National Biotechnology Development Strategy 2015-2020: Civil Services Mentor Magazine - March - 2016

National Biotechnology Development Strategy 2015-2020

United Nation Convention on Biological Diversity, defines Biotechnology “any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use”. And “Biological resources” includes genetic resources, organisms or parts thereof, populations, or any other biotic component of ecosystems with actual or potential use or value for humanity. The term biotechnology was coined by Hungarian engineer Karoly Ereky in 1919. However this was not the first time biotechnology was used. Biotechnology has been used in various fields like agriculture etc. for hundreds of years. Genomics, recombinant gene techniques, applied immunology, and development of pharmaceutical therapies and diagnostic tests in the late 20th and early 21st century, have added new dimension and value to the Biotechnology.

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, announced the National

Biotechnology Development Strategy in September 2007. Through the strategy, biotechnology was recognized as a sunrise sector that needed focussed attention. The cornerstone of the strategy was to focus on building coherence and connectivity between disciplines and bring together variegated skills across sectors to enhance synergy. The implementation of Biotech Strategy 2007 has provided an insight into the enormous opportunities. Thus, it was felt opportune to take a critical look at the Indian biotech sector as it will likely unfold over the next 5-6 years.

The National Biotechnology Development Strategy-2015-2020 is the direct result of formal and informal consultations over the past two years with over 300 stakeholders including scientists, educators, policy makers, leaders of industry and civil society, voluntary and non-government organizations, regulators and international experts. The consultations offered an opportunity to discuss and evaluate technological, societal and policy aspirations, critical success factors as well as barriers that will impede growth and put them in newer and broader perspective and action plan.

The envisaged mission of the strategy is:

  • Provide impetus to utilising the knowledge and tools to the advantage of Humanity.
  • Launch a major well directed mission backed with significant investment for generation of new Biotech Products.
  • Empower scientifically and technologically India’s incomparable Human Resource.
  • Create a strong Infrastructure for R&D and Commercialisation.
  • Establish India as a world class Bio-manufacturing Hub

Important key elements of the biotechnology development strategy are:

  • Building a Skilled Workforce and Leadership
  • Revitalizing the knowledge environment at par with the growing bioeconomy
  • Enhance Research opportunities in basic, disciplinary and inter-disciplinary sciences
  • Encourage use-inspired discovery research
  • Focus on biotechnology tools for inclusive development
  • Nurturing innovation, translational capacity and entrepreneurship
  • Ensuring a transparent, efficient and globally best Regulatory system and communication strategy
  • Biotechnology cooperation- Fostering global and national alliances
  • Strengthen Institutional Capacity with redesigned governance models
  • Create a matrix of measurement of processes as well as outcome

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