Lifesciences sector wants govt to create conducive atmosphere for fostering research, development and innovation

Nandita Vijay, BengaluruTuesday, January 30, 2018, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The life-sciences industry insists that the government should aim at creating a conducive atmosphere for fostering research, development and innovation, if it really wants its dream of Make in India drugs/ biomarkers/ biosimilars, a reality.

At the same time it should also roll back and provide clarity on the weighted deduction for expenditure on the outsourced scientific research. Besides, it should also increase the spend on education and skilling programmes but also should allocate a substantial amount towards measuring the quality of vocational training programs.

According to Ritu Shaktawat, Associate Partner, Khaitan & Co, from a taxation standpoint, the recent amendments which have reduced and seek to eventually discontinue the weighted deduction for scientific research related expenditure should be rolled back. Further, the patent box regime which offers a lower rate of tax for royalty from patents developed in India should be modified to ensure that in cases of joint patentees, the benefit of this regime is extended to the assignee of the true and first inventor. Fiscal incentives of this kind would lead to capacity building for sustainable growth and development of the Indian pharma industry.

“Biotech needs government push to tackle the burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases. The government should aim at creating a conducive atmosphere of fostering research. We expect the government in this budget invest in building and maintaining public health infrastructure, setting up new medical academies and consider making health insurance mandatory for all. It should also take steps to create an ecosystem that brings together academia and industry to boost innovation in healthcare,” stated Surajit Chakrabartty, CFO, MedGenome.

“India pharma industry should focus on the adoption of outcome based training practices. The fund allocation from the government should cover all legs of the vocational skilling programs, especially monitoring the effectiveness and quality of these training programs. Further, there should be a system wherein the progress monitoring is not just restricted to the period of training but also beyond the course period. We should continuously monitor the progress of the candidates who have undergone these trainings,” said Neeti Sharma, senior vice president, Learning Services at TeamLease.

In this regard, funds must be allocated for devising robust mechanisms which will help create an integrated learning environment which includes classroom education, practical training, online learning, apprenticeship and consistent evaluation of vocational skill training, she added.

Also with regard to employable resources, there is the pivotal need to bridge the demand and supply gap. Currently the availability of skilled resources does not directly align to the demand from the industry. This is both in terms of available skills sets and well as geographical positioning of the resources. A more improvised budget allocation will help address the gap and overcome these issues.

Today, keeping in mind the Make-in-India vision and India’s objective to create the workforce of the future, it is imperative that skilling is made more viable for all stakeholders. We expect the upcoming Union Budget to help achieve this objective by bring about changes in the tax structure as well. The government needs to exempt education and vocational skilling from GST. This will make the eco-system more conducive for all stakeholders, stated Sharma.