ODISHA TO SET UPFUND TO SUP­PORT BT START-UPS, YOUNG EN­TREPRENEURS

BioSpectrum (India) - - Bio Contents - C J Venu­gopal Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary, Sci­ence & Tech­nol­ogy Depart­ment, Gov­ern­ment of Odisha

Odisha Gov­ern­ment of­fers many sops in its biotech­nol­ogy pol­icy, re­leased in Novem­ber, to at­tract in­vest­ments in the sec­tor.

Odisha is yet to have well-de­vel­oped biotech­nol­ogy-based in­dus­tries de­spite hav­ing am­ple scope in biotech sec­tor. To over­come the ob­sta­cles and at­tract in­vest­ments in the sec­tor, the state gov­ern­ment re­leased its biotech pol­icy in Novem­ber. Apart from of­fer­ing var­i­ous sops to the in­dus­try, the pol­icy also fo­cuses on in­no­va­tions by en­cour­ag­ing re­search and de­vel­op­ment in uni­ver­si­ties and in­sti­tutes, cre­at­ing ta­lent pool of young en­trepreneurs and en­cour­ag­ing start-ups. In an e-mail in­ter­view with Bio Spec­trum, C J Venu­gopal, Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary, Sci­ence & Tech­nol­ogy Depart­ment, Gov­ern­ment of Odisha, ex­plains Odisha’s strengths in biotech­nol­ogy sec­tor and salient fea­tures of the biotech­nol­ogy pol­icy.

Can you briefly talk about biotech sec­tor in Odisha?

The State of Odisha has vast scope for de­vel­op­ment of biotech­nol­ogy, a sun­rise knowl­edge in­dus­try. The State, with its rich bio­di­ver­sity in agri­cul­ture, ma­rine, forest and vast nat­u­ral re­sources cou­pled with in­dus­try-friendly pol­icy mea­sures, of­fers tremen­dous po­ten­tial to be­come a ma­jor des­ti­na­tion for in­vest­ments in biotech­nol­ogy sec­tor.

As biotech­nol­ogy in­dus­try is still in a state of for­ma­tive years in the state, its de­vel­op­ment will have a con­sid­er­able com­po­nent of tech­nol­ogy in­cu­ba­tion through high-level of in­tel­lec­tual ta­lent avail­able in the uni­ver­si­ties and the cen­tres of re­search in the state.

Even though the state is not very well-de­vel­oped in biotech­nol­ogy-based in­dus­tries, it in­her­its es­tab­lished tra­di­tion of in­dus­trial cul­ture, par­tic­u­larly in tex­tile, leather, min­ing, pa­per and pulp and the agro in­dus­tries. Up­com­ing in­vest­ments in biotech units can ben­e­fit from the ex- ist­ing sci­en­tific and man­age­rial ta­lent pool, IT/ITES and the cor­po­rate cul­ture, nur­tured over the pe­riod.

Biotech be­ing a knowl­edge-based sec­tor, the Odisha gov­ern­ment has been fo­cus­ing more on cre­at­ing skilled ta­lent pool through fi­nan­cial sup­port to higher ed­u­ca­tion and re­search like Ph.D. / M.Sc. / M.Tech apart from spon­sor­ing in­ter­na­tional/ na­tional/ state level con­fer­ences/sem­i­nars/ sym­posia/ work­shops etc. in biotech­nol­ogy.

A biotech-pharma-IT park is be­ing de­vel­oped on a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship mode. In the first phase, the park is be­ing con­structed over 64 acres in And­harua Mouza on the out­skirts of Bhubaneswar for a biotech in­cu­ba­tor, an IT cor­ri­dor and com­mer­cial in­fra­struc­ture. In the sec­ond phase, a state-of-the-art park with mod­u­lar R&D labs, ad­min­is­tra­tive sup­port in­fra­struc­ture and a BT cor­ri­dor will be set up across 200 acres.

The park will stim­u­late and man­age the knowl­edge flow and cre­ate link­ages be­tween uni­ver­si­ties, R&D in­sti­tu­tions, com­pa­nies and mar­kets.

What steps are taken by the gov­ern­ment to pro­mote biotech sec­tor in Odisha?

The Gov­ern­ment of Odisha has been tak­ing ini­tia­tives for pro­mot­ing higher ed­u­ca­tion, re­search & de­vel­op­ment (R&D) and to cre­ate an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment for in­vest­ments in biotech­nol­ogy sec­tor. The ini­tia­tives are -

• Pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial sup­port for hold­ing work­shops/

sym­posia/con­fer­ences on biotech­nol­ogy.

• Pro­vid­ing schol­ar­ships and fel­low­ships to univer­sity stu­dents, re­search schol­ars pur­su­ing M.Sc. / M.Tech. / Ph. D. / in biotech­nol­ogy and emer­i­tus pro­fes­sors for short­term aca­demic as­sign­ments.

