Biotechnology Programme for Societal Development

Biotechnology based programme for societal development


Biotechnology, besides contributing to academics, research and economy, has immense potential to directly improve the lives of socially and economically weaker sections of the society. The fruits of biotechnology based research and innovation can be utilized to provide platforms for self-employment generation among the target population by diffusion of proven and field-tested technologies in a plethora of fields ranging from agriculture, secondary products of agriculture, food processing, animal husbandry and many others. Notably, the benefits of biotechnology based interventions are all-encompassing and cuts across sectors that have a direct influence on means of daily livelihood and income.

Biotechnology based programme for societal development was initiated by DBT in 1990 to benefit the vulnerable section of the society particularly farmers, women and SC/ST population with a special focus on youth belonging to these sections of the 130 crores population of India. In course of this journey of three decades, emphasis on different sectors have been realigned several times in consonance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations and national priorities of India.

The NITI Aayog had identified 117 Aspirational districts in 2018 based on 49 indicators across five sectors that include health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion and skill development, and basic infrastructure. DBT is currently engaged in ensuring enhancement of the Human Development Index in these districts through focused interventions under its Biotechnology based programme for societal development.

There are four major Programmes under the Scheme which are as follows:

  • Aspirational Districts Programme
  • Programme for Women
  • Programme for SC/ST Population
  • Programme for Rural Development

Objective: The specific aim of Biotechnology based programme for societal development is the socio-economic upliftment of the underprivileged section of the society with the following objectives:

  • To promote the use of biotechnological processes and tools for the benefit of under privileged section of the society comprising of women, rural, SC/ST population and weaker section.
  • To develop programmes on agriculture and allied areas; health, hygiene and nutrition; biodiversity conservation and sustainable utilization of resources for societal benefit.
  • To create a platform for livelihood, self-employment generation and entrepreneurial activities among the target population by diffusion of proven and field-tested technologies through demonstration, training and extension activities.
  • Science outreach & public engagement.

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

  • The project should clearly bring out the benefits to the target population through technology transfer using locally available bio-resources.
  • Attention should be paid on income and employment generation in addition to change in their lifestyle in terms of monetary gain or improvement in health and nutrition status, skill development or entrepreneurship creation through biotechnological interventions.
  • The project should create avenues for the target population to get relief from drudgery and in turn encouraging them to stay back in their areas, inculcate a spirit of bio-entrepreneurship and stop migrating to the cities.
  • The activity undertaken should be employment/revenue generating and not job displacing.
  • Activities undertaken should pertain to the judicious utilization of bio-resources leading to sustainable development in the implementation area through the involvement of target population in farm activities. It should not lead to environmental degradation or ecological imbalance.
  • During the project duration, implementing agency should encourage formation of cooperative societies / Self Help Groups to continue the activity in a sustainable manner.
  • After termination of Govt. support, assets generated are required to be transferred to the cooperative societies / SHGs formed. As far as possible, assets created from the DBT supported funds should be placed in the vicinity of the beneficiaries in the project operational area.

Biotechnology Social Development Award

The Department of Biotechnology has instituted the ‘Biotechnology Social Development Awards’ since 2015, as a part of its Biotechnology Research Innovation and Technology Excellence (BRITE) awards,  to recognize individuals/social organizations (NGOs, trusts etc.) working at the grass-root level for societal development through application of biotechnological interventions, thereby, empowering people in livelihood generation, skill development and entrepreneurship for self employment.

Presently, three awards are conferred under two categories:

  • Individual - 02 awards
  • Organization - 01 award

 Each award carries a cash prize along with a citation and a trophy.

Success stories

  • Nearly 39,000 rural SC/ST and women population including youth have been benefitted through the implementation of the projects supported agriculture and allied sector including animal husbandry, dairy, fisheries; integrated farming system; health & nutrition; environment & biodiversity conservation during last five years.
  • Creating awareness against some important diseases such as breast cancer, cervical cancer, sickle cell anemia, UTI, prevention of mental retardation in newborn. Over 18,000 people including health professionals, ASHA workers, women and children have benefitted through implementation of various projects.
  • 12 Aspirational districts in seven states namely, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha and Punjab. 8100 people will be benefitted through implementation of biotechnological interventions in agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries and nutrition under this programme.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Contact Details of Concerned Officers:

Programme Head Smt Radha Ashrit, Statistical Adviser
Phone No.011-24363656
Programme OfficerDr. Garima Gupta, Scientist E
AddressDepartment of Biotechnology, 5th Floor, Room No. 510, Block - 3, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003
Phone No.011-24369385
Programme OfficerDr. Abhishek Kumar Mehta, Scientist C
Phone No.011-24360718
S. No.TitleDetails
1Sucess Story of Societal ProgrammeView (1.46 MB) pdf
2Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)View (308.85 KB) pdf