India as a Quad-led biomanufacturing hub | 22nd May 2023 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

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What's the article about?

  • It talks about developing India as a world-class bio-manufacturing hub by utilising the QUAD platform.


  • GS3: Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life;
  • GS3: Effects of Liberalization on the Economy, Changes in Industrial Policy and their Effects on Industrial Growth;
  • Prelims


  • In March 2021, the Quad (set up a Critical and Emerging Technology Working Group to facilitate cooperation, monitor trends, and scout for opportunities related to developments in critical and emerging technologies, that included biotechnology.
  • However, the potential for Quad cooperation in biotechnology remains insufficiently tapped.
  • The establishment of a Quad-led biomanufacturing hub in India will give the necessary fillip to enhance this

What is biomanufacturing?

  • Biomanufacturing uses living systems, particularly microorganisms and cell cultures, to produce molecules and materials on a commercial scale.
  • It has the potential to transform the global industrial system, with up to 60% of physical inputs to the global economy expected to be producible using this technology.
  • Many countries, including the United States and China, recognise the need to optimise this ecosystem and have designed specific policies to shape their bio-economies.


  • Importance of QUAD in making India a global bio-manufacturing hub:
    • India’s National Biotechnology Development Strategy also envisions the country as a “Global Biomanufacturing Hub” by 2025.
    • While the strategy sets a target of $100 billion for the hub, it is important to recognise that India’s ambitions require external support, particularly through its Quad partners, to enable its initial development.
    • Specifically, the Quad should establish a biomanufacturing hub in India to benefit from the country’s economic potential and address supply-chain vulnerabilities. Quad nations have complementary strengths that can be leveraged to create this hub.
    • The U.S. has significant funding capability, while all three (Japan, Australia and the U.S.) also possess advanced biotechnology innovation ecosystems and intellectual property. India has skilled manpower and the potential to provide affordable scale.
  • India as global global bio-manufacturing hub:
    • India is the ideal choice to host the biomanufacturing hub due to its existing infrastructure, pharmaceutical manufacturing expertise, and the available workforce.
    • India also has significant potential in low-cost biomanufacturing, particularly in the production of enzymes, reagents, research materials, and equipment.
    • According to at least one analysis, the cost of manufacturing in India is around 33% lower when compared to that in the U.S.
    • India also aims to become a leading biomanufacturing hub with plans to increase fermentation capacity tenfold to 10 million litres in the next three to five years.
  • Challenges:
    • To scale up the biomanufacturing sector, India needs to uplift its workforce quality. While there are many life science professionals in the country, they lack access to cutting-edge technology and training.
    • To facilitate cross-Quad collaboration, the biomanufacturing hub can house all current bilateral government efforts and establish a research collaboration office for this purpose.
    • The hub can also harmonise language, regulations, and data-sharing regarding biomanufacturing to secure supply chains for Quad nations and facilitate international collaboration.

Way Forward:

  • The proposed hub in India can capitalise on the economic potential of the biomanufacturing industry and address existing and potential vulnerabilities in the global system.
  • India can become a leading player in the field of biomanufacturing and help the Quad to compete in this key area.

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