Centre to bring draft Bill for NBRA

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Bangalore, Apr 26 (UNI) The Centre will come out with a draft Bill in September this year under which the proposed National Biotechnology Regulatory Authority (NBRA) would function, S R Rao, Director, Department of Biotechnology said today.

Speaking at a panel discussion on NBRA at the mega BT event here, he said the draft would be open for discussions and comments once it was released.

Manufacturing and commercial production release of biotech products and import of Genetically Modified Organism's (GMO) would come under the purview of the NBRA Act, he said.

The industry's request of professionally managed system and a single window mode for all the issues would be taken care of in the Act, Dr Rao said.

Though the debate on this issue was going on for the past five years, things were now on fast track as the department had already initiated discussions with the Federal Drug Authority (FDA) of the US and Canadian authorities. The NBRA would be based on these two authorities, he added.

In the next few months, Department of Biotechnology would conduct at least six stakeholders' meetings in major cities of India, two industry meetings and internal regulatory meetings to finalise the draft, Dr Rao said.

He said the NBRA would take into account all the concerns of the industry and try to eliminate overlapping of the areas of other similar authorities in order to act as a true catalyst for the industry.

Dr Shrikumar Suryanarayana, Director General, ABLE, who moderated the panel discussion, welcomed the decision of the government regarding appointing an eminent personality of the industry as Chairperson of NBRA.

Dr K K Narayanan, Managing Director of Metahelix Life Sciences, said there were several branches under biotechnology. Constituting just three branches under NBRA would not be enough and there was a need for many other branches to be included such as agriculture and fisheries, he said.

The panelists and the delegates expressed concern over the opposition to Genetically Modified crops by the state governments of Kerala and West Bengal.

They suggested that what was good for India should be decided by pure scientific merits only, but not by the 'partisan' attitude.

There was a need for setting up of a think tank to give suggestions to NBRA on a continuous basis, they felt.

NBRA should facilitate companies with suggestions by acquiring international expertise on the best practices and enable Indian companies compete with their foreign counterparts, the panelists opined.

UNI RS RL KP1656

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