Our Bureau

New Delhi, May 29

THE Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has called for shorter regulatory approval of crop biotechnology meant for exports (through export zones), while ensuring that there is no leakage into the domestic market.

The industry body said "export opportunities through SEZ/AEZ in crop biotech should be encouraged by following a shorter regulatory approval of one year duration while ensuring that there is no leakage into domestic environment of the GM crop meant for export."

It added that an independent body could be created to promote investments in the life- sciences sector.CII has said that the Draft National Biotech Development Strategy would encourage `public-private' partnership in PhD programme through creation of `Bio-Edu-Grid', a network of universities and industries facilitating pooling of resources.

The chamber has recommended accreditation of education in biotechnology, to minimise the threat posed due to fly-by night operators by putting in various measures including a strong accreditation system. CII has said that it would be imperative to encourage internationally accredited agencies to come forward and promote knowledge sharing.

For research and development, CII has recommended a three-way cooperation among the entrepreneur, the government and the risk assessors (venture capital/banks) for enhanced and better utilisation of funds for R&D. It has also called for enhanced focus on marine biotechnology and research in agri-biotechnology.

There is a need to create a task force on harmonisation of laws to ensure a world-class regulatory and patent regime.Moreover, there is a need to harmonise the biotechnology strategy with the Draft Food Safety and Standards Bill 2005, it said.

Currently, there is a low level of awareness internationally about India as an attractive biotech investment destination, it pointed out. There is a need to articulate clearly India's competitive advantage in this sector vis-a-vis countries such as Singapore, Australia, the US or even China. There is also a need to identify the target audience i.e. investor profile for long-term gestation investments, CII said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 30, 2005)
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