Dr Renu Swarup, adviser, Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and managing director, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC)
The growth of the biotechnology industry over the last decade has been exceptionally satisfying. It is one of the sectors which has maintained a steady growth rate and today it has recorded a turnover of $4 billion. The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), since its inception in 1986, has played an important catalytic role in promoting this sector. The initial years focused on building the capacities for research in terms of both human resource and infrastructure across the country, leveraging international strengths through enriched international collaborations and creating and developing a robust regulatory system.
In 2001, DBT released its vision which emphasized on "attaining new heights in biotechnology research, shaping biotechnology into a premier precision tool of the future for creation of wealth and ensuring social justice-specially for the welfare of the poor". The intention of the department to ensure that the potential of this sector is optimally utilized was very clear from the msission statement which stated that -
1. To launch a major well directed effort with significant investment, for harnessing biotechnological tools for generation of products, processes and technologies to enhance the efficiency and productivity and cost effectiveness of agriculture, nutritional, security, molecular medicine environmentally safe technologies for pollution abatement, biodiversity conservation and bioindustrial development.
2. Creation of a strong infrastructure both for research and commercialization, ensuring a steady flow of bioproducts, bioprocesses and new biotechnologies.
In the 10th Year perspective Plan, it was emphasized that in order to realize the full potential of biotechnology as a frontline area of research and development with an overwhelming impact on society, the Indian biotechnology enterprise will be systematically nurtured at three distinct levels-