Report by India Education bureau, New Delhi: Imprimis, a leader in the life sciences communications space, has welcomed the announcement in the latest budget about establishing the Indian Institute of Agricultural Bio-technology at Ranchi, Jharkhand. The Institute will serve as a centre of excellence and give a boost to R&D in the Indian biotechnology industry. It will be a welcome change in a region which still remains largely backward socially and economically.
The setting up of the new facility is being taken as a proof of the Government’s commitment to the growth of the Indian biotechnology sector. Agricultural biotechnology is extremely important for India as the country’s current agricultural practices are not economically sustainable. It is considered a sunrise segment for the biotech industry.
Commenting on the 2013-14 budget, Dilip Cherian, Consulting Partner, Perfect Relations Group, said: “Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s eighth budget has pledged a ‘responsible’ budget and voiced eagerness to restore confidence in India’s public finances and economic management by tightening spending. It has focused on skills development and job creation and covers all sections of society. The several initiatives announced in the technology space are noteworthy.”
Nymphia Vishin, Deputy CEO, Imprimis, said: “As a life-sciences focused organization, we are happy to see the biotech sector getting its due from the government, especially since it has been contributing significantly to the country’s economic and social welfare and expanded nearly 19% in 2011-12. I hope setting up the new institute for agricultural bio-technology is the first one in a series of initiatives to be launched by the Indian government to boost the country’s biotechnology sector that has the potential to become as big as the information technology industry if provided the right enabling environment.”
The Indian biotechnology industry registered a double-digit growth to clock a turnover of over Rs 20,000 crores in 2011-12. It currently faces many challenges such as a lack of funding and entrepreneurial skills as well as weak intellectual property laws. The role of the government is crucial in putting together an ecosystem that gives the right growth opportunities for the Indian biotechnology industry.
Tanya Kewalramani, Chief Science Communications Officer with Imprimis, added: “We are excited by this initiative of the government which validates the crucial role that biotech will play in the agricultural sector, especially in the context of a burgeoning population. It is encouraging to see that the government has taken note of the huge potential biotechnology offers for India and has put in tangible efforts to increase its scope and reach for better outcomes. At this time, it is crucial to increase public awareness of the basic scientific concepts surrounding biotech so that we can all better appreciate innovations happening in the sector.”
In his budget speech, Finance Minister P Chidambaram highlighted the important role incubators play in mentoring new businesses. He said that funds provided to technology incubators located within academic institutions and approved by the government will qualify as CSR (corporate social responsibility) expenditure. The new Companies Bill requires companies to spend two per cent of average net profits towards CSR activities. Imprimis believes this is a positive move that will help entrepreneurs start new biotechnology businesses in the country.