Government incentive in offing for 75 start-ups in telemedicine, artificial intelligence, and digital health

Government incentive in offing for 75 start-ups in telemedicine, artificial intelligence, and digital health

The Indian government will shortly launch a special incentive programme to help 75 start-ups in the fields of telemedicine, digital health, and artificial intelligence (AI) to coincide with the country's August 15 ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav'.

The Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a public sector business under the Department of Biotechnology of the Government of India, will begin the scheme.

This was declared by Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Earth Sciences, and Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy, and Space. He stated that orders to this effect had been sent to the members of BIRAC, led by its Chairperson Dr. Renu Swarup, who is also the Secretary of the Ministry of Science and Technology's Department of Biotechnology (DBT).

Interacting with the BIRAC Board of Directors, the Minister stated that the grand challenge to identify the top 75 innovations is the most appropriate task for the 75th Anniversary of India's Independence because it will promote research and development in the health sector at a time when humanity is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic.

He urged top officials to make efforts to shorten response times while assisting startups in maintaining an advantage over the private sector. He also urged the BIRAC Board of Directors to provide startup applicants specific themes to focus on certain aspects of combating Covid-19.

BIRAC has been promoting and assisting new ventures in the biotechnology ecosystem through the Startup India and Make in India programmes. The BIRAC has granted over Rs.2128 crore in capital to over 1,500 startups, companies, and SMEs. From less than 50 biotechnology businesses in 2012 with less than Rs. 10 crore in investment, the BIRAC today supports over 5,000 biotechnology startups with over Rs. 2500 crore in funding. By 2024, the BIRAC hopes to have supported over 10,000 biotech businesses.

Dr Jitendra Singh previously announced BIRAC's e-office, and the BIRAC e-Office software became online today. From August 1, 2021, BIRAC e-Office Lite software has been installed in testing mode on NICSI servers. According to the Union Minister of State, the Digital India Mission is a bold initiative that would advance the country's wealth by promoting transparency and good governance.

BIRAC boasts an in-house BIRAC 3i platform through which all applications and proposals are filed electronically. This site, which started in February 2010, is a dynamic, robust, and scalable tool for managing science and innovative research funds, allowing multiple stakeholders such as businesses, institutes, and individuals to submit proposals online.

Ms. Anju Bhalla, Joint Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, and Managing Director, BIRAC, as well as top officers from BIRAC and DBT, were also in attendance at this event.