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Govt to support 75 startup innovations for healthcare challenges

Union Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh on Tuesday launched a programme to identify 75 startup innovations in telemedicine, digital health, health with big data, artificial intelligence, blockchain and other technologies.

Launching the ‘Amrit Grand Challenge Programme’, he said young startups and entrepreneurs must come out with innovative ideas and solutions for India’s healthcare challenges.

The 75 chosen start-ups will be an asset for India leading the country in the next 25 years, the minister said.

Addressing the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council’s (BIRAC) 10th Biotech Innovators Meet in New Delhi with a theme ‘Vigyan se Vikash’ (Development with Science), Singh pledged full support to startups from ideation to the deployment stage.

He directed BIRAC to proactively reach out to young startups, rather than them approaching it for help and support. He said an audit in this regard will be done by the end of the year.

The Union minister also made it clear that young promising innovations will get priority in terms of help, support and hand-holding than the established industrial hubs.

Though there is no dearth of talent in the human resource pool in India, the main challenge is to channelise it for evolving new paradigms, he said.

Interacting with some of the top biotech and agri startups and stakeholders, Singh said he firmly believes that the startup ecosystem has the potential to tilt the balance from an import-centric medical devices sector to Made-in-India.

Singh said India’s bio-economy is on its way to achieving the USD 150 billion target to contribute effectively to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2024-25.

He said the sunshine biotech sector will more than double from USD 70 billion at present to USD 150 billion by 2025. The innovation and startup support has resulted in more than 600 technologies and products at different stages of commercialisation, he said.

Singh said BIRAC has established 60 world-class bio-incubators in the country. It engages with over 5,000 startups and young entrepreneurs who have received financial and mentoring support from BIRAC as it has its footprints across India and at all major global biotech destinations, Singh added. PTI

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