India's genomics hub dream boosted in budget

1 March 2016

India’s dream of being a genomics hub took a step towards reality with a cash boost in the Government’s annual budget which was announced yesterday.

The Department of Biotechnology’s (DBT) National Biotechnology Development Strategy (NBDS) was approved in early December 2015; it aims to make India a biotech hub of the world. The strategy revolves around three core activities: the creation of new infrastructure; the provision of training in analysis of big data by bringing together the country’s expertise in computing and biology, and help to commercialise activities with 150 technology-transfer organisations and 40 technology and business incubators.

In the budget, India’s main science funding agency, the Department of Science and Technology, received a 17% hike from last year and DBT received a 12% rise. Despite this being roughly half of what the department’s secretary, Krishnaswamy VijayRaghavan, estimated was needed when the strategy was released, he is confident the remainder can be made up from other sources such as the national innovation mission launched in January and tapping into some of the science department’s budget. VijayRaghavan said the figure would need to rise by 25-30% annually over the next five years to implement the strategy.

India’s move to create a genomics hub is seen by some as an opportunity for India to enter the emerging field of precision medicine.

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