Saturday, 21 January 2012

BIOTECHNOLOGY AND INDIAN ECONOMY

                                            ABSTRACT

           BIOTECHNOLOGY AND INDIAN ECONOMY
                                                                                              
                                                                                   -* Dr.S.Vijakumar

Economics of bio-technology is a recent emerging inter-disciplinary subject. It deals with the organizational mechanisms to accelerate developments in biotechnology, the patents and Intellectual property Rights (IPRs) necessary to obtain the requisite R&D and compensate the entrepreneurs, and the emerging markets for products of biotechnology and their pricing. It also deals with the implications of modern biotechnology for biodiversity and bio-safety and the enabling and regulatory role of the government in its development.
Biotechnology is a subject, which was pioneered by US scientist Oswald Theodore Avery in 1943, has finally turned the global spotlight on itself. Biotechnology is the product of interaction between science of biology and technology. According to British Biotechnologist - It is the application of biological organism, system or process to manufacturing and service industries. Similarly, Japanese Biotechnologist defined it as “A technology using biological phenomena for copying and manufacturing various kinds of useful substances”. According to US National Science Foundation – “It is the controlled use of biological agents such as microorganisms or cellular components for beneficial use”. Thus biotechnology is an integrated application of knowledge and technique to draw benefits from properties and capacities of microorganisms, animals and plants.
Profile of BT in India:
India is the first country in the world to create a separate Department of Biotechnology (DBT) to propagate research in transgenic plants and its cultivation in India. Under the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF), there are different departments having in charge of laboratory and field experiment. Review Committee on Genetic Manipulation (RCGM) and genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) approve the open field test with the concerned State Government’s Biotechnology Coordination Committee (SBCC).
Problems and Prospects of BT in Indian Economy:
The problems of BT in context of India are as follows:
(i) The main bottlenecks is poor understanding of the project. * January - 2006
(ii) Long gestation period of projects, high cost of investment, lack of skilled and trained personnel and lack of awareness among the end users are the shortcomings of biotech industry.
(iii) Scientists working on those industries have no commercial expertise and further government support is also minimal.
(iv)Creation of common awareness among the public about the benefit of genetically modified products is necessary.
(v) Funding is a problem for bio-tech industries of India.
(vi)Lack of adequate research and placement of bio-tech scientists is another   problem in India
To promote the industry into desired level some suggestions are made in this paper:
(i)Lab to land is necessary to reap the benefit of biotechnology.
(ii) Liberal tax policy is necessary to mobilize the funds through endowments and
donations - particularly from NRI.
(iii) Government could look at subsidizing various inputs like power, chemicals and materials being used. Reduction of import duty on high cost machine and equipment is necessary to create incentive on the part of private investor to invest in BT sector.
(iv) Pharma industry should be motivated to make investment into biotech sector as they have both man power and financial muscle.
(v) Development of appropriate generic system is necessary to protect plant
breeding based on novelty, distinctiveness, uniformity and stability.
(vi) There is need for a market pool for biotech
products in India.
(vii) All out efforts would be needed for Indian biotech products to confirm various quality standards set by recognised bodies like the European Union and the US Food and Drug Administration Department.
(viii) Crop propagation through BT requires proper marketing. Establishment of agriexport zones, cold chains and other essential infrastructure besides
improvement of transport efficiency, is of critical importance.
(x) The technology of developing transgenic and marketing them will be commercialized only when government is satisfied on the safety aspect.

Conclusion:
Biotech scientists are lauding with beauty and harmony of biotechnology. But critics have some reservations against it. Because, science can make or mar the whole mankind within a second. In this context, BT should be handled carefully to
harness the beneficial use of it. Biotech scientists can enter to the unchartered realms of reality only when they can handle it properly. Therefore, mankind is in threshold of anxiety waiting to face the new challenges that may emerge from the BT. It has potential, but do not rush into it blindly and suddenly. Since it is a capital intensive technology, government should encourage private corporate sector to step into it.
*Reader in Economics, Kakatiya Govt. College, Hanamkonda, Warangal Dt. (AP)




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