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Biotechnology - A Vision


In order to realise the full potential of biotechnology as a frontline area of research and development with an overwhelming impact on society, the Indian biotechnological enterprise will be systematically nurtured at three distinct levels. The focus would be on : basic research in modern biotechnology, including genomics and bioinformatics; agriculture, plant and animal biotechnology; medical biotechnology; environment and biodiversity; biofuels; product and process development and bioinstrumentation; human resource development; creation and strengthening of infrastructure in existing and new institutions; biotechnology for societal development; biosafety, ethical issues and biotechnology related policy issues; conduct of cutting edge research, large scale demonstrations, partnership with private and public sector industries for commercialisation and marketing of bioproducts.

Enhancing the knowledge base and generating highly skilled human resource :
'The national bioscience research endeavour in elucidating the molecular basis of plant, animal and microbial life processes will be honed to the cutting-edge by applying global standards. Necessary informational resources will be systematically developed through data banks, inventories, and germ plasm repositories. Human resource development in biosciences and biotechnology will be enhanced to achieve widespread excellence in both teaching quality and support resources. At least 20 Distinguished Professorships in Biotechnology would be instituted to recognize the excellence and provide opportunities for furthering research. Awards and incentives would be instituted to recognize meritorious efforts. Selected missions in identified areas would be launched.

Nurturing leads of potential utility :
Life technology development leads emerging from the bioscience enterprises will be vigilantly identified and fostered in three major areas; agriculture, health care and the environment. Widely available information resources will be developed for this interface via regulated and comprehensive repositories, systematic biological standardisation, and patent support mechanisms. Industrial transitions will be facilitated with large-scale demonstrations and seed partnerships. Pro-active steps will be taken to address societal concerns by establishing transparent mechanisms of systematic public dissemination of bio-information, and by putting into place comprehensive stringent frameworks for both bioethics and biosafety.

The widely spread bioinformatics network would be maximally utilised to ensure connectivity as also sharing and exchange of information, nationally and internationally, data analysis, software development and for dissemination of information. The required infrastructure facilities would be strengthened and created wherever necessary.

Bringing bio-products to the marketplace :
Innovative policies will be developed and implemented, in conjunction with other government departments and agencies, to enhance the biotechnological landscape for investment, to champion Indian biotechnology in the global marketplace, and to design innovative as well as defensive strategies for global intellectual property rights. Systematic interventions at this level will include pilot-scale production and training units, short- as well as long-term partnerships with the biotechnology industry, and coordination of public investment in societally essential products with low commercial returns. We aim at achieving excellence in this field, indigenous self reliance and international competitiveness.

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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.