An essay on Role of IT and BT


There exists an unexplored potential of integration between the Information Technology and the Biotechnology (BT). While the IT sector has largely developed due to the initiatives of the private sector; the growth of the Biotechnology sector has mainly been due to the efforts of the government.

However, the field of BT has not proved to be as rewarding as IT. There is a general lack of industries to absorb the scholars coming with a background in BT. As a result the field has declined in popularity and research.

However, there have been some growth in the recent years, due to which, the BT sector has grown at a rate of 20%. The present turnover from the sector is estimated to jump from the present level of $5 billion to a level of $25 Billion by 2025. The potential of BT sector is grossly unexplored.

The scope of BT sector touches the areas of- health and medicine, disease, food and agriculture, environment and industry. The potential of the sector can be properly exploited by combining the it with the tools of the IT sector.

Today, the IT sector has become a major growth engine of India’s GDP. Still, there is a large room that has to be exploited. Thus, great hopes are put on the IT-enabled services (IteS). Many of the contemporary service sectors are overwhelmingly dependent on the IT sector, like- Banking, Financial Services, Insurance, Marketing, Telecom, Media, Airlines and Transportation etc.

IT and BT in India

India has been able to create its image in the international market, for the software and IT-related services. Cloud computing and BPO strategies are becoming more viable options for the big businesses.

However, the limiting factors that check the growth of the Indian IT sector are- raw material, technology and skilled human resources. The available human resources, in India, are not skilled enough to compete with the Asian giants.

The BT sector faces a similar situation in the field of drugs, vaccines, diagnostics or monoclonal antibodies.

The establishment of the National Biotechnology Board in 1982, that led to the establishment of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) in 1986 is primarily responsible for the growth of the life sciences and biotechnology in the country.

Government has started some schemes to encourage the BT sector, like- Small Business Innovative Research Initiative (SBIRI) and the Biotechnology Industry Partnership Programme (BIPP).

All these programmes and schemes have been put under the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a section 25 company set up under the DBT. BIRAC supports around 300+ projects with loans and grants.

All this has facilitated a strong linkage between the academia and industry. Thus, there have been a beginning in the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) filing in these projects.

The vaccine sector has been growing magnificently, with potential for India to assume a world leadership. In the drug sector, Generics are the specialty of Indian manufacturers. Presently, the Indian BT sector is dominated by Biosimilars and conventional and recombinant vaccines.

The integration of IT and BT can open new spaces. Discovery of new drugs can become a breakthrough for the Indian drug market. Bioinformatics is an area that can help in the drug design. But, a challenge stands in the form of a general resistance among the IT professionals for biology.

Nevertheless, with the evolution of Systems Biology (mathematical biology) and Synthetic Biology, an entirely new horizon is being made available. However, an analysis of complex variables is needed for successful stem cell therapy or to understand cancer prognosis, or evaluate QTL (Quantitative Trait Loci) in crops, which governs yield, pest and drought resistance.

Courtesy: The Hindu

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One response to “An essay on Role of IT and BT”

  1. CLEATECH says :

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    Like

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