Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Sep 24, 2005
Bio-tech & Genetics
Industry & Economy - Bio-tech & Genetics
Biotech strategy in 2 months: Sibal
Mr Kapil Sibal , Union Minister for Science, Technology and Ocean Development, with CEOs of biotechnology companies at the `Bio-Spectrum CEO Summit' in Hyderabad on Friday . P. V. Sivakumar
Hyderabad , Sept. 23
THE National Biotechnology Development Strategy, which promises concessions to industries and chart out a roadmap to fuel the biotechnology sector's growth, would get the Union Cabinet nod in two months.
Stating this at a `Biotech CEO Summit' here on Friday, the Union Minister for Science and Technology, Mr Kapil Sibal, said the strategy would have specific tax incentives, address industry concerns and promote biotech parks in the country.
The last leg of interactions with the industry is slated in Chennai and Ahmedabad very soon, the Minister said.
The creation of a `single window' regulatory framework for genetically modified and biotech products, direct import of cell lines and other features that would make the regulatory mechanism more industry-academia friendly and aid in the growth of the sector will be in place by November, Mr Sibal said.
He felt the Government has a duty to fund industry. "We cannot expect the industry to invest huge amounts to generate new molecules. Its not a favour, but an obligation, therefore funding would be provided by the Government," he added.
However, he was quick to urge the domestic industry to invest in research and development.
"We will fund your R&D to an extent, but do not expect us to support your foreign travel and Bloody Marys", he told the assembled gathering of CEOs and leaders of biotech industry.
Thinking aloud on the challenge posed by the summit of the Indian biotech industry reaching $5 billion by 2010, Mr Sibal said the public-private partnership route was one solid route.
He also asked the industry to meet him once in two months to discuss and sort out issues, which would ensure fast growth of the sector. He pointed out that it was not happening now. For example in October 2004, we discussed the issue of duty concessions on diagnostic kits, but till date the industry has not come back with specifics.
The Minister said many delegations of multinational corporations were coming to India now to invest.
This clearly shows that the Patent (Amendments) brought in recently have found positive favour. Several US companies were also looking at investing in India through venture capital companies.
The Minister also fielded questions from select industry leaders in a brief `Cross Talk', session organised by the BioSpectrum magazine of Cybermedia Group.
Earlier, Mr N. Suresh, Editor of BioSpectrum, in his introductory remarks said the biotech policy, regulatory mechanism and incentives to facilitate the biotech industry to grow from the present $1 billion to $5 billion should be put in place quickly.
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