Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science and Technology and Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences Jitendra Singh said India has a target of $300 billion in bioeconomy by 2030.
Bioeconomy is the production, utilization, and conservation of biological resources, including related knowledge, science, technology, and innovation, to provide information, products, processes, and services across all economic sectors.
In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, minister Singh said India registered a sustained growth in bioeconomy from $44 billion in 2019 to 80.1 billion in 2021.
The Indian biotech industry is aligned around five major segments — BioPharma, BioAgriculture, BioIndustrial, Bio-energy and a combined segment of BioServices comprising of BioIT, CROs, and Research Services. Bioeconomy is seen as a means to address societal challenges.
For example, the use of bio-mass or renewable resources in energy production processes, use of green chemicals and materials, biofertilizers, and waste reduction may impact and have a cascading effect on carbon footprint, food and nutrition, health, energy independence, and environmental sustainability.
“New innovative solutions are expected from the biotech Industry, research institutes, and growing biotech startup ecosystem,” Singh said.
Earlier this month, the Bioeconomy will be key to India’s future economy over the next 25 years.
The Minister urged all the stakeholders of the Biotech sector, particularly Industry, Startup Ecosystem, Investors, Scientists, Scholars, Entrepreneurs, and enablers like DBT, BIRAC to collectively work to achieve the ambitious target.
The number of biotech Startups in the country has increased from 50 to over 5,300 in the last 10 years, because of the growing enabling ecosystem and prioritization provided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He hoped that Biotech startups arising from a strong talent pool are expected to further increase by 2 times, to 10,000 by 2025.
The minister had also launched a special Biotech Ignition Grant call for the northeast Region (BIG-NER) and announced financial support of up to Rs 50 Lakhs each to 25 startups and entrepreneurs from North East Region to develop biotech solutions. He said India’s northeast has huge potential and talent to take forward the Biotech sector and asked the Ministry to reach out to them.
Walls separating the schemes would also restrain a scheme to borrow for temporary fund requirement by pledging the assets of another scheme. Other than category-3 AIFs such as local hedge funds which are allowed to leverage, regular PE and VC funds have stringent restrictions on borrowing. For instance, they can’t borrow for more than 30 days, and a maximum of four times a year.
“Most of the credible fund jurisdictions, including India-based IFSC, recognise ring-fencing. While Sebi permits umbrella trust structures that launch multiple schemes, lack of legally recognised ring-fencing dissuades institutional investors to participate in a multi-fund format structures,” said Richie Sancheti, founder of law firm Richie Sancheti Associates.
At the meeting, the AIF body once again asked Sebi to allow them to invest more in overseas companies as most funds have reached their limits. An AIF can invest up to 25% of its corpus in overseas unlisted securities. Also, the combined overseas investment by the AIF industry cannot exceed $1.5 billion against $750 million a year ago. But with the rupee under pressure, the industry is unsure whether RBI would approve more outbound investment at this point.
With AIFs becoming a preferred avenue for many local and overseas investors — with over 900 AIFs registered with Sebi — the regulator is keeping a close watch on the sector. A year ago, the Sebi had said that AIFs must have independent trustees having no connection with the sponsor and managers of the funds. It had also collected information on HNI and institutional investors entering into ‘co-investment’ agreements with fund managers over and above contributing to the blind pools of AIFs.