J&K bets big on biotech sector, attracts several investments

The Jammu and Kashmir government has received 338 proposals associated with the biotech sector, which is emerging as a priority sector after the launch of new Industrial Development Scheme.

“With new biotech capabilities and innovation, Jammu and Kashmir, bestowed with more than 3,500 medicinal plant species, will be able to harness market advantages in the most effective way and help the farmers to generate more income. The establishment of organic-based and pharmaceutical companies will be successful in linking the abundant natural wealth of J&K neglected for decades with the industry,” a government official had said.

Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha said the inauguration of Industrial Biotech Park in Kathua will transform the economy and enable scientists to tackle challenges of climate change. “The enabling infrastructure will fuel a new wave of innovation and impact various sectors, from health and agriculture to cosmetics and materials,” he observed.

“Together with advances in Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Biotech Park will accelerate change,” he said.

At north India’s first Industrial Biotech Park, Sinha said that it will be a vital futuristic asset of Agri-Horticulture Entrepreneurs, Start-up Entrepreneurs, Researchers, Youth Entrepreneurs and Scientists of the region.

According to various reports, he impressed upon the scientists of the Industrial Biotech Park, Kathua and the researchers of SKUAST to collaborate on tissue culture and molecular diagnostics of new variety of plants.

“Our goal is to integrate agriculture and allied sectors completely with biotech so that the whole time cycle of crop production can be streamlined and made beneficial for the farmers,” he said.

The new Industrial Biotech Park at Kathua will provide Startups, Young Entrepreneurs and SMEs the tools that can make production cheaper, manageable and environmentally sustainable.

Biotech Park would act as hub for incubation of new ideas and will act as a robust platform to support the agri-entrepreneurs, startups, progressive farmers, scientists, scholars and students not only from Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh but also from nearby states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The biotechnology park at Kathua has a potential to produce 25 startups in a year.

Another under-construction Biotech Park at Handwara is coming up at a cost of Rs 84.66 crore, shared between the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and Science and Technology Department of the UT Government.

In order to attract the women scientists and to provide employment opportunities to the unemployed women scientists, DST and DBT in the Union Ministry of Science & Technology have special schemes. The number of Biotech Startups in the country has increased from 50 to over 5,000 in the last eight years, because of the support and enabling milieu provided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi since 2014. It is expected to cross the figure of 10,000 by 2025. India is ranked 12th in the world in biotech, 3rd in Asia-pacific and the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration is working to encourage startups and foster innovation thereby creating job opportunities in abundance besides raising the economic graph of the Union Territory.

The J&K government is focusing on sectors such as food processing, agriculture, renewable energy, handicrafts and handloom by vigorously promoting startups in these vital sectors.

Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, during his address to National Academia- Industrial Conclave at Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) said a strong academia-industry collaboration will bring a meaningful change in the private and public sector. Besides, this will provide an opportunity to promote innovation, work on a new model of IEC–Innovate, Evolve and Commercialise the relevant technology, building new knowledge to meet the needs of the future world, he added.

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