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Biotech industry has a new patron

, by Down to earth

Department of Biotechnology is playing venture capitalist to private companies to push biotech research in agriculture.

WHY would a company with a turnover of Rs 9,712 crore and profits of Rs 933 crore want a research loan of less than Rs 10 crore from the government? Ask the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), which has become venture capitalist to well-heeled industry. In a novel scheme that turns several concepts on its head, DBT is providing half the project costs, loans at giveaway rates and hand-holding to boot—all to encourage cutting-edge research in agriculture, healthcare and energy. It is also throwing open the expertise of the public sector organisations to companies, some of whom are acknowledged leaders in their field.

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