NEW DELHI, August 3 : Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology, Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences, MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today informed the Rajya Sabha that Government has allocated over Rs 1,600 crore for COVID related research through different Science Ministries and Departments.
In an elaborate reply to a question, the Minister stated that the Department of Biotechnology and its Public Sector Undertaking, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), have allocated an amount of appx. Rs 1,300 Crore for COVID-19 Research and Product Development. Similarly, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) earmarked an amount of approximately Rs 200 crore for COVID-19 related research for implementation through its different programmes, autonomous institutions and statutory bodies like Science and Engineering Research Board and Technology Development Board. At the same time,Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has allocated Rs.10444.39 lakhs from its Government budgetary support and internal resources for implementing projects related to COVID-19 related research.
Under the COVID-19 Research Consortium as a part of the comprehensive efforts to facilitate development of indigenous research solutions to tackle COVID-19, 107 projects were supported in thematic areas of COVID-19 vaccines (17), diagnostics (45), therapeutics (22) and biomedical interventions (23).
The reply further stated that to advance biomedical research, DBT has supported five COVID-19 biorepositories. Further, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortium (INSACOG), a Consortium of 28 regional sequencing labs, was launched, to ascertain the status of new variants of SARS-CoV-2. “Mission COVID Suraksha – The Indian COVID-19 vaccine development Mission” is being implemented at a total cost of Rs. 900 crore. The Mission is supporting the development of COVID-19 vaccine candidates (05), facilities for animal challenge studies (03), facilities for immunogenicity assays (03), clinical trial sites (19). Additionally, facility enhancement of Bharat Biotech and 3 Public Sector Undertakings to support augmented production of Covaxin, is also being supported under the Mission.
Department of Science and Technology (DST) earmarked an amount of approximately Rs 200 Cr. for COVID-19 related research for implementation through its different programmes, Autonomous Institutions and statutory bodies like Science and Engineering Research Board and Technology Development Board.Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has allocated Rs.10444.39 lakhs from its Government budgetary support and internal resources for implementing projects related to COVID-19 related research. Department of Biotechnology (DBT), supports COVID-19 related research activities under the umbrella schemes of “Biotechnology Research and Development” and “Industrial and Entrepreneurship Development”.
In reply to another question in the same House, Dr Jitendra Singh stated that as a part of “Mission Innovation”, the Department of Biotechnology has supported 64 projects in last 5 years and nearly 39,000 rural, SC/ST and women population including youth have been benefited through the implementation of the projects in agriculture and allied sectors.
Department of Biotechnology also launched a Special Program on Bioresource Technology Clusters. 9 Clusters have been established so far. It is also implementing a scientists-farmers partnership scheme named as Biotech-Krishi Innovation Science Application Network (Biotech-KISAN), Under this programme, so far 36 Biotech-KISAN Hubs have been established covering all 15 agro-climatic zones in the country. The activities of the programme have been implemented in 112 Aspirational Districts and have benefitted over 2,00,000 farmers directly or indirectly.