India must proactively find, support innovations, startups – Science minister. Innovations and start-ups must be proactively sought out and supported by the technology development board (TDB) which helps in commercialisation of indigenous technology, said Union minister of state for science Dr Jitendra Singh on the occasion of 25th anniversary of the body.
Our success will be measured not by how many Akshatas were able to find us but by how many Akshatas we find,’ the minister said on Wednesday, referring to Akshata Kari, co-founder of Pixuate that was supported by technology development board (TDB) for developing a thermal camera to identify persons with abnormal body temperature in a crowd.
With Professor Ashutosh Sharma superannuating as the secretary of department of science and ex-officio chairperson of technology development board (TDB), Dr Renu Swarup took additional charge of the department. She is the first woman to head the department.
India DST welcomes Dr.Renu Swarup the first woman Secretary of DST as she takes additional charge of the Department. Looking forward to her support and guidance, as DST & all its institutes strive to make greater contributions towards Nation’s progress,’ said a tweet from the department.
At the event, chairperson of Bharat Biotech Dr Krishna Ella, chairperson of Biocon Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, and Varaprasad Reddy from Shantha Biotechnics recounted how the support of the technology development board (TDB) was essential in fuelling the nascent biotech sector. Biotech industry in India is projected to become a $150 billion industry by 2025. Shantha Biotechnics was the first company to receive a loan from the TBD. ‘The banks did not want to invest in new technology and the interest rates were high. The support we received from technology development board (TBD) helped us in developing a low-cost Hepatitis B vaccine that eventually brought down the cost across the globe,’ said Reddy.
Professor K VijayRaghavan, principal scientific advisor, in a video message said the TDB will now have to support innovations in the upcoming challenges – climate change adaptation and mitigation technologies, cyberphysical systems and super computers, and government schemes such as poshan mission and jal jeevan mission.
Dr VK Saraswat, NITI Aayog member (science), said that the Prime Minister’s emphasis on translational research to take benefits of science to the people had led to a transition in the ecosystem leading to setting up of over 5,000 start-ups, 45 of them led by women. ‘Currently, there are a few technologies that are changing the world, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality. There is no sector that will not be affected by these and TDB has a role to play in taking the technologies over the valley of death when the risk is high and the money needed is also high,’ he said.
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