The alignment of a vast pool
of scientific talent, a world-class information-technology
industry, and a vibrant generic pharmaceutical sector position
India to emerge as a significant spot on the global biotech
map. There are about 170 biotech-based companies in India. Out
of these, 60 are in the modern biotech sector. India holds a
good advantage over many other countries of the world. With its
large population of over a billion people there is a huge market
for products and services. India’s population has a very
interesting environment for biotech companies to shift bases
Even thought in the global
biotech market, Indian share is presently just about 2% the
future seems very bright for the country. Biotechnology is a
fast emerging sector in India. The consumption of biotech
products in India was $1789 mn during 1999, which is expected to
grow up to the tune of $4270 mn by the end of the year 2010.
Biotech industry in India at present is at the threshold of
tremendous growth. For example, in the human and animal products
segment of the industry alone, the vaccine market alone is
valued at US$ 230 million and is growing at 20%. The investment
opportunities in India are very promising. Fresh investments of
145 mn hold the potential of creating a turnover of Rs.200mn. In
the next 5 to 7 years, which could then further be utilized to
innovate new products for the global biotech market?
The government on its part
has been increasing the outlays for biotechnology over the past
decade. The budgetary allocation have gone up by a tremendous
amount from just 404 million in 1987-88 to 1138 million in
1997-98 and to almost double the amount of a whopping 2356
million in 2002-03.
Biotechnology: Successful transgenic
research has been carried out on banana, cabbage, mustard,
mungbean and wheat for crop improvement, increased nutritional
value, disease resistance, and better shelf life, particularly
in cotton and rice. Transgenic systems of indica rice and wheat
have been developed; rice transformed with 3 genes and wheat
with one gene to confer stress resistance. India is now a
partner I the International Rice Genome Programme with the
responsibility to sequence a art of Chromosome 11.
Bt. Cotton trials at several
locations have been monitored. The date indicates that Bt.
Cotton has an average yield advantage of around 4.0 times over
non-Bt. Cotton. No effects of Bt. Protein have been noticed on
non-target and beneficial insects.
Culture: Protocol standardization has
been completed for a number of spices of forest trees
horticulture and plantation crops. Different crosses have been
developed in a variety of orchids. Fields demonstration trials
are being conducted for tissue culture raised coffee, pepper and
tea. Complete regeneration systems are now available for 20
different species. Transformation systems have been developed
for Populus Species. Polymerase chain Reaction (PCR) based
molecular diagnostic h\kit has been perfected for the detection
of Banana Bunchy Top virus.