The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill 2021, which amends the 1998 law to provide for a Council to coordinate activities among the institutes and also ensure development of pharmaceutical education and research standards.
Replying to the debate, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that a total 24 members participated and everyone gave good suggestions.
He also said that today there are 8,500 stores, and more than 600 types of medicines and 56 medical equipment are being sold in them.
Responding to the query by Leader of Congress Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and other members who raised the matter of India’s dependence for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (APIs) on other nations, Mandaviya also said that the government released a Rs 14,000-crore PLI-1 scheme for the manufacturing of 51 APIs.
He also said that the government has decided to make four Pharma parks with the investment of Rs 1,000 crore each for API manufacturing units.
On the amendments, Mandaviya said the National Council will act as the advisory panel for the Boards of Governors of all NIPERs.
Replying to some members who raised the point that the government erased the representation of SC and ST members in the Boards of Governors, he said that this was not true, but since the government has reduced the number of Board members for each institute from 23 to 12, therefore,the SC and ST members will be moved to the Council.
Earlier, participating in the debate, BJP’s Anurag Sharma that all the NIPERs should take up higher research in ayurveda to promote indigenous system of medicines while Congress member Mohammad Javed mentioned that the condition of the NIPER in Hajipur is extremely bad and it does not have even a permanent campus to operate from.
CPI’s M. Selvaraj said it was sad that most of the NIPERs have been functioning without proper infrastructure, including a permanent campus, while Revolutionary Socialist Party’s N.K. Premchandran said that he would support the Bill for declaring six more NIPERs as institutes of national importance if the Health Minister also declared the Government College of Pharmacy in Thiruvananthapuram as an institute of national importance.
BJP’s Sunita Duggