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Karnataka to revisit biotech policy to meet talent shortage

Posted on Feb 11 2014 | IANS

Bangalore, Feb 10 : Karnataka plans to revisit its millennium biotech policy to address the talent shortage in the industry and keeping in view the changing needs of the burgeoning sector, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said Monday.

"As our millennium biotech policy version 2 will be completing five years, we propose to revisit it this year with inputs from the vision group on biotechnology for version 3," he said at a trade event here.

The vision group is headed by Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.

Inaugurating the 14th edition of the 'India Bio 2014', the country's biggest biotech show, the chief minister said the government would set up more biotechnology finishing schools to overcome the talent shortage faced by the industry.

"Though there are 12 biotech finishing schools across the state, we need more such schools to meet the growing needs of the sector, as suggested by the monitoring and steering committees," Siddaramaiah told about 1,000 delegates participating in the three-day event.

The BT finishing school model of the state government has been appreciated by the central government, which has sanctioned fellowship of Rs.5,000 per student per month, and the scheme is valid for three years.

"We look forward to similar support from the central biotechnology department for other initiatives of the state," Siddaramaiah said.

Noting that the Indian biotech industry's revenue grew six fold to USD 6 billion in the past decade with 20-22 percent compounded growth rate, he said there were immense opportunities for the sector to grow further, citing the Association of Biotech-led Enterprises (ABLE) report, which projected the total revenue of the sector and healthcare to touch USD 100 billion by 2025.

To create an ecosystem for the sunrise sector, the state government is developing a biotech park Helix here, while Alexandria Real Estates is developing a knowledge park, which is expected to become operational in the next two years.

"We are also setting up a world class incubation centre and common instrumentation facility with financial support from the central government," Siddaramaiah said.

About 26 percent of the biotech revenues of the country, particularly in terms of exports, are generated by the industry in Karnataka.

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