As the Indian biotech grows at a rapid pace with greater focus on consumer health, the Union Budget 2023-24 is a welcome relief. The pharmaceutical industry has benefited from the earlier Budgets. As a result of the increased expenditures on the healthcare sector and the increased self-reliance in vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics during the pandemic, the pharmaceutical industry has been able to accelerate research and development as well as increase production.

As mentioned in the Budget, a new programme to promote research and innovation in pharmaceuticals will be taken up through centres of excellence. Our key takeaway is that as the new pharmaceutical programme is developed and investment in research will be encouraged, taxes and other incentives will be included, which will eventually boost the pharmaceutical industry.

Of course, the Finance Minister did mention R&D. One of the key aspects was the promotion of research, where the pharmaceutical industry will advance and go a long way towards making India the world’s pharmacy. In order to advance research and development, ICMR facilities will be made available for research to both public and private entities. This will create numerous opportunities for industry and academia to collaborate and develop novel products. This is an important step in eliminating the industry academia divide in our country. This will also lead to academia participating in product development and reaping the subsequent rewards.

The pharma industry in India is a significant part of the nation’s foreign trade and a key contributor to the Indian economy. The sector must receive more investment in order for India to truly become Aatmanirbhar given its growing relevance and the government’s ‘Make in India’ campaign. The Covid-19 pandemic has intensified attention on the need to boost R&D and innovation, further strengthen the healthcare infrastructure and improve patient care.

The Government of India has made health a cornerstone of its future success with this landmark budget. I am happy that 157 nursing colleges will be established in co-location with the existing 157 medical colleges established since 2014. This is undoubtedly a relief.

The 2023 Budget is a step in the right direction and reflects a positive and forward-looking outlook. The Budget has a well-balanced approach towards various sectors, with a special emphasis on the health segment. The initiatives taken in the life sciences industry are commendable, as the centres for excellence will foster higher innovation and international collaborations. This will play a crucial role in developing original molecules and high-value products from India, which will lead to long-term economic benefits.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of research and development in the health sector. While generic products have their own advantages, it is the original molecules that bring high-value to the industry. This focus on original research and development will also help India move away from just being a supplier of generic drugs to a hub of innovation in the pharmaceutical industry.

In conclusion, the 2023 Budget is a step towards a brighter future and provides the necessary impetus to bounce back and move the economy forward in the years to come. The Budget is aligned with the country’s vision of India at 100 and provides a balanced approach to various sectors, including the health segment, with a focus on research and development. This Budget lays a strong foundation for the future and will help India achieve its goal of becoming a leading player in the global market.

The author is the Managing Director of Bharat Biotech