Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that the government aims to develop India as a world-class $100 billion bio-manufacturing hub by 2024. This, he said, will happen with right policy initiatives and support to innovative research, human resource development and enterprise
PM Modi was speaking at the inauguration of 107th Indian science Congress at University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK in Bengaluru.
Government officials seemed quite upbeat. From $100 billion by 2024, they revised the bio-economy target to $150 billion by the same year. In this, the contribution of bio-manufacturing is projected at around $100 billion. The current size of the bio-manufacturing could not be available as numbers are still being verified, said officials. However, industry estimates it in the range of $15-20 billion.
Many in the industry welcomed PM Modi's focus on bio-manufacturing. However, they do see challenges. They believe that a lot more may need to be put in place including conducive policies and efforts aimed at reducing the costs of manufacturing.
Some industry experts, not wanting to be quoted, said that 2024 appears to be an aggressive target; India could hope to get to that number in bio-manufacturing by 2030. "It takes about four years to get regulatory approvals alone," one of the experts said.
Others in the industry feel one way to encourage bio-manufacturing could be by backing bio-manufacturing as a service and encouraging companies to do this. The government should consider subsidising the costs also.
Start-ups need a closer attention. They do have products but they are unable to take it to the next level because of clinical trials. First, they need to manufacture clinical trials material in a GMP (good manufacturing practices) facility; not many facilities are available where they can get it done.
Healthcare, other than agriculture and water governance, was an important component of the PM Modi's speech. For instance, he pointed to the need to have make-in-India medical devices to "bring the fruits of advances in diagnostics to our people". He said: "To promote well-being, we should not only practise some of the tested traditional wisdom but also continuously enlarging its scope by introducing the modern tools and concepts of contemporary bio-medical research."
"Our vision should be to protect people from the threats of dangerous communicable diseases (like Ebola and others)... We must work overtime to fulfil the promise to eradicate TB (tuberculosis) by 2025," he added.