One of the main aims and objectives of the Department since its inception is the promotion of Biotechnology through generation of awareness among the common people of the State. It has also taken a holistic approach regarding application of rural biotechnology for employment generation, alternative income generation, poverty alleviation food security, nutrition, ecological balance etc fostering sustainable development. It has also promoted schemes on plant tissue culture, cultivation of medicinal plants, mushroom cultivation, lac (shellac) cultivation and extraction, vermin-composting, bio-pesticides etc. for the poorest of the poor. In order to achieve this; the Department has funded various demonstration and training programmes in this matter to benefit especially SC, ST, OBC and Women and rural milieu. Various NGOs have successfully translated our programmes into rural societal development. A lot of seminars/workshops are also arranged in the districts to popularise the application of agri-biotechnology in rural life through audio-visual programmes.
Scientific Research in Biotechnology:
With the mission of fostering a conducive scientific research atmosphere, this Department extends financial help to scientific research proposals received from academicians in Universities/Colleges, research Institutes on different sectors of Biotechnology e.g. agri-biotech, healthcare biotech, marine, environmental and community biotech etc. Till date, 69 (Ongoing - 47 and Completed - 22) scientific research projects on different subjects have been funded by this Department.
BOOST (Biotechnology based Opportunities Offered to Science & Technology Departments) Scheme:
Appreciating the financial constraints of most of the Colleges and Universities in the State for providing necessary infrastructural and equipment based support to the students and the need for improvement of such research-based facility as well as technical training in colleges and universities, for producing quality workforce in Biotechnology, the Department has initiated support mechanisms for improvement of infrastructure in Universities, Post Graduate, Under Graduate Colleges in West Bengal as an integral part of promotion of biotechnology entitled ‘Biotechnology based Opportunities Offered to Science & Technology Departments’ or BOOST Programme.
The scheme facilitates procurement of high end equipment for modern Biotechnology based research to be conducted in Colleges and Universities.
A Committee comprising eminent scientists and academicians from different Institutes look after the activities and the prosperity of the programme.
RISE (Research Internships in Biotechnological based - Sciences and Engineering) scheme:
With the Indian Biotechnology segment growing at 15% per year, career opportunities in fields such as bio-pharmacy, bio-agriculture, bio-industrial and bio-informatics are expanding manifold. To encourage talented students to consider Biotechnology based Research/innovation as a career option, this programme provides practical training for 2 (two) months to selected students (interns), who are pursuing Post Graduate degree (MSc/MTech/MVSc/MBBS etc.) in any field of Biotechnology based Bio-Sciences from Universities/ Colleges accredited to a university in West Bengal.
The students receive training in using instruments like Real Time Thermocycler, Fast Protein Liquid Chromatography (FPLC), High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Flow Cytometry, Confocal Microscopy, Gas Chromatography, Mass Spectrophotometry, DNA Sequencer in any one of the following institutions:
Each year, 50 students from biological sciences have enhanced their capacity and knowledge through internships in their respective subjects.
The Kolkata Biotech Park:
It is housed in a G+9 building at EN-24, Sector-V, Salt Lake, Kolkata and is a key bio-incubation project having the technical support from Dr. B. C. Guha Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (GCGEB) under University of Calcutta. The Biotech Park has a high end laboratory with sophisticated instruments like ultramodern Genome Sequencer, DNA Sequencer, Fast Protein Liquid Chromatograph (FPLC), PCR, Gel Documentation System etc. This provides Common instrumentation facility for start-up biotech companies.
Regional Biotech Hub:
Setting up of Regional Biotech Hub (with Incubation Centers, clinical and field trials and dissemination centre) at Burdwan and Kalimpong has been planned. Land at Burdwan and Kalimpong have been earmarked and will be taken possession shortly and BCIL (Biotech Consortium India Limited), a Government of India undertaking has been engaged to prepare the Detailed Project Report for these two Hubs along with the Kolkata Biotech hub.
The Department awards financial support to “Biotech-based programmes for societal development” especially for SHG women, SC, ST, OBC and other rural people with poor income. Through these schemes, demonstration and training programmes are mainly arranged for the target populace in order to enable them to have skill development, additional income generation and so also employment through field tested technologies. Micro-Entrepreneurship Development is also encouraged. The introduction of new and novel technologies with justifications is also promoted.
The schemes under this category are generally implemented through registered NGOs under W.B. Societies Registration Act, 1961 or Indian Trusts Act, 1882. However, registered Farmer’s Cooperatives, Fishermen’s Cooperatives, Gram Panchayats and such other bodies are also welcome to submit their schemes. Emphasis is given on the social cost-benefit ratio of the scheme, its biotechnology component and value addition capability.