Interesting facts on the development of biotechnology in India

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To promote biotechnology, in 1982, the Government of India set up the National Biotechnology Board which was replaced by a separate Department of Biotechnology in the Ministry of Science and Technology is 1986. This Department was established with objectives of

i. To evolve integrated plans and programmes in biotechnology and biotechnology related manufacturing.

ii. Establishment of infrastructure support at the national level

iii. To evolve bio-safety guidelines for laboratory research, production and applications.

iv. To initiate scientific and technical efforts related to biotechnology.

v. To act as an agent of the government for import of new recombinant DNA based biotechnological processes, products and technology.

Depart of biotechnology since its inception has been functioning with the assistance of two advisory committee and standing advisory committee. On the advice of scientific advisory committee, 13 task forces have been constituted by the Department of Biotechnology in the areas of aquaculture and marine biotechnology, animal biotechnology, biochemical engineering bioinformatics, environmental biotechnology, industrial biotechnology, medical biotechnology, integrated manpower planning. These task forces have already made very comprehensive recommendations which have been incorporated into the five year plans proposals. Realizing the need of highly skilled manpower for supporting programmes in multidisciplinary and fast moving areas of biotechnology, the department of biotechnology has evolved a very strong integrated manpower development programme, including a model systems of post- graduate and post-doctoral teaching in biotechnology, in selected universities/ institutions all over the country in collaboration of the University Grand commission, HKD ministry, Indian council of Agricultural Research and Department of Ocean Development.

The Department of Biotechnology has also created a network infrastructure facility for building up a strong research and development base. The facilities which have been set up so for include germplasm banks for plants, animals and microbes, animal tissue, production and distribution of enzymes, bioprocess optimization etc. Apart from these many institutions have been established, namely National Institute of Immunology at New Delhi and National Facilities for Animal and Tissue and Cell Culture at Pune, Center for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad, institute for Bio- Resources and Sustainable Development, Imphal (Manipur), Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, National Center for Cell Sciences, Pune etc.

The National Institute of Immunology at new Delhi is concerned with the control of fertility and the diagnosis and control of communicable diseases. The National Facilities for Animal Tissue and Cell Culture at Pune concerned with identifying, storing propagating and supplying human and animal cell lines.

The Department of Biotechnology has also constituted an expert committee on conservation of biodiversity under its plan to conserve endangered and threatened plant species which are economically and medicinally important. The department of biotechnology has further set up a national gene banks at the central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Lucknow.

Recently the National Biotechnology Development strategy has been approved by the union government. This strategy is an outcome of a two-year long nationwide consultation process with multiple stake- holders including concerned ministries, universities, research institutes, private sector, civil society, consumer groups, international bodies.

On 13th November 2007 Science and Technology Ministry stated that biotechnology is a sunrise sector which requires focused attention. The government has accorded approval for the broad frame of strategy which envisaged the full utilization of currently available opportunities in manufacturing and services, laying strong foundation for innovation, effectively utilizing novel technology platforms with potential to contribute to long term benefits in agriculture animal productivity, human health, environmental security and sustainable industrial growth.


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