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New Delhi : The Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu ton March 3, 2021, called upon scientists and researchers to be always ready to combat new and emerging diseases as COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the need to be ever vigilant to tackle an outbreak of sudden and unforeseen epidemics and pandemics.

Virtually addressing the Valedictory and Award Session of Global Bio India-2021, Naidu said that Biotechnology has emerged as the backbone of various industrial sectors in recent times. Built on four core beliefs of entrepreneurship, innovation, development of local talent, and demonstrating high value-based care, India is in a unique position to transition from the biotech industry to a bio-economy, he added, according to a PIB release.

Lauding the Department of Biotechnology for working relentlessly to mitigate the COVID-19-induced health crisis through the development of diagnostics, vaccine, and novel protection equipment, apart from scaling up diagnostic capacity and rapid regulatory response, Naidu expressed happiness that India is at the forefront of fighting the pandemic.

Referring to India’s supply of COVID-19 vaccine to several countries in tune with the spirit of Vausudhaiva Kutumbakam (whole world is one family) and our age-old philosophy of ‘share and care’, he pointed that India’s action drew praise from the World Health Organisation with its Director-General thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for supporting vaccine equity.

Recognising the immense potential of the biotech sector, the Vice President said the Government has eased regulatory approvals for the ecopreneurs. “I am pleased to know that these initiatives have resulted in a multifold impact as seen in the number of innovators, technologies and products, incubation space, and IPs generated in the last year despite the pandemic,”Naidu added

Referring to the Biotech sector’s ambitious target of becoming a USD 150 billion industry by 2025 and contribute to knowledge and innovation-driven economy, Naidu urged the academia and the industry to join hands and engage pro-actively in imparting training and skills to the youth.

Citing the attractiveness of India’s value proposition and comparative advantage in bio-economy, Naidu said the ‘Make in India’ initiative or Atmanirbhar Bharat will help in achieving the paradigm shift from “biotech” to “bioeconomy”. “I am sure that the new policy actions would result in the growth of a sustainable bio-economy,”  he added. The Vice President also stressed the need to leverage the huge potential of Biotechnology sector to come up with new interventions to address the challenges facing the agriculture and allied sectors.

Union Minister of Science & Technology Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Dr. Renu Swarup, Director General of CII Chandrajit Banerjee, Chairperson of Biocon Dr. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, WHO Representative to India Dr. Roderico H Ofrin,Head, Strategy Partnership & Entrepreneurship Development, BIRAC, Dr  Manish Diwan, and others participated at the virtual event.