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.

Aiswarya Sriram

Aiswarya Sriram is a budding multimedia journalist and is currently working for NewsMeter as a "Factcheck Freelancer". A graduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, Aiswarya has earlier worked with The Logical Indian and has interned with Republic TV. Aiswarya, a Tamilian who was born and brought up in Mumbai, loves to do rural reporting. She has visited Byadgi Taluk of Karnataka, to write about the issues faced by chilli factory workers there, earlier in 2019. A craft enthusiast, Aiswarya also does quilling, painting and glass work. On her off-days, she loves to read crime-thrillers and watch anime. She primarily reports on civic issues, GHMC, human-interesting features, and fact-checking video stories.

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