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FDI for biotech sector among Sibal's priorities

Our Bureau

New Delhi , June 2

ON the new agenda of Department of Science and Technology (DST) is attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) to the biotech sector, spelling out a biotech policy and lessening the regulatory shackles on the sector.

"I want to attract investment, spell out a biotech policy and ease regulatory controls on the biotech sector," the Minister of State for Science and Technology (with independent charge), Mr Kapil Sibal, said in a media briefing here.

The Minister plans to seek Rs 400-500 crore from the Finance Minister as budgetary allocation for his Ministry.

The DST is also mulling setting up an ocean university. "Various academic research is being done by several institutions. There's a need to coagulate all that research," Mr Sibal said.

"I propose to set up an inter-Ministerial group. The DST needs to interact with the other Ministries such as Health, External Affairs, Commerce, etc. for various projects," he said.

Mr Sibal has already proposed setting up of a "food street" in Chandni Chowk of Delhi, which happens to be his constituency. He is in the process of holding talks on the project with the Ministries of Environment, Culture and Tourism.

The Ministry will work towards promoting private investment and participation in research-oriented product development. "It is important that the benefits of research reach the common man," he added.

"DST officials need to be a part of WTO discussions and can contribute their expertise in the area of patents. We need to talk to the commerce ministry for the same," he said.

Setting up a world-class clinical trial centre is also one of the steps high on the ministers' list. "We would like to unshackle the bureaucracy stronghold on the scientist's community,'' said Mr Sibal.

The Minister also called for an audit of the earlier projects in order to evaluate the progress as well as value generated by each one. The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) will also be reconstituted, said Mr Sibal.

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