BioAsia 2021: Indian life sciences needs policy push, says KTR

Reduction of tax incentive on R&D proving counter-productive.

By   |  Published: 23rd Feb 2021  10:34 pmUpdated: 24th Feb 2021  12:37 am
IT Minister KTR speaking at BioAsia 2021 virtual meet.

Hyderabad: India as a nation has enormous potential in the life sciences sector and in order to fully utilise its capabilities, the Central government should provide policy support to encourage industry to innovate and discover drugs, as well as incentivise intellectual property and protect it, said KT Rama Rao, Minister for Industries & Commerce, Government of Telangana.

Sharing his views at a CEO Conclave as part of BioAsia, participated by Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and industry stalwarts from across India, KTR said moves such as reduction of 200 per cent tax incentive to the present 100 per cent would act as counter-productive for innovation, discourage new drug discovery and especially the Central government’s Atma Nirbhar initiative.

“India is still known as a low-cost copycat destination. We don’t really enjoy it when it comes to IPR or innovative products. This manufacturing-linked incentive- R&D subsidy, which has been reduced, works counter-productive to what we are trying to achieve when the Prime Minister talks about self-reliant India,” he added.

Meanwhile, in a fireside chat with Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, the minister said, another dimension to the tech space over the last decade has been the role of startups and innovations, particularly, since we are talking about the pandemic, in the healthcare value chain, and as we re-imagine the medicine.

Satya Nadella emphasised that startups have a huge role to play. It is fantastic to see the risk capital getting allocated to these domains of biology and fundamental drug discovery at a rate that is impressive.

“In India I have come across a company which was fundamentally changing the way in which we can conduct clinical trials. I think it is called Cymetric. We had worked for a longtime, on medical adherence of technology at the lowest cost, using essentially someone calling you and messaging you on your cellphone for TB and we can now see that, it is called the 99 dots program, which was taken by a startup which scaled it up as a medical adherence technology. I think that there would be a lot of breakthroughs in drug discovery which all of us across the globe need,” added Nadella.


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