.  The current contents of TKDL shall facilitate wider adoption of Indian traditional medicines, while also propelling new manufacturers and innovators to gainfully build enterprises based on our valuable knowledge heritage.

In future, more information on Indian traditional knowledge from other domains will be added to the TKDL database from the perspectives of the “3P – Preservation.  Protection and Promotion”.  While catering to its primary mandate of preventing the grant of wrong patents on Indian traditional knowledge, the TKDL database will also push creative minds to innovate for better, safer and more effective solutions for a healthier and technology-endowed population.  India’s rich heritage shall lay a strong foundation for newer socio-economic developments