Hyderabad: The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has suffered a financial loss of Rs. 100 crores as 13 companies have defaulted, the Union minister for science and technology and earth sciences, Harsh Vardhan, said on 10 February in a response to a question in the Lok Sabha.
Under the New Millenium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI), CSIR lends money to bio-technology firms to develop new innovations. The scheme was launched to build the largest public-private partnership within the country’s research and development domain. So far, NMITLI has funded projects in areas like plant bio-technology, general biotechnology, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and energy. A project is selected on the basis of the “novelty of the proposal, potential technological benefits, and ability of industries to capture those benefits”.
A company called Frontier Information Technology from Secunderabad took a loan from CSIR to develop a versatile, portable PC-based software for bioinformatics. The company, however, failed and now is unable to repay the loan of Rs 10.69 lakhs. Samtel, a company in Ghaziabad, is the biggest defaulter with an amount of Rs 2,038 lakhs.
It wanted to build a next-generation plasma display technology. Next on the list is Clutch Auto Limited from Faridabad with a total outstanding due of Rs. 1,483.50 lakhs. Interestingly, five of the 13 companies are from Bangalore, considered one of the fastest-growing cities for biotechnological firms.
As more and more companies were defaulting, CSIR has started hiring chartered accountants to evaluate the financial health of a company before giving them a loan.