• Cre­ate in­fra­struc­ture for biotech­nol­ogy park/ ma­rine biotech­nol­ogy park/de­vel­op­ment of germplasm/ gene bank.

• Con­duct skill and en­trepreneur­ship de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes (SEDP) through var­i­ous biotech­nol­ogy in­sti­tu­tions of re­pute.

The In­dus­trial Pol­icy Res­o­lu­tion (IPR 2015) and MSME Pol­icy pro­vide var­i­ous fis­cal, non-fis­cal in­cen­tives and other sup­port mea­sures on pri­or­ity, to units in the biotech­nol­ogy sec­tor.

These ini­tia­tives would be ex­panded and given ma­jor thrust as part of the Biotech­nol­ogy Pol­icy Res­o­lu­tion-2016 (BPR 2016). The BPR 2016 shall act as a cat­a­lyst in the eco­nomic growth of the state, cre­at­ing mod­els for scal­a­bil­ity and repli­ca­bil­ity re­sult­ing in higher in-

vest­ments and large-scale em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in the state. The BPR 2016 pro­vides fol­low­ing supports to achieve its ob­jec­tive in biotech­nol­ogy sec­tor in the state:

Pri­or­ity in al­lo­ca­tion of land/ change of land-use for the biotech­nol­ogy projects.

Per­mis­si­ble Floor Area Ra­tio (FAR) for biotech­nol­ogy in­dus­trial units will be at par with the pro­vi­sions made for in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy/ in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy en­abled ser­vices (IT/ITES) sec­tor.

• One time grant up to Rs. 2 crore for set­ting up of or up­grad­ing of biotech­nol­ogy cen­tres of ex­cel­lence by uni­ver­si­ties/in­sti­tutes.

• One time grant up to Rs. 2 crore for set­ting up of or up­grad­ing of biotech en­ter­prise and skill de­vel­op­ment schools by uni­ver­si­ties/in­sti­tutes.

• One time grant up to Rs. 2 crore for set­ting up of or

up­grad­ing of biotech­nol­ogy in­cu­ba­tors.

Col­lab­o­ra­tive re­search grant up to Rs. 30 lakh per an­num per project in ad­vanced ar­eas of ap­plied biotech­nol­ogy

The Gov­ern­ment of Odisha would en­cour­age spe­cial fund­ing sup­port of max­i­mum up to Rs. 50 lakh per an­num to univer­sity/in­sti­tutes/agen­cies/in­dus­tries for pro­mo­tional as­sis­tance to en­cour­age in­vest­ment in this sec­tor.

Awards to show­case sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions and achieve­ments in biotech­nol­ogy sec­tor.

As part of ef­fec­tive gov­er­nance, the pol­icy shall en­able proper im­ple­men­ta­tion and smooth func­tion­ing of all the pro­vi­sions to fa­cil­i­tate the biotech­nol­ogy in­vest­ments in the state. The so­ci­ety con­sti­tuted for de­vel­op­ment of biotech­nol­ogy un­der the Sci­ence & Tech­nol­ogy Depart­ment will be re­spon­si­ble for the smooth im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pro­vi­sions in the pol­icy.

All projects to be cov­ered un­der this pol­icy shall go through the State-Level Sin­gle Win­dow Clear­ance Au­thor­ity (SLSWCA) for clear­ance as per the pre­vail­ing prac­tice for in­dus­tries in the state ac­cord­ing to IPR 2015, and a spe­cial sin­gle win­dow clear­ance com­mit­tee for projects with less than Rs 50 crore in­vest­ment.

There will be a Pol­icy Ad­vi­sory Vi­sion Group (PAVG), a think tank of in­tel­lec­tu­als, pro­fes­sion­als and prac­ti­tion­ers from var­i­ous fields in the academia, re­search, in­dus­try, com­merce, ad­min­is­tra­tion, fi­nance, mar­ket­ing etc., that will de­velop in phases, sys­tems and mech­a­nisms to bring a par­a­digm shift in the ap­proach of biotech­nol­ogy ed­u­ca­tion and re­search, com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of prod­ucts and ser­vices, in­vest­ment, col­lab­o­ra­tion, skill de­vel­op­ment through a wide range of pro­grammes and tasks. The com­mit­tee will also be re­spon­si­ble for re­assess­ment of pri­or­ity ar­eas for growth, con­sti­tu­tion of spe­cial task forces from time to time.

When did Odisha re­leased its first biotech pol­icy?

The Biotech­nol­ogy Pol­icy of Odisha was re­leased in Novem­ber 2016.

