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PLI scheme should lead India towards innovation: Amitabh Kant

NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Tuesday said the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, announced for 10 key sectors including pharma and medical devices manufacturing, should lead the country towards drug innovation.

At a virtual interactive session of BioAsia 2021, Kant said some studies have indicated that the earlier scheme of 200 percent tax incentive on research and development (R&D) activities has been “misused”.

“There has been good enthusiasm for these schemes,” he said. “We have received over 215 applications from about 83 manufacturers. I personally think that the PLI scheme should lead us to self-sufficiency in API (active pharmaceutical ingredient), but it should lead us for a big boost in innovative drug development.”

Telangana Minister for IT and Industries KT Rama Rao, who participated in the panel discussion, said moves such as reduction of 200 percent tax incentive to the present 100 percent would be counterproductive and discourage innovation such as drug discovery, especially the National Democratic Alliance government’s self-reliant India initiative.

“India is still known as a low-cost copycat destination,” Rama Rao said. “We don’t really enjoy it when it comes to IPR (intellectual property right) or innovative products etc… This manufacturing linked incentive- R&D subsidy, which has been reduced, this kind of works counterproductive to what we are trying to achieve when the hon’ble Prime Minister talks about self-reliant India.”

Kant said there has to be greater cooperation between industry and academia for innovation and discoveries.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson of Biocon; Swati Piramal, Vice-Chairperson of Piramal Group; Nilesh Gupta, Managing Director of Lupin Ltd; and Sriram Shrinivasan, India Life Sciences Leader at EY, also participated in the panel discussion.

The government on Wednesday also approved a PLI scheme for laptops, tablets, all-in-one personal computers (PC), and servers, as it looked to woo global players to tap India’s manufacturing capabilities.

The approval of PLI scheme for these hi-tech information technology (IT) hardware gadgets comes after the Cabinet last week cleared a Rs 12,195-crore scheme for telecom equipment manufacturing.

Briefing reporters after a Cabinet meeting, Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Cabinet cleared the Rs 7,350-crore PLI scheme for IT hardware that would cover laptops, tablets, all-in-one PCs, and servers.

The scheme would position India as a manufacturing hub, spur exports, and create new jobs opportunities, Prasad added.

Incentives worth Rs 7,350 crore will be provided over four years for manufacturing of these products in India. Production worth Rs 3.26 lakh crore and exports worth Rs 2.45 lakh crore are estimated over the four-year timeline.

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