The government will soon launch a special incentive scheme to support 75 start-ups in areas of telemedicine, digital health and artificial intelligence, Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh said on Wednesday.
The scheme will be launched by the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a public sector enterprise under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), he said.
Singh said instructions to this effect have been conveyed to the members of BIRAC, which has as its chairperson Renu Swarup, who is also the DBT secretary.
"The government will soon launch a special incentive scheme to support 75 start-ups in areas of telemedicine, digital health and artificial intelligence to coincide with the 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav' being celebrated from August 15 this year," the minister said.
Interacting with the board of directors of BIRAC, Singh said the challenge to identify the top 75 innovations is the most appropriate task in the 75th year of India's Independence.
This will promote research and development in the health sector at a time when the world is dealing with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
Singh exhorted senior officers to make efforts to reduce turnaround time while supporting start-ups to retain the edge over the private sector.
He also called upon the board of directors of BIRAC to give start-up applicants particular themes to focus on different aspects of tackling COVID-19.
BIRAC has been promoting and supporting new ventures under the Start-up India and Make in India programmes in areas of biotechnology ecosystem growth.
It has given funding support of over Rs 2,128 crore to more than 1,500 start-ups, enterprises and SMEs, according to a statement.
From supporting less than 50 biotechnology start-ups in 2012 with innovative funding of less than Rs 10 crore, BIRAC is now funding over 5,000 biotechnology start-ups with over 2,500 crore, it said.
By 2024, BIRAC targets to support more than 10,000 biotechnology start-ups, the statement said.
Singh also launched the e-office of BIRAC and the BIRAC e-Office software was made live.
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