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DBT promoting biotech research & entrepreneurship among youth

“Arise awake and stop not till the goal is reached”

This was the call of Swami Vivekananda, whose birthday in January 12 we celebrate as National Youth Day, for a determined young population who can take the country forward.1

Keeping this in mind, the Department of Biotechnology is promoting research in biotechnology and also entrepreneurial skill development among youth through Biotech Based Programme for the Societal Development by focusing on programmes for ensuring sustainable development through self employment among youth by implementing various biotech based activities. The aim is to provide basic needs of the communities while safeguarding the needs of future generations of youth.4

The programme is promoting use of biotechnological processes and tools for the benefit of youth and also the disadvantaged section of the society involving rural youth, SC/ST and weaker section. With the dissemination of technology platform of proven and field-tested technology modules and through demonstration, training and extension activities, youth have been trained in various interventions like agriculture and allied sector, health, nutrition & sanitation, value chain and post harvest, agripreneurship development, biodiversity conservation, marine resource conservation etc.2

Large number of rural youth, SC/ST target populations have been benefited through implementation of these programmes through adoption of technological know-how especially in low cost poly house construction for raising nursery-planting material, cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants, production of bio-fertilizers, bio-control agents, and utilization of farm waste for manure and composting including vermicomposting and also with the implementation of rural bio-resource complexes. Benefits also provided to coastal fisherman community especially the youth through various relief measures of flash flood and tsunami affected region with promotion of various income generation activities like organic cultivation, analysis of soil health, seaweed cultivation, animal husbandry etc. The programme has motivated the youth to move to next level of higher production alluring them towards entrepreneurship.7

Under the DBT promoted Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), young Scientists have been encouraged with funding called Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG). The ultimate aim is to promote young scientist and researchers as an entrepreneur from research institution, academia and set up start ups. The scheme is promoting the youth to stimulate towards commercialization of research discoveries by providing very early stage grants to help bridge the gap between discovery and inventions and fulfil the target of the brain gain.

A biotechnology career advancement and re-orientation programme (Bio-CARe) for Women Scientists is being implemented by DBT to enhance the participation of Women Scientists in biotechnology research mainly to support their career development in all areas of Life Science. With the implementation of the scheme, the department has so far supported more than 250 young women scientists.

Inputs from Dr. Arun Ninawe