Biotechnology Policy Watch
The Indian government has framed a favourable policy to boost foreign investment in the biotech.
With the current foreign direct investment policy of the Government of India allowing FDI up to 100 %, some policies include:
- Tax exemptions are at par with information technology (IT.)
- Reduction in peak custom duties from 30 % to 25 %.
- Increase on rate of depreciation on life saving equipment from 25 % to 40 %.
- Tax holiday for R&D companies and excise duty on all goods produced in the pharmaceutical sector reduced from 16 % to 8 %.
The Government of India has taken interesting steps this year to implement the Biotechnology Development Strategy. Key elements of the strategy include the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI), promoting the Biotechnology industry through PPP Programmes, the Biotechnology Industry Partnership Programme for Advanced Technologies, supporting SME innovation, and the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council.
Some key initiatives:
Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI)
BRAI will be an independent, autonomous, statutory agency and will be established through the act of parliament by the Government of India to safeguard the health and safety of the people of India and to protect the environment by identifying risks posed by, or as a result of, modern biotechnology and managing those risks through regulating the safe development and deployment of biotechnology products and processes. The Authority will be responsible for regulating the research, transport, import, manufacture and use of organisms and products in health care, agriculture, veterinary and environment.
Promoting Biotech Industry
- Public Private Partnership Programmes- About 30% of Department of Biotechnology (DBT) Government of India budget to be invested in Public-Private Partnership schemes by the end of the 11th plan. With an aim of promoting innovation, pre-proof-of-concept research, accelerated technology-and product development in biotechnologies related to agriculture, human health, animal productivity, bio manufacturing and environment.
- Biotechnology Industry Partnership Programme for Advanced Technologies- In order achieve global competitiveness and generating intellectual property in frontier biotechnologies related to agriculture, health, environment, bioenergy and biomanufacturing, with focus on contributing to a long-term and sustainable bio economy there is launch of Biotechnology Industry Partnership Programme (BIPP).
- Supporting Small and Medium Sector Innovation- There is success story seen in existing Small Business Innovation Research Industry (SBIRI) scheme to promote innovation in SME's.
- BIRAC to Nurture Industry R&D- ‘Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC)’ to support the innovation and provide infrastructure and services across chains in the biotechnology sector in the country was set up by DBT in the year 2012 and recently there were interesting EU-India bilateral calls through this program to encourage precommercialzation projects from EU start ups to collaborate with Indian partners .
Centres of Excellence in Biotechnology
In order to create and strengthen world-class institutional research capacity in biotechnology; it is proposed to establish Centres of Excellence (COEs) and a few are already established. The COEs are expected to engage in thematic research with multi-disciplinary research efforts through collaborative programmes among researchers having complementary backgrounds, skills and expertise.
Biotechnology Parks and Incubators
Biotechnology parks have been established to facilitate product advancement and innovation through the development of a biotechnology industrial cluster and to produce biotechnologists and entrepreneurs having strong foundation in research and innovation. The incubator facilities help startup companies, provide support to young entrepreneurs who are not able to invest in facilities but have the capability to design new products and processes. With many multinational and bio-pharma companies initiating their R&D and manufacturing operations in India the demand for biotech incubators has increased. Both Central and State Governments are making earnest efforts to promote biotechnology activities in the country by setting up biotechnology parks, incubators as well as pilot projects. Biotechnology parks and incubation centres set up in different states are progressing well.