‘Present policy needs changes to keep pace with development’

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said on Monday that the State government will be finalising a fresh policy framework for the biotechnology sector later this year.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the 14th edition of Bangalore India Bio, the flagship event of the Indian biotechnology sector, Mr. Siddaramaiah said the present policy, adopted by the State in 2009, “required changes in order to keep pace with developments in the industry”. Mr. Siddaramaiah said the new policy would be based on the recommendations of the State’s Vision Group on Biotechnology, which is headed by the Biocon Group’s Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.

He said a new state-of-the-art biotechnology park would become operational in two years. The Chief Minister said the biotech and healthcare industries, with a combined turnover of $100 billion, required better regulation but should also be investor-friendly. He said the government had sanctioned 12 “finishing schools” for training the workforce in the biotech industry and is satisfied with their functioning. “The model has been appreciated by the industry,” he observed.

Mr. Siddaramaiah pointed out that while almost one-fourth of the revenues of the Indian biotech industry is generated in Bangalore, more than half of the “core” Indian companies are based in Bangalore. Among them, five are the top 10 companies.

Bioscience incubator

Srivatsa Krishna, Principal Secretary, IT and Biotechnology, said the country’s first bioscience incubator is being established at the Bangalore Helix biotech park at Electronics City. Mr. Krishna said the State government has contributed land and Rs. 20 crore for the facility. The Union government has also provided Rs. 20 crore, inclusive of interest accumulated on the principal amount contributed by it. The facility is likely to be completed by June, he said.

Mr. Krishna said the State is also in the race to host a synthetic chemistry lab in Bangalore. “Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are also in the race,” he told presspersons on the sidelines of the event.

Ms. Mazumdar-Shaw said the government had played an important role in ensuring the emergence of Bangalore as a crucial hub in the global BT business.

“The State government has played a progressive, far-reaching and futuristic role in placing Bangalore on the global biotech map,” she said. Predicting that innovations designed in China and India would play an important role in addressing the problems of the future, she said, “Innovation is going to come from the east.”

Nobel laureate Sir John Gurdon said the policies adopted by the State government have been responsible for Bangalore’s emergence as a global hub for biotechnology. Its status as a “science hub” also played a part in the success, he said.

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