The remarkable march of India into the world of biosciences and technological advances began in 1986, when a separate Department for Biotechnology, within the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India was created.
The initiation of deliberations to establish the department started much earlier. In 1982, after detailed deliberations with the scientific community, and on the basis of recommendations by the then Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet, a National Biotechnology Board (NBTB) was constituted by the Government to identify priority areas and evolve long term perspective for Biotechnology in India. It was also responsible for fostering programmes and strengthening indigenous capabilities in this newly emerging discipline.
The NBTB was chaired by the formidable scientist Professor M.G.K. Menon, the then Member (Science) of India’s Planning Commission. All the Secretaries to the various departments of the government dealing with science were appointed as Members of this Board. A separate Department of Biotechnology (DBT) was finally set up in February, 1986 and the NBTB selected Dr. S. Ramachandran as the first Secretary of the department.
Despite the challenges, the department started to roll on almost as soon as it was formed. The first autonomous institute, the National Institute of Immunology which was set up in 1981 was brought under the wings of DBT. Soon after, it was joined by the National Facility for Animal Tissue and Cell Culture of Pune formed in 1986 which was later christened the National Centre for Cell Science. The late 1990s and early 2000 saw many other institutes like The National Institute for Plant Genome Research (NIPGR), the National Brain Research Centre (NBRC) followed, the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting & Diagnostics, Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development and the Institute of Life Sciences take shape. Subsequently, several other prominent institutes like Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THISTI), Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (INstem), National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI) at Mohali, and National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG) at Kalyani in West Bengal were established.
There is also renewed effort on social aspects such as health care, food and agriculture, energy and environmental security. International collaborations have become more strategic, with better reach and breadth and industry partnerships are growing. The new focus on Young India is clear from the various Grants and Funds as well as Awards, and the DBT’s commitment to revisit the funding mechanism to ensure a quicker assessment of project values and disbursements of funds for research.
"Attaining new heights in biotechnology research, shaping biotechnology into a premier precision tool of the future for creation of wealth and ensuring social justice – specially for the welfare of the poor."
Biotechnology is a frontline area of science with immense potential for the benefit of the human kind. The Department shall devote wholly to achieve excellence in the promotion of biotechnology in the country within the ambit of the Allocation of Business Rules, 1961 as enumerated through the Government of India notifications No. CD-172/86 dated 27.2.86 and No. CD-87/87 dated 31.1.87. The Department shall provide services in the areas of research, infrastructure, generation of human resource, popularization of biotechnology, promotion of industries, creation of centers of excellence, implementation of biosafety guidelines for genetically modified organisms and recombinant DNA products and biotechnology-based programs for societal benefits. Bioinformatics is a major mission to establish an information network for the scientific community, nationally and internationally. Mission of DBT is:
The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, announced the First National Biotechnology Development Strategy in September 2007. The implementation of Biotech Strategy 2007 has provided an insight into the enormous opportunities. Boundaries between disciplines once considered distant are now beginning to blur and as a consequence of their convergence given birth to newer opportunities and challenges. Thus, it was felt opportune to take a critical look at the Indian biotech sector as it will likely unfold over the next 5-6 years.
In year 2015, DBT announced “The National Biotechnology Development Strategy-2015-2020” (hereinafter referred to as ‘Strategy-II’), which was framed after a wider consultation with stakeholders. Strategy-II was seamlessly build on the earlier Strategy to accelerate the pace of growth of biotechnology sector at par with global requirements.
Major Initiatives of the National Biotechnology Development Strategy 2015-2020
Research & Development
Agriculture, Animal & Allied Sciences
Knowledge Generation & Discovery Research, New Tools and Technologies
Energy, Environment and Bio-Resource Based Applications
Popularization & Promotion of Biotechnology
Building Critical Mass of Science Leaders
Promoting Biotechnology in North East Region
Translational & Industrial Development Programmes
Research Facilities, Resources & Technology Platforms
Last Modified : 9/13/2023
The topic covers about various policies related to...
This topic covers information about Career Options...
This topic provides links to various important re...
Provides links to all institutes and State Agricul...