India plans to establish NE as the Bio-Economic Hub

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New Delhi: Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Earth Sciences; and Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy, and Space, stated that the Northeast will be developed as India’s Bio-Economic Hub.

According to the Minister, the Eastern Himalayan Region is one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots and one of the world’s mega-biodiversity-rich zones. He stated that biotechnological interventions are needed to put these priceless genetic resources to work for the region’s and nation’s economic prosperity. He was speaking during a visit to the Institute of Bioresources and Sustainable Development.

According to Dr. Jitendra Singh, India will be acknowledged as a Global Bio-manufacturing Hub by 2025 and will rank among the top five nations in the world, thanks to the Modi government’s constant and renewed attention. According to him, India’s bio-economy is on track to reach a target of 150 billion dollars by 2025, up from 70 billion dollars now, and will effectively contribute to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambition of a 5 trillion-dollar GDP by 2024-25.

The Department of Biotechnology has played a pivotal role in building capacity in the North-Eastern region for conducting biotechnology research to address issues specific to the region and implementing programmes for the social upliftment of local communities, as the North-Eastern region is a genetic treasure house of plant, animal, and microbial resources, as per Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s directives according to Dr. Jitendra Singh.

Dr. Jitendra Singh believes that IBSD should not only become a regional center of excellence with cutting-edge facilities but also develop technological packages to produce jobs for the people’s benefit. He went on to say that the Institute should be people-centered and use inventive and new methods to earn people’s trust via its work. The Minister went on to say that this institute should become a vibrant, active, and committed center for research, application, and commercialization of technology, products, and processes, as well as promoting enterprises based on the region’s abundant bio-resources, in order to bring happiness to the entire North-Eastern region.

Dr. Jitendra Singh stated that the DBT-funded Phyto-pharmaceutical Lab Facility at IBSD is boosting the North Eastern Region’s Phyto-pharmaceutical Mission.

This mission, which aims to encourage the documenting, scientific validation, and assessment of traditional healthcare practices, is a significant step that takes on added importance in the context of the North-enormous East’s plant resources and various traditional healthcare practices. According to him, transformational approaches to developing products, processes, and technologies with local bio-resources will aid in the development of traditional knowledge-based therapeutic agents, resulting in regional socio-economic development and benefits for traditional health care practitioners.

Dr. Jitendra Singh gave several examples of successful interventions, including a project at the Bio-Resources Development Centre in Shillong and the Institute of Horticulture Technology in Mandira, Assam, on pilot-scale demonstrations of strawberry cultivation with sustainable agro-technological interventions using high-quality planting material in farmers’ fields in Meghalaya. About 50 tissue-culture-produced plantlets of outstanding strawberry types are intended to be delivered to Manipur farmers, he added.

Similarly, the DBT has devised a plan to boost the output and productivity of the Khasi Mandarin, a valuable fruit crop, by generating high-quality planting material using the shoot-tip grafting technique. During the three-year course of the initiative, the programme aims to produce four lakhs disease-free, high-quality Khasi Mandarin and Sweet Orange plants, as well as improve the capacity of at least 1,000 farmers in the region. Fifty grafted Khasi Mandarin plants have been grown at the AAU-Citrus Research Station in Tinsukia, Assam, and will be distributed to farmers in Manipur, according to the Minister.

The DBT has created a Biotech-KISAN Hub at the Horticultural Research Station of the Assam Agricultural University (AAU), Kahikuchi, for the large-scale production of high-quality Malbhog banana planting material, which is in great demand in Assam. Farmers in Manipur are expected to get about 50 macro-propagated Malbhog bananas