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India's bio-economy grew 8 times in last 8 years

  • Published
    5th Dec, 2022
Context

While addressing the “International Conference on Emerging Trends in Biosciences and Chemical Technology”, Union Minister of state for Science and Technology mentioned that India’s bio-economy grew 8 times since 2014.

Details of the event:

  • The conference is being organized by Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, School of Biotechnology in collaboration with CSIR-IIIM Jammu and The Biotech Research Society of India.
  • The discussion highlighted that biotech Start-ups in India have grown 100 times in the last 8 years from around 52 to over 5300. 
  • A total of 1,128 biotech start-ups were set up in 2021 alone, signalling the rapid growth of the sector in India.
  • The sector is creating over 25,000 high-skilled jobs.

India’s potential in the field of Biotechnology:

The biotech sector can be broadly divided into five major segments:

  • Biopharma
  • Bio-agriculture
  • Bio-services
  • Bio-industrial Applications
  • Bioinformatics
  • Efforts in Past: In 1986, much before any other country in the world, India recognised the enormous potential of biotechnology and established a separate departmentcommitted to this branch of science.
  • Current Economic Status: Currently, India accounts for approximately 3% of the global biotech industry.
    • The biotechnology sector in India has grown from $1.1 billion in 2003 to a mammoth $64 billion sector in 2019 and by 2024; it is expected to be a $100 billion industry.
  • Growing Biotech Start-ups:India’s pioneering achievements in biotechnology is the primary reason why the sector employs the best of minds and contributes to the development of generic and affordable medicare.

Significance for India:

  • In field of Medicine:
    • Biotechnology techniques are used in medicine for diagnosis and treating different diseases.
    • The field of Biotechnology, genetic engineering has introduced techniques like gene therapy, recombinant DNA technology and polymerase chain reaction.
    • Genetic modification in mosquitoes can solve the problems of epidemic diseases such as dengue and malaria
    • Artificial insemination is the artificial introduction of semen into the reproductive tract of a female animal.
    • Stem cell transplantation was first used in the treatment of blood disorders and it was a breakthrough.
  • In Agriculture:
    • By altering genes, studying and cloning various crops in order to provide better quality products of foods ultimately improving our lives.
    • Hybrid Seeds, Artificial Seeds, Photosynthesis improver, Stress resistant crops and plants, Bio-fertilisers, Bio-pesticides are some of the potential applications.
    • Reducing the use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.
    • As an improvement on conventional plant-breeding technologies.
  • In Animal husbandry:
    • The application of biotechnology in this area, in increasing production efficiency through manipulation and control of physiological systems and improving the health and well-being of animals, assumes great significance.
  • In Food Processing:
    • Biotechnology also has applications in the detection of mutagens (substances that cause genetic mutations) in individual food products.
    • GM crops which have been approved for use in food items in select countries include corn, maize, soya, tomato, potato and papaya.
    • Latest innovations in biotechnology that fortify major staples with micro nutrients like vitamin A, zinc and iron can be game changers for hunger problem in India.
  • Environment:
    • Biotechnology can be used to tackle environmental issues like deforestation and air pollution.
    • Biosensors, which combine a biological component (such as an enzyme) with various electronic components to trigger a circuit when a particular type of chemical is detected.

Important Government Initiatives:

  • Make in India, Skill India, Start-up Indiaprogrammes are aimed to develop India as a world-class biotechnology and bio-manufacturing hub.
  • Bio manufacturing hub: The government’s aspirational goal of developing the country into a $100-billion bio manufacturing hub by 2024is certainly going to give a fillip to the biotechnology sector as well.
  • Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC),established under the Department of Biotechnology in 2012, continues to play a crucial role in the development of the biotech sector in India. BIRAC brings innovators and funders on to a common table, enabling ideas to become a reality and facilitate technological advances that make human progress possible.
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