Dr Jitendra Singh – Union Minister:
Union Minister Dr.Jitendra Singh said here today that COVID has shifted focus to biotech and genetic interventions and this offers an appropriate opportunity for us to work on strategic research outcomes which are specifically India-centric and can provide answers to a number of questions posed by the contemporary health scenario.
Addressing the Biotechnology Scientists during his first review meeting of the Department after taking charge of the new Ministry, Dr Jitendra Singh said, India has huge resource material for both research as well as medical, to offer the world exclusive preventive and therapeutic options, particularly considering the fact that Indian phenotype and India genotype are different from the rest of the world. As a result, both the epidemiology as well as the clinical course of diseases, including the currently prevalent infections due to Corona virus or the mutant viruses, could be different and therefore, India’s researchers and scientists also owe the responsibility to provide Indian remedies for the Indian patient.
The Minister emphasised that Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes a personal interest in scientific and technology related programme and this offers a great support and patronage for the entire fraternity.
He called upon the Biotechnologists to identify at least two exclusive projects which could be researched and completed with definite conclusions and results around the 75th Independence anniversary of India in 2022.
If we succeed in doing so, he said, we will not only be able to showcase the superlative talents of Indian scientists but would also succeed in coming out with research findings which can be exclusively hailed and published across the world as an Indian discovery for mankind during its most testing times.
Referring to the huge potential in the field of Biotechnology, Dr Jitendra Singh said, somehow this has not been optimally utilised.
However, he said, now is the time to give a special push and put it on the fast track. The Minister asked the Biotechnology Department to explore the feasibility of conducting joint projects with premier Medical Institutions like AIIMS and at the same time also engage the industry, private players and young Start-Ups in these projects.
Dr Jitendra Singh particularly emphasized the need to reinforce the infrastructural strength by cutting down the number of autonomous bodies functioning in the Department or try to merge two or more in order to make them more focused and oriented.
He said, time has come for the Biotechnology Department to emerge as a service – provider for the common citizens and contribute in ‘“Ease of Living” and “Ease of Health” . The Minister also underscored the need to curtail all kinds of wasteful expenditure.
Earlier, welcoming the Minister, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology Dr Renu Swarup said that the Department is striving towards developing biotech products, processes and technologies to improve agricultural practices, food and nutritional security and affordable health care.
Senior Scientists, Statistical Adviser and officers of the administrative wings of the Department attended the meeting.