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Building up Genomics

India revealed its new annual budget, and the funding allocations keep the hope for new genomics and commercialization centers kicking, Nature News notes.

Under this new budget, the Department of Science and Technology is to receive 44.7 billion rupees (US$650 million), or 17 percent more than last year, while the Department of Biotechnology is to receive 18.2 billion rupees, or 12 percent more than last year.

While the biotechnology department secretary Krishnaswamy VijayRaghavan tells Nature News that this allocation is about half of what was estimated to be needed for its genomics push, he says the department can likely make up the remainder from other initiatives, such as ones aimed at supporting biotech startups and entrepreneurs, or from the science department budget.

The DBT's strategy, Nature News adds, is to develop its genomics infrastructure by adding five more genomics centers focused on different fields — like drug discovery, marine biology, and more — to the existing three. It also plans to boost training for analyzing big data as well as establish some 150 technology transfer offices to aid in commercialization.

Though VijayRaghavan says that India "is now ready to upgrade its biotech capabilities," some researchers wonder whether a more focused approach may yield a better return.