National Biotechnology Development Strategy launched

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New Delhi, Nov 13 (UNI) The Government today unveiled the National Biotechnology Development Strategy and fixed a revenue target of seven billion dollars annually by 2010 for the country's biotech industry against the existing 2.3 billion dollars.

Launching the Strategy, an outcome of a two-year long nationwide consultations, Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said it would lay a strong foundation for discovery and innovation, contributing to long-term benefits in agriculture, animal productivity, human health, environmental security and sustainable industrial growth.

He said it was expected that Rs 6,500 crore would be available to the Department of Biotechnology during the 11th Plan for implementing the Strategy. The fund allocated to the Department during the 10th Plan was Rs 1,450 crore.

Mr Sibal said his Ministry had prepared two Bills, and would introduce them in next year's Budget Session of Parliament after getting Cabinet approval.

One Bill is called Public Funded R&D (Protection, Utilisation and Regulation of Intellectual Property Bill), 2007 and the other is DNA Profiling Bill to augment and transform forensic investigation and criminal justice delivery system.

Mr sibal said he wanted the Department to be an independent entity rather than part of the Science and Technology Ministry because of the role biotechnology would play in agriculture, environment and health in the coming years.

Under the Strategy, he said, a National Biotechnology Regulatory Authority would be set up an independent, autonomous and professionally-led body to provide a single window mechanism for biosafety clearance of genetically modified products and processes.

The Authority would be headed by a scientists with all stakeholders as representatives. It would be funded by the Department of Biotechnology.

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