India is moving from women-specific to women-led projects: Dr Jitendra Singh

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Union Minister of State (I/C) Science & Technology; Minister of State (I/C) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said that in the Biotech Start-ups sector, India is moving from women specific to women-led projects. He said, today, India is looking at a growth of the Biotech sector from $70 Billion to $150 Billion in the next 4 years and added that this cannot be accomplished without the active participation of women.

After releasing a book based on “Compendium of 75 Women Biotech Entrepreneurs” at Biotech Start-up Expo at Pragati Maidan here, Dr Jitendra Singh was addressing the session “The Way Forward”. He said, in the past 8 years of Modi Government, the number of female entrepreneur-owned Biotech companies has seen an exponential rise and this can be aptly described as women-led empowerment, rather than women empowerment only.

The Minister said that women scientists have carved a niche for themselves in Space, Nuclear Science, Drone and Nano-technology and added that many of the big scientific projects including that of the most ambitious manned mission Gaganyaan to be launched in 2023 are being led by women scientists. He said, one of the key pillars of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s New India is the success story of women innovators in the country.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, the DST and DBT in the Union Ministry of Science & Technology have special schemes to attract women scientists and to provide employment opportunities to the unemployed women scientists. The Minister said, market conditions, access to varied business opportunities, and female entrepreneurs’ readiness to jump into the world of business ownership create a winning trifecta.

Dr Jitendra Singh revealed that the number of Biotech Start-Ups in the country has increased from 50 to over 5,000 in the last 8 years, because of the support and enabling milieu provided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ever since he took over in 2014. It is expected to cross the figure of 10,000 by 2025, he added. He further added that Biotechnology is the key enabling technology driving bio-economy that is recognized as a sunrise sector. He informed that India is ranked 12th in the world in biotech, 3rd in Asia-pacific and the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world.

Dr. Jitendra Singh said, the role of science and technology in ensuring a just and equitable future for all has always been known, but the last few years have brought this issue to the fore like never before. He further added that in this Amrit–Kaal period, industry, both large and small, and academia have to come together to create and support this ecosystem and culture of innovation. Each partner brings its own expertise, resources and resolve to support this ecosystem, the Minister added.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) launched the BioCARe program to enhance the participation of women scientists in biotech research and for building capacities. He said, BIRAC launched the WinER Award (Women in Entrepreneurial Research) in association with TiE Delhi, to reward women in biotech entrepreneurship. This initiative of BIRAC along with the Women Specific Bio-incubators will be important to help all women start-ups to excel in their field.

Dr Jitendra Singh released two publications, “75 Biotech products developed during 75th year of Independence” and “Compendium of 75 Women Biotech Entrepreneurs” on the occasion. He said, the booklet “Biotech Start-up Products” featuring exemplar list of product and technologies is a testimony of the unconditional support and handholding provided to different stakeholders eventually converting the efforts of innovators and entrepreneurs into tangible products.

The Minister congratulated for the wonderful effort made by the entire biotech startup fraternity. Onus is on the stakeholders including Industry, Investors, and Agencies, Public procurement bodies to help them nurture and grow.

Dr. Rajesh S. Gokhale, Secretary DBT thanked Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for sparing valuable time to preside over Biotech Start-up Expo-2022 and for inspiring the young minds to take up the challenge to innovate to make our country ‘Atma Nirbhar’. Dr.Gokhale also thanked Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh for his support and leadership and that the DBT will make all efforts to ensure that this momentum is taken forward in the right direction.

On second day of Biotech Start-up Expo, B2B meetings were organised along with the Startup pitching sessions in front of eminent panellists and corporate leaders, Manufacturers, Investors, business mentors, Industrial representatives from ABLE, CII, FICCI, FSII, AiMed, Academic directors & professors and business mentors (TiE) were a part of the pitching session.