Well-balanced, pre-election budget: Biocon

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Bangalore, Feb 29 (UNI) Biocon Chairperson and Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw described the budget proposals presented today as a well-balanced and pre-election one.

In a release here, she said ''the overall macro economic indicators continue to show improvement and the Union Budget has clearly reinforced the strong image that India will attain on the world economic stage.'' The Rs 60,000 crore loan waiver to farmers was seen as an open-ended concern as the Minister had not clearly articulated how the exchequer proposed to fund this.

''The write off doesn't seem unreasonable in a trillion dollar economy. However, I think the Minister could have formulated a more innovative instrument to link this loan waiver with cooperative farming and technology upgradation. Merely writing off the debt has a clearly electioneering motive, whereas a more innovative loan waiver could have provided a true value add to agriculture.'' Stating that the healthcare sector was a major beneficiary, Ms Mazumdar-Shaw said India's emerging role as being the preferred destination for drug development, coupled with an increasing need to bring down drug prices, have been the key factors in this year's budget sops. The sops have come as a pleasant and welcome surprise and have more than met industry expectations.

An eight per cent reduction in export duties along with export duty exemption for indigenous Life Saving Drugs and five per cent Customs Duty reduction for imported LSDs would certainly reduce drug prices. This was a better way to address healthcare costs, rather than drug price control. The most important tax benefit announced for the sector was the 125 per cent weighted average tax deduction on outsourced R and D, which sent a strong signal of the potential that discovery research holds for the Indian Pharma and Biotech industry, she added.

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