Bioeconomy will be key to India’s future economy over the next 25 years: Dr Jitendra Singh

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Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today said, Bioeconomy will be key to India’s future economy over the next 25 years.

Releasing India’s Bioeconomy Report 2022, Dr Jitendra Singh pointed out that India’s Bioeconomy has reached over 80 billion US Dollars in 2021 recording 14.1% growth over $70.2 billion in 2020. Noting the rapid growth in the sector, the Minister said, Bioeconomy is likely to touch 150 billion dollars by 2025 and over 300 billion dollars by 2030.

The Minister urged all the stakeholders of Biotech sector, particularly Industry, Startup Ecosystem, Investors, Scientists, Scholars, Entrepreneurs and enablers like DBT, BIRAC to collectively work to achieve the ambitious target.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, the number of Biotech Start-ups in the country have increased from 50 to over 5,300 in the last 10 years, because of the growing enabling ecosystem and prioritization provided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He hoped that Biotech Start-ups arising from strong talent pool is expected to further increase 2 times, to 10,000 plus by 2025.

The Minister recalled that Modi’s presence in the 1st National Biotech Start-up Expo 2022 organized by DBT/ BIRAC in June this year is a testimony of growth potential in the biotech sector and innovation talent pool of our Start-up ecosystem.

Dr Jitendra Singh also launched special Biotech Ignition Grant call for North East Region (BIG-NER) and announced financial support of up to Rs 50 Lakhs each to 25 startups and entrepreneurs from North East Region to develop biotech solutions. He said, North East has huge potential and talent to take forward the Biotech sector and asked the Ministry to reach out to them.

The Minister said, due to special focus of PM Modi on the North Eastern region, the trend of mass exodus of youth from region has been reversed. He also informed that BIRAC/ DBT has established a strong network of 74 specialized bio-incubation centres in 21 states/ UTs including 7 bio-incubators in the north east region – an emerging cluster. He said, DBT/ BIRAC should continue efforts to nurture a local vibrant bio-entrepreneurial ecosystem in the beautiful and bioresource rich North East to boost the local Bioeconomy.

Dr Jitendra Singh informed that India is among the top 3 in South Asia and top 12 destinations for biotechnology in the world, with approximately 3% share in the global Biotechnology industry. Moreover, India has 2nd highest number of USFDA approved manufacturing plants outside the US. He said, biotechnology sector has the potential to have cascading multiplier effect on overall economic growth of the country. This sunrise sector enables technology led solutions for Healthcare, Industrial manufacturing, Agriculture, Environment and Clean Energy, the Minister added.

Dr Jitendra Singh said that India is global leader in the supply of DPT, BCG and measles vaccines and for Covid vaccine also, the nation has demonstrated self-sustenance and also supported several countries. He said, it is interesting to note that while most sectors showed stunted growth or negative growth in the backdrop of Covid challenge, two rounds of lockdowns and global disruptions, the Biotech sector stood out distinctly.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, the biotech sector particularly for vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutics has shown to the world that India can fight global challenges like COVID pandemic from the forefront and contribute with first-in-class and best-in-class solutions not only for itself but for the world. He added that from large manufacturers to young start-ups, the innovation ecosystem in the country have come together and today, India is self-sufficient in most of the products required to manage the pandemic and we need to keep this momentum.

Dr Jitendra Singh presented certain facts like BioPharma companies supported by Department of Biotechnology and BIRAC with risk-funding of about $71 Mn for development and manufacturing of Covid vaccines. BioPharma Industry in 2021 tripled their R&D spending to nearly $1 billion from $360 million in 2020. Industry also augmented the manufacturing capacity by 3 times from 1300 Mn dose in 2020 to 4500 Mn doses in 2021. This in turn, enabled administration of about 4 Mn doses of Covid vaccine per day in 2021. The overall impact on Bioeconomy from Covid vaccines was registered as $8.7 billion as per the India Bioeconomy report 2022.

Likewise, the production capacities also witness major increase in Covid Diagnostics from 25 million Tests in 2020 to 2000 Mn Tests in 2021. The indigenization of previously imported raw materials, reagents and components played a significant role here. The Make in India National Mission is also likely to play a major role in substituting the import dependence of medical devices where the 70-80% demand is currently being met through imports. We are already witnessing increasing contribution of biotech Start-ups innovating new affordable and accessible medical devices and digital health-tech solutions.

Secretary, DBT, Rajesh Gokhale said, this year is particularly noteworthy as it coincides with the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, a celebration of our nation’s 75 years of independence and the release of Bioeconomy 2022 report could not be more apt, as it provides an interim progress report of our journey of Atma Nirbhar Bharat.

Dr Gokhale also informed that in case of sustainable Bio-fuel, target year for 20% ethanol blending has been advanced by India from 2025 to 2023 and this biotech sub-sector has shown two times growth. The Ethanol production of 3.3 Bn liters capacity has doubled to 6.5 Bn litres in 2021. With further growth, India would save its import costs, thereby, directly impacting the Forex reserves and Import-Export imbalance in the favor of achieving $10 Trillion overall economy target by 2030.

Similarly, Agriculture sector that employs nearly 60% on India’s population has large scope of improvement. BT Cotton, Biopesticides, Biostimulants and Biofertilizers contributed to about $10.48 billion in 2021 for bioeconomy of the country.