Maharashtra has always played a lead role in national economic and social renaissance. The state has looked at advances in science and technology as great opportunities for bringing about economic transformation and social change. Information technology (IT) was just a forerunner among industries and soon Maharashtra became a leading state in IT. Another emerging opportunity on the horizon is biotechnology.
Biotechnology derives its strength by harnessing biological processes that sustain life. It incorporates any technique, which uses living organisms, parts of organisms and enzymes, proteins, etc., which are either naturally occurring or are derived from such living systems. Such techniques can be used to make or modify the products, improve plant or animal productivity or develop microorganisms for special use. Emerging biotechnology uses recombinant DNA, cell fusion, embryo manipulation, etc.
The sector has the potential to transform the lives of people in the state of Maharashtra by impacting hugely on agriculture, animal husbandry, health, environmental protection, material transformation, etc. The state has the potential to become a leader in biotechnology, not only in the country but also the world, besides being the 'most preferred destination' for pharmaceutical industry and attract and accelerate investment in drugs and pharmaceuticals. The state already contributes about 40 per cent of the total turnover, and has 4,100 registered pharmaceutical manufacturers out of the total of 20,053 in India. Major Indian companies, including Wockhardt, CIPLA, LUPIN and Nicholas Piramal, not only have their presence in Maharashtra, but they are also marching forward in the most challenging and frontline areas of biotechnology.
The new initiatives rolled out by the state government will enable the biotech companies to acquire and own agricultural lands in excess of their current limits. Raising the land bar will further nurture these companies to expand their roots. The biotechnology parks and resource centre will evolve new patterns of collaboration between research scientists, industry personnel, extension workers, farming community and the consumers for wider dissemination and better understanding of the costs and benefits of biotechnology.
OBJECTIVES BEHIND HARNESSING SECTOR
Maharashtra government has been proactively involved in cultivating and nurturing biotechnology across the state. With this beneficial card, the government is aiming to improve conditions of farmers currently going through a lull phase. The development of biotech sector will provide extra benefits to farmers as well as denizens, including better, high-yielding, drought and pest-resistant crops suited to the agro-climatic conditions of the state; develop affordable and more cost-effective drugs and devices to counter diseases common to India and to tropical and sub-tropical areas, and to reduce the disease burden; cheaper and effective technologies to purify water sources and to deal with industrial effluents and urban wastes; improve the livestock in the state in order to increase the earning capacity in rural areas etc.