Updated on 21 November 2012
After building expertise in toxicology, bichemstry and drugs, CSIR institutes moved towards genomics and recombinant DNA technology. The bottomline is that the CSIR has remained relevant by constantly reinventing itself to suit India's interest from time to time.
I would say that over the period of 25 years, it has been phenomenal. We have had so many great experiences during this time and that also resulted into many products. From copying and copying better to inventing and patenting, to eventually developing the best global products, has been our journey.
Are India's research institutes innovating enough?
If it is about innovating, I would say yes. India is doing it in enough quantity. But I would like to ask the question of whether India is inventing enough? The answer to that would be a negative. Basically our inventiveness is low but our innovativeness is enough. Therefore, we have to make Indian science more inventive. We have to look at the situation today. Among the US patents granted, CSIR holds 90 percent share while the other academia, industry and R&D labs hold 10 percent.
This is serious because CSIR has at the same time only three percent of the overall manpower. Hence, technically others should be coming up with more patents. Yet on a positive note, while our share earlier was 95 percent, it got reduced to 90 percent and then 85 percent in future. With time, awareness is coming and others are catching up.
How do you perceive the growth of biotech industry in India? How has CSIR contributed in that?
The industry definitely has moved forward but I wish there would have been pure biotech companies in the true sense. We don't have a single billion dollar industry. Most of the biotech industry that we see today is into instrument service, contract research and clinical trials. We had best examples in form of Shantha Biotech and Bharat Biotech but then these too followed a similar kind of portfolios for vaccines.