[Answered] Examine how Biotechnology sector can emerge as engine of economic growth and societal change?

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Potential of biotechnology sector as a growth engine.
Conclusion. Way forward.

India is among the top 12 biotech destinations in the world and ranks third in the Asia-Pacific region. The biotechnology sector of India is highly innovative and is on a strong growth trajectory. The sector, with its immense growth potential, continue to play a significant role as an innovative manufacturing hub. The sector is one of the most significant sectors in enhancing India’s global profile as well as contributing to the growth of the economy.

Potential of biotechnology sector as a growth engine:

  1. India has no dearth of talent in biotechnology, as a number of institutions, both government and autonomous, provide the necessary opportunities for the students seeking to obtain a degree in this sector. The Government of India has provided adequate scope to this sector by providing facilities for Research and Development (R&D) in the field of biotechnology.
  2. The Indian biotech industry holds about 2 per cent share of the global biotech industry. The biotechnology industry in India, comprising about 800 companies, is expected to be valued at US$ 11.6 billion in 2017.
  3. The high demand for different biotech products has also opened up scope for the foreign companies to set up base in India.
  4. India has emerged as a leading destination for clinical trials, contract research and manufacturing activities owing to the growth in the bio-services sector.
  5. Biotechnology can usher in a second Green Revolution with unprecedented opportunities to ensure food security along with the economic well-being of the farmer. Indian farmers have increasingly opted for Genetically Modified Bt cotton seeds to enhance productivity.
  6. Agricultural biotechnology is working on crop breeding for the selective propagation of genes that improve yields and resist disease.  The technology also helps produce pathogen-free plants and address soil imbalance issues.
  7. Biotechnology and more explicitly, fermentation technology can help boost India’s manufacturing sector in a significant way.
  8. Fermentation-based manufacturing supports production of antibiotics, vaccines, bio pharmaceuticals, enzymes, alcohol, foods and biofuels. India has global scale in many of these but the true potential remains unrealised. A focused policy thrust can build global prowess and generate millions of jobs.
  9. At a time when companies in the developed world are challenged with spiralling R&D costs and loss of patent protection on a number of blockbuster drugs, India can effectively position itself as the “laboratory” for the world for developing affordable drugs, vaccines and diagnostic.
  10. Biomanufacturing, together with our large chemical synthesis-based pharma and petrochemical industries can build an indomitable position for India.  It can make us a resource base for biofuels, petrochemicals and fertilisers. It can create a plethora of jobs it creates for engineers, scientists, technicians and entrepreneurs.

India should pursue a strategy of scale based on technology-driven manufacturing. This will create a core manufacturing sector based on high-end expertise, fed by ancillary manufacturers that rely on simple technical skills. With the country offering numerous comparative advantages in terms of R&D facilities, knowledge, skills, and cost effectiveness, the biotechnology industry in India has immense potential to emerge as a global key player.

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