What are the ob­jec­tives of biotech pol­icy?

a) Pri­ori­tis­ing the thrust ar­eas for ba­sic as well as ap­plied re­search and tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ment with in­dus­try-academia-so­cial in­ter­face.

b) Pro­mot­ing in­no­va­tion in R&D by pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial and in­fras­truc­tural sup­port and by en­cour­ag­ing pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship (PPP) in R&D for sus­tained growth and in­ter­na­tional com­pet­i­tive­ness.

c) Es­tab­lish re­gional biotech­nol­ogy parks, bio-clus­ters, biotech­nol­ogy cen­tres of ex­cel­lence, biotech­nol­ogy en­ter­prise and skill de­vel­op­ment schools (BESD), and in­cu­ba­tion cen­tres in uni­ver­si­ties/in­sti­tutes/in­dus­tries/agen­cies and the­matic biotech­nol­ogy parks in the pri­or­ity ar­eas like agri­cul­ture, an­i­mal hus­bandry and hu­man health.

d) Es­tab­lish ded­i­cated in­sti­tutes/strength­en­ing ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties for bioin­for­mat­ics, bio-sim­i­lar, bio-mark­ers, ap­plied biotech­nol­ogy, bio­engi­neer­ing and ge­nomics etc.

e) Em­ploy­ment gen­er­a­tion and de­vel­op­ment of in­dus­try ready-skilled hu­man cap­i­tal in var­i­ous ar­eas of biotech­nol­ogy.

f) Ca­pac­ity build­ing on In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Rights

(IPR) and bio-safety.

g) Cre­ate a con­ducive busi­ness ecosys­tem, reg­is­tra­tion mech­a­nism, brand­ing to fa­cil­i­tate and en­cour­age pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ment and busi­ness pro­mo­tion.

h) Cre­ate a strong in­sti­tu­tional frame­work/net­work for ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion, mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­a­tion of this pol­icy.

Can you share some of the im­por­tant points from the pol­icy?

As men­tioned ear­lier, be­sides a lot of fis­cal and non-fis­cal supports un­der BPR 2016, the MSME pol­icy and the IPR 2015 pro­vide other sup­port mea­sures like sup­port­ive in­dus­trial and labour act and rules, en­vi­ron­men­tal and pol­lu­tion clear­ances, easy credit, cap­i­tal, skilled hu­man, raw ma­te­ri­als, mar­ket, duty and taxes and also make pro­vi­sions for spe­cial in­cen­tives like power sub­sidy, train­ing/ap­pren­tice/em­ploy­ment sub­sidy etc.

Do prece­dents ex­ist in Odisha for the kinds of in­no­va­tion crit­i­cal to suc­cess in biotech­nol­ogy?

Yes, a lot of in­no­va­tions take place par­tic­u­larly in ap­plied biotech­nol­ogy in the po­ten­tial ar­eas of life sci­ences, agri­cul­tural and an­i­mal sci­ences, health sci­ences, ma­rine and aqua­cul­ture etc. in state uni­ver­si­ties and re­search in­sti­tutes, and na­tional in­sti­tutes like NISER, ILS, IIT, CIFA, IIMT, NRRI, RMRC etc. for run up to in­dus­tries to make com­mer­cially suc­cess­ful prod­ucts and ser­vices. That apart, in­no­va­tions in IT sec­tor in the state pro­vides a lot of scope for bioin­for­mat­ics.

As Odisha con­tin­ues to build up its life sci­ences sec­tor, what lessons might it draw from its own ex­pe­ri­ences—for ex­am­ple, in the clean-tech sec­tor—as well as from the ex­pe­ri­ences of other states in In­dia?

Clean tech­nol­ogy (clean-tech) is, in gen­eral, used to de­scribe prod­ucts, pro­cesses or ser­vices that re­duce waste and re­quire as few non-re­new­able re­sources as pos­si­ble. Like other states pro­mot­ing clean-tech, Odisha has also ini­ti­ated a lot of mea­sures to en­sure use of clean­tech in in­dus­trial de­signs, pro­cesses, prac­tices and tools that supports a sus­tain­able busi­ness growth, in­clud­ing pol­lu­tion con­trol, re­source ef­fi­ciency and man­age­ment, waste re­duc­tion, en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, car­bon mit­i­ga­tion, cli­mate change adap­ta­tion and prof­itabil­ity.

How is Odisha gov­ern­ment help­ing start-ups in this sec­tor?

The state gov­ern­ment has al­ready launched its start-up pol­icy to en­cour­age in­cu­ba­tors, in­clud­ing sec­tor spe­cific en­ter­prises fo­cus­ing to cre­ate en­abling en­vi­ron­ment and sup­port­ing eco-sys­tem that fa­cil­i­tates at least 1,000 start-ups in the next five years in the state. The pol­icy would pro­vide in­cen­tives and ex­emp­tions over and above the start-up pol­icy of Gov­ern­ment of In­dia and any other ex­ist­ing pol­icy in the state. Ac­cord­ing to the start-up pol­icy, the state gov­ern­ment pro­poses to come up with a cap­i­tal in­fra­struc­ture fund up to Rs 25 crore to sup­port the start-up units and young en­trepreneurs. Uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges are eligible for one-time cap­i­tal grant to set up in­cu­ba­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

C J Venu­gopal Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary, Sci­ence & Tech­nol­ogy Depart­ment, Gov­ern­ment of Odisha

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