Hyderabad, Feb 7 : Noting that biotechnology is the key in improving agriculture productivity and ensuring a higher growth rate, Vice President Hamid Ansari today called for the advancement of such technologies and directing them towards resource-poor farmers and under-developed regions.
Addressing the inaugural session of "Bio Asia 2008" here today, Ansari listed various reasons for biotechnology being important for the country, the foremost being the fact that "it lies at the intersection of two areas that are critical to our economy - agriculture and the knowledge industry."
"India being the second largest food producer offers a huge market for biotechnology products," he added.
He pointed out that India is one of the very few developing countries to have recognised the importance of biotechnology as an important instrument for advancing agricultural and industrial growth.
"A separate Department of Biotechnology was set up as early as 1986 to give impetus to the development of this sector," he recalled.
He said biotechnology covers -- health and food -- vital for human beings.
"With a population of over one billion and significant disparities in the level of human development across regions and groups, the Indian interest in biotechnology is understandable. Producing cheaper vaccines, innovative drugs, new therapies such as those using stem cells, bio-engineering, human genetics and genome analysis have been areas of focus," he said.
Ansari further said developing biotechnology is the best means to leverage the immense biodiversity of India.
Comparing biotechnology with Information Technology, Ansari said: "Biotechnology represents the new wave of technology that could be more transformative in its impact than Information Technology. In some ways, its impact is more immediate and humane as it seeks to find solutions to the problems of human suffering and human want."
Ansari said biotechnology is more inclusive in its impact than IT, as its beneficiaries include farmers and poor persons needing public health interventions.
Biotechnology is important, Ansari said, because it brings together entrepreneurship, innovation, business and industry, state support, private and venture capital funding - an excellent example of public-private partnership.