In a bid to create a globally competitive bio-pharmaceutical industry that addresses the country’s major concerns around barriers to affordable healthcare, DBT launched the Innovate in India (I3) program, with a funding to the tune of USD 250 million. It is a first of its kind mission that brings together industry and academia to promote entrepreneurship and indigenous manufacturing in the bio-pharmaceutical sector. This flagship program of the Government of India, in collaboration with the World Bank, will be implemented by the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a Public-Sector Enterprise set up by DBT.
A new, farmer-centric programme called ‘Biotech-KISAN’ was announced that would create a major impact on rural livelihood. The objective of the programme is to demonstrate, scale-up and address issues of local farmers related to water, soil, seed and marketing, with validated technologies. This programme is also expected to create a strong interaction platform between scientists and farmers.
The country’s first Second-Generation (2G) Ethanol plant was formally inaugurated and subsequently transferred to Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (HPCL) to build commercial scale biomass ethanol plants based on the home grown technology developed under a project of the Ministry. While the time taken to convert biomass to biofuel is about 4 to 7 days with other prevalent technologies, the one developed by the team at DBT-ICT does the same in about 18-20 hours, and produces about 300 litres of ethanol per ton of biomass. The produce can be blended with petrol to be used in vehicles as fuel.

DBT is participating in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan through a range of initiatives for:

  • Bioremediation of filthy water – Development of technologies to remove organic waste from municipal waste water and for treatment of waste water from various industries such as mining and distilleries, and production of biogas and bio-fertilizer from domestic and municipal solid waste, and landfill leachate.
  • River cleanup technologies – Efforts to clean up Indian rivers by supporting a major effort along with the Netherlands to implement novel technologies for cleaning up certain canals and then, finally initiate efforts to keep the Yamuna clean
  • Bio-toilet technologies – In collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), DBT/BIRAC supported various novel bio-toilet technologies through ‘Reinvent the Toilet Challenge for India (RTTC)’ programme. Six new bio-toilet technologies have so far been supported and different aspects of waste collection and management process addressed. Several bio-toilets will be setup in schools of North Eastern states
  • BIRAC has been able to create a pan-India presence supporting over 700 biotech companies, research institutes, and small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs), which includes 500 start-ups and entrepreneurs. 147 Intellectual Property Rights (IPs) have been generated with the support of BIRAC. In addition, 30 bio-incubators are supported across India and around 70 products are being commercialized.
  • BIRAC’s Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) programme has become one of the largest early stage programs and has supported more than 230 start-ups and entrepreneurs. Many of these BIG grantees have been able to generate and follow on funding from both public and private agencies.
As on October 2018