Biotech StartUps are crucial to India’s future economy: Dr Jitendra Singh

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Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology, MoS PMO, Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space and MoS Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Dr Jitendra Singh has said that the Biotech StartUps are crucial to India’s future economy.

“We had just about 50 Biotech Startups 8 to 9 years back, now we have around 6,000, so, I think, we still need to have more,” said Dr Jitendra Singh, inaugurating a discussion meeting for fostering Biomanufacturing Initiative of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), in New Delhi.

Dr Jitendra Singh said Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi awakened India to the merits and huge potential of Biotechnology in this country..

“India’s bioeconomy was just about $8 Billion in 2014 and now under Prime Minister Narendra Modi we have at least awakened to the merits of Biotechnology and Bioeconomy. it has grown up to $100 Billion, now we are targeting $150 Billion by 2025. This is going to be the ‘future value addition’ to India’s economy in the years to come,” he said, adding, “We rank 12th in the world, 3rd in the Asia Pacific as far as bioeconomy is concerned and rank One in vaccine production.”

The Science & Technology Minister said Biotechnology has the potential to become an instrument of global trade.

“India has a huge wealth of bioresources, an unsaturated resource waiting to be harnessed and an advantage in Biotechnology especially due to the vast biodiversity and the unique bioresources in the Himalayas. Then there is the 7,500 kms long coastline and last year we launched the Samudrayaan which is going to dig the biodiversity beneath the seas,” he said.

Dr Jitendra Singh said Biotechnology has emerged as a trending career option among the youth. In a recent survey of Class 12 students in Delhi it was found that Biotechnology was ranked as the preferred stream at No.4/5 whereas earlier it didn’t figure anywhere as a career option, he said.

“So this is something not widely known, and that’s also the reason it took us so much of time to attract young minds into it,” said Dr Jitendra Singh. “Tools like synthetic technology, genome editing, microbial bioresources and metabolic engineering are now talked about more often, particularly when we linked it (genetic engineering) with the management of diseases, people got more enthusiastic,” he added.

Dr Jitendra Singh said Biotechnology Startups is a different genre combining new research of Biology and Manufacturing, viz processing of living systems such as micro-organisms, self-cultures etc. So they could also be the instruments of manufacturing.

“Biotechnology provides you with a milieu, an environment which will be Clean, Greener and more compatible with your well being, then your stake gets linked. And as time passes by, it also generates lucrative sources of livelihood, also the alternatives to the petrochemicals-based manufacturing, like bio-based products like food additives, bioengineering ties, animal feed products,” he said.

To mark the ‘World Bioproduct Day’ , Dr Jitendra Singh also launched the DBT social media campaign #IChooseLiFE to promote Biomanufacturing and making use of bioproducts.

Dr. Rajesh S. Gokhale, Secretary, DBT and Chairman, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), Dr. Jitendra Kumar, Managing Director, BIRAC and Dr. Ramesh V Sonti, Director, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), were among the dignitaries present during the discussion meeting.