I am angry. My rage directed at the establishment, at every person involved in this business of biotech. The students are mere spectators bereft of significant opinion and the teachers encourage mediocrity conforming to a hackneyed and obsolete education system which undermines the latent potential of an individual and seldom encourages oblique thinking.
The inherent structure of the system suppresses independent view point while rewarding compliance with defined notions. So, a novel idea becomes secondary to the so called primary objective of “achieving merit”. This has resulted in mass production of generic individuals subservient to acknowledged authority where deflection from the norm is vehemently chastised.
The gulf between industry and academia is widening by the day. It is an accepted fact that a person has to unlearn his concepts when he or she enters the industry. So why are we investing in infrastructure and machinery when its eventual utility is null and void? The UGC had advised not to initiate an under-graduate course in Biotech due to the lack of infrastructure and discontinuity in terms of academic progression. In its fifth year now (in Mumbai) there is very little that this course can claim to have accomplished.
A biotechnology graduate ignorant of practical applications is severely restricted in his opportunities. In effect we are educating people to be unemployed as the skill set required for absorption in the industry is absent. Through an initiative of public-private partnership this can be corrected. By linking academia with the industry we can nurture a competent and productive work force which will sustain long-term growth.
As practitioners of biotech, these manufactured foot soldiers of ignominy aspire to extend a pre fabricated agenda without prior contemplation. Hence, we have researchers quick to eschew responsibility when a product of their design causes harm to people. Under the veiled accusation of “an incompetent administration”, which to a large extent may be true, they transfer their responsibility.
The government with its policies has virtually incapacitated entrepreneurs and set the biotech industry in retrograde. Although the cautious nature of our policies considers broader arguments with regards to implication of technology, its structure constricts expansion and rapid growth. As a result,
Also, corporate policies with a linear objective of amassing wealth dilute the prospect of actual benefit to the masses. An erosion of moral fabric or sensitivity towards the common interests of people and the environment alike which may be linked to the lack of holistic education.
A case in point would be the American MNC Monsanto and its unabashed persistence via contemptuous marketing and directed media, of introducing a harmful rBST vaccine ‘Posilac’ to increase milk production in cows, which caused grave damage not only to the animals but also humans who consumed the milk. The recent report of the Monsanto study on the organ damage and compromised immune system of rats fed with GM corn should be an eye opener. Closer home, the BT cotton debacle where farmers committed suicide due to the failure of crop or the imported Japanese encephalitis vaccine, a prophylactic measure taken without proper trials, killed many in
Accountability has become a flaccid value, a fleeting thought which does not inspire compassion or remorse.
In what is touted as the century of biological sciences, a majority of the population is ignorant of the impact that this field has on their every day existence. The growth of the industry is solely reliant on developing a knowledgeable consumer base. But, the initiative in generating an informed consent is seen as a faltering strategy because this would lead to deliberations on issues which now are considered a prerogative of industry. This abject alienation further hinders societal responsibility. By ignoring the demands of sustainable industry, the current paradigm will lead to a subsequent degeneration of intellect and enterprise.
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The state of biotech in