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Budget wishlist: BT sector seeks more support

BS Reporter/Chennai/ Bangalore 27 Dec 12 | 12:53 AM

The association of biotechnology firms in India, the Association of Biotechnology-Led Enterprises (ABLE ), has prepared a list of expectations for the sector from the Budget to be presented in March.

The apex body of biotech companies, has asked the government to play a key role in providing impetus to the sector by giving the essential financial push to this sunrise sector. The association also said, there is a need for financial thrust for the emerging biotech sector in the country. ABLE also urged the government’s aid for the companies that are suffering economic burdens by giving fiscal and financial incentives.

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For 2011-12, biotechno-logy industry in India touc-hed Rs 20,441 crore landmark with 18.55 per cent growth. However, the gross dome-stic expenditure on R&D is just 2.1 per cent of global R&D, ABLE said.

The biotech industry in India has the ability to be an indigenous solutions provider for India in combating poverty, drastic climatic changes affecting agriculture, outburst of various life threatening diseases and so on, it added.

“Bio-manufacturing, agri-biotechnology, bio-services and biofuels are some of the sunrise segments for the industry," said P M Murali, President, ABLE India.

The 8th Annual Report and Survey of Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Capacity and Production indica-tes that Asia, especially India, is a preferred destination for many biotech companies worldwide.

“Almost 95 per cent of cotton farmers in India have taken to Bt cotton. MNCs around the world like to outsource clinical trials and custom manufacturing to India and our bio-service sector is presently worth over $250 million. Bio-fuels offer an alternative to India’s oil dependency which accounts for 2.5 million barrels per day," Murali added.

Some of the key expectations and recommendations for the sector include — increase in weight tax deduction and extending its applicability to activities like clinical trials, setting up venture capital funds, tax rebates, grants for advanced skills development programs, exemption from exciseôcustom duties on life saving medicines as well as on their raw materials and also on capital goods and consumables, CROs, diagnostic kits, providing tax holidays and soft loans, price fixing for ethanol and allocation of corpus fund will contribute to the growth of Industry and nation.

The recommendations, if implemented by the government, will also enable the Indian biotech sector to achieve the target growth rate of 25-30 per cent and generate revenues of $100 billion by 2025.

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