• 15 February 2013
  • Features
  • By Manasi

What do industry experts say about 12th Plan outlay?

Read what some of the experts in biotech industry have to say about the country’s expenditure plans in the 12th Five Year Plan period


Clockwise from top L-R: Dr Krishna Ella, CMD, Bharat Biotech, member of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Prime Minister of India; Dr PM Murali, president, ABLE; and Mr KV Balasubramaniam, MD, Indian Immunologicals

The plan to double the public and private R&D expenditure in the 12th Five Year Plan period is a move in the right direction to sustain the tremendous momentum achieved in the past decade in various fields of science and technology. The science agencies have been in the forefront of promoting scientific excellence through proactive policies and reforms for achieving the desired positive impact on the society.

Modifications that can be addressed as we go forward:

Without doubt it is a visionary and aspirational document; however, the plans outlined by the funding agencies which are by and large a continuum of their ongoing mission to promote science and technology in the country with modifications going forward will make it formidable.

  • —There is a need to address issues such as how to attract, retain and enhance teaching capabilities in the universities, where majority of the scientific talent is going to come from.
  • —There is a need to correct regional imbalances by incorporating proposal to open new centers of higher education and national institutions in new regions where the local educational institutions can draw benefits in addition to the existing knowledge clusters.
  • —We need schemes to recognize scientific talent in private R&D, considering private R&Ds are in the forefront of innovation; scientists in private R&D are not credited by anyone for their fundamental work unlike their academic counterparts.
  • —There is redundancy in the new institutions proposed by the different public agencies; this needs to be closely studied before new institutions are set up.
  • —A monitoring and assessment mechanism on how the deliverables expected from the different institutions outlined in the proposed grand schemes needs to be included.
  • —The Regulatory authority (a single entity) should have permanent staff scientists of various disciplines (similar to that of USFDA and EMEA) dedicated to providing constructive criticisms, feedback and inputs for rapid regulatory clearances of the industry driven projects; temporary members nominated from the academic institutions into various regulatory committees are short on knowledge, commitment and further aggravate the bureaucratic processes required for clearances.
  • A separate road plan and visionary statement is mandatory for the vaccine industry that is plagued by the lack of incentivisation, sustain business through tender-based institutional sales, not a single agency has outlined a plan for the vaccine industry to offset competition in unregulated markets as well as to counter competition from MNCs.

Even though there are certain intrinsic problems, programs like INSPIRE (DST), BIRAP (DBT) and Public Private Partnership Policy initiation of Scientific Advisory Committee of Union Cabinet (Dr Chidambaram) are definitely forward thinking in our Scientific Policy Decision during this five years.

- Dr Krishna Ella, chairman and managing director, Bharat Biotech, member of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Prime Minister of India

ABLE is pleased to note that the emphasis on developing the S&T skills of India are being taken seriously and that the proposed 12th Five Year Plan outlay for DST, DBT and DSIR is expected to increase by 150 percent to approximately Rs 52,000 crore from the Rs 20,500 crore spent in the 11th Plan. Most of the initiatives of the three departments are well thought off and if all goes as per that it will certainly lead to a significant improvement in the Innovation index of India. In the last Plan, approximately Rs 6,000 crore of the total outlay of Rs 26,400 crore has been shown as underutilized and ABLE hopes that in the current Plan, the entire sum of Rs 52,000 crore is utilized.

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