India is poised to be among the top five global bio-manufacturing hubs by 2025, with the number of biotech startups increasing significantly, the government has claimed.
Launching the website for Global Bio-India 2023—an international congregation on biotechnology held at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi from 4-6 December 2023—Indian Science and Technology Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh said India has the potential to become an essential instrument of global trade and bio-economy, contributing to the country’s overall economy.
Singh said that biotechnology is tomorrow’s technology as IT has already reached saturation. He added that biotechnology startups are different genres combining new research in biology and manufacturing, processing of living systems such as microorganisms, and self-cultures.
He further shared that Indian biotech startups have grown 100 times in the last eight years from 52 in 2014 to 6,300 plus presently. Every day, three Biotech Startups are getting incorporated in India with aspirations to provide viable technological solutions, he said.
These startups are crucial to India’s future economy, he added.
“In 2014, India’s bio-economy stood at just about $10 Billion; today, it is $80 Billion. In just eight-nine years, it has gone [up] eight times, and we look forward to having $300 Billion by 2030,” Singh said, adding that India is currently being rated among the top 12 biotechnology destinations in the world.
“The biotechnology sector in India has evolved over the last three decades and has made significant contributions to various sectors, including health, medicine, agriculture, industry, and bioinformatics,” he said.
Agritech startups: a success story
The minister shared that there are currently over 3,000 agritech startups that are very successful in areas such as aroma mission and lavender cultivation.
“About 4,000 people are engaged with lavender cultivation and earning lakhs of rupees; quite a few of them do not have high qualifications but are very innovative,” he said.
Singh said the department of biotechnology has supported R&D innovations in advanced biofuels and ‘waste to energy’ technologies.
“In the future, garbage will be reduced to zero. Everything will be recycled,” he said, citing the recycling technology developed by the Dehradun-based Indian Institute of Petroleum (CSIR-IIP) by designing a van that collects waste cooking oil and converts it into biofuel.
The minister further said that The Anusandhan National Research Foundation (NRF) will spur R&D and position India as a global R&D leader in the next five years. The NRF will have enormous non-government resources—almost 70% of the NRF budget of Rs 50,000 crore ($6.1 billion) over five years is envisaged from non-governmental sources—he said.
Biotechnology trending career option
Dr. Jitendra Singh said that biotechnology has emerged as a trending career option among the youth.
“Tools like synthetic technology, genome editing, microbial bio-resources, and metabolic engineering are now talked about more often,” he said.
He added that India’s vaccine strategy, Mission Suraksha, brought together pharma, industry, and academia in partnership with an eye on meeting the current as well as possible future challenges.
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