Institutional structure of Biotechnology


The year 1982 was a landmark in the history of biotechnology in India. In order to promote biotechnology, the Government of India, constituted an agency, named as the National Biotechnology Board (NBTB) under the Ministry of Science and Technology. It was developed as an apex co-ordinating body to identify priorities, coordinate, plan and oversee for required manpower, large scale use of biotechnology processes and products and integrated industrial development.

All the existing Science and Technology organisations and allied agencies have made financial contribution for the core funding of the National Biotechnology Board as well as participated in formulating the objectives and organisation of the structure of the board. In terms of identification of needs and priorities in biotechnology in India, in 1983, the board had a unique international interaction through the formation of Scientific Advisory Committee (located in North America). Accordingly, various programmes for establishment of essential infrastructural facilities and integrated manpower development and  realising the need for capacity building through strengthening of existing laboratories, introducing course curriculum in biotechnology, training of young scientists abroad etc. were initiated.


In 1986, NBTB was upgraded to full fledged separate Department under the Ministry of Science and Technology, that is the Department of Biotechnology (DBT). It was done by recognising the need for having a focal point in the administrative structure of the Government of India for the purpose of promotion, planning, and coordination of biotechnological programmes. Setting up of the separate Department of Biotechnology has given a new impetus to the development in the field of biotechnology and modern biology in India. The Mission and Vision of the Department is“Attaining new heights in biotechnology research,shaping biotechnology into a premier precision tool of the future for-creation of wealth and ensuring social justice-specially for the poor”.


Provision of large research grants to some existing universities and the establishment of a number of world class bioscience research institutes has helped in developing specialised centres of biotechnology. Apart from Department of Biotechnology, the Department of Science & Technology (DST), under the Ministry of Science and Technology has sponsored research at universities, working in the basic areas of life sciences. The vision of the department is “Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Livelihoods”. Its mission is “ To provide leadership, an enabling environment and resources for scientific research and knowledge based development for industrialization, competitiveness and employment creation leading to a sustainable economy”.


In 1974, the most pioneering effort of the Ministry of Education was in the creation of Biochemical Engineering Research Centre at IIT Delhi with substantial assistance from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (located in Zurich, Switzerland) to make available state-of-the-art infrastructure for training, education and research in biotechnology and biochemical engineering. This initiative catalysed biotechnology research and training at many institutions a few years later.


Through several development projects and research, grants, demonstrations and creation of infrastructural facilities, a clear visible impact of this field has been seen. Significant achievements have been made by the department in the application and growth of biotechnology in the broad areas of health care, agriculture, environment, animal sciences and industry. The use of technology which were successful in the laboratory have been scaled up and demonstrated in field. Technology transfer to industries, patenting of innovations and close interaction with industries have given a new direction to biotechnology research in India. Initiatives have been taken to promote transgenic research in plants with emphasis on nutritional quality, commercialisation of diagnostic kits, plant genome research, pest and disease resistance, brain research, genome analysis of silk worm, molecular biology of human genetic disorders, vaccines for communicable diseases, bioprospecting, biodiversity conservation, food biotechnology, biotechnology based development for women, SC/ST and rural population for different States and setting up of various micro propagation parks.

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