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Dr. Jitendra Singh Unveils 'ADVIKA' a Superior Drought-Tolerant, Climate-Smart Chickpea Variety

Dr. Jitendra Singh highlighted that India currently produces 74% of the global chickpea output, emphasizing its potential as a significant source of foreign exchange earnings.

Shivam Dwivedi
Dr. Jitendra Singh Unveils 'ADVIKA' a Superior Drought-Tolerant, Climate-Smart Chickpea Variety (Photo Source: PIB)
Dr. Jitendra Singh Unveils 'ADVIKA' a Superior Drought-Tolerant, Climate-Smart Chickpea Variety (Photo Source: PIB)

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy, and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh, shared that India's bioeconomy has experienced a staggering 12-fold increase over the last decade. The Minister made these remarks while inaugurating the 'National Plant Computational Biology & Bioinformatics Facility' at the National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR) during the Institute's Silver Jubilee celebrations.

According to Dr. Singh, India's bioeconomy, which was valued at USD10 billion ten years ago, has now soared to an impressive USD120 billion. Expressing optimism, he stated that the nation is poised to achieve a remarkable USD300 billion by the year 2030. The Minister attributed this remarkable growth to a conducive policy environment established under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

During the event, Dr. Jitendra Singh unveiled 'ADVIKA,' a superior drought-tolerant, climate-smart chickpea variety. This newly introduced variety, officially notified in the Gazette, aims to contribute to widespread production.

Dr. Singh urged for increased collaboration among scientific institutions to maximize the utilization of emerging technologies. He stressed the importance of establishing industry linkages from the inception stage to sustain research and development, support startups, and create livelihood opportunities.

Speaking of institutions like NIPGR, the Minister commended them as monuments of excellence playing a crucial role in ensuring India's health, nutrition, and overall well-being. He projected India to become one of the top five global biomanufacturing hubs by 2025, noting the sector's substantial growth. Dr. Jitendra Singh highlighted that the number of biotech startups in India has surged from 50 in 2014 to an impressive 6,000 in 2023, with three new startups being incorporated daily.

Biotechnology, according to Dr. Singh, not only provides a clean and green environment but also presents viable alternatives to petrochemical-based manufacturing. He emphasized the sector's potential to generate lucrative livelihood sources and produce bio-based products such as food additives, bioengineering ties, and animal feed products.

The Minister underscored the Department of Biotechnology's commitment to supporting research and development in advanced biofuels and 'Waste to Energy' technologies. In his closing remarks, Dr. Jitendra Singh applauded NIPGR's achievements over the past 25 years, expressing confidence that the institute would continue to play a pivotal role in addressing India's and the world's food security challenges in the coming years.

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