Biotechnology In India
Biotechnology Thrives in India
By Chhavi Sachdev
LONAVLA, India ??In India, Hindu culture trumps all. And although India is a growing hub of technological and biological influence, Hinduism dominates even the sciences. India is ranked 37 among the 82 countries assessed by the World Economic Forum?ôs Global Competitiveness Report for the ?ústate of their information technology system and its effects on economic growth and productivity.??/P>
Roughly 300,000 engineers graduate from Indian colleges and universities each year. Multinational companies are taking advantage of the talent pool by making major high-tech investments, such as Microsoft?ôs plan to spend $1.7 billion and hire 3,000 employees in India over the next three to four years.
India?ôs biotech industry is also on the rise, with 500,000 doctors and nurses entering the workforce annually. Stem cell research in both the public and private sectors has grown considerably over the past few years in India, where politics or faith has not hindered its expansion. As a result, India is home to not one but three national stem cell research facilities.
In Western nations like the United States, however, stem cell research is a hot-button issue. Just a public discussion of the research has triggered furious protests and stirred up government officials. Not so in India, where the Hindu-influenced worldview pervades scientific progress and everyday discourse.
Hinduism, for its part, ?údoesn?ôt share the moral skittishness sometimes displayed by Western Christian thought,??said Arvind Sharma, the Birks Professor of Comparative Religions at Montreal?ôs McGill University. If no life is destroyed when taking stem cells from an aborted fetus, and the purpose is not evil, it would not disturb their morality, he said.
To keep things on an even keel, secular committees issue national directives. In 2004, the Central Ethics Committee on Human Research of the Indian Council on Medical Research circulated ethical guidelines on how to conduct stem cell research. The Draft Guidelines on Stem Cell Research/Regulation stresses that ?útermination of pregnancy for obtaining fetus for stem cells, research or for transplantation is not to be permitted.??Additionally, ?úno embryo can be created for the sole purpose of obtaining stem cells.??In 2000, a report on ?úEthical Guidelines for Biomedical Research on Human Subjects,??which dealt with genetic screening, was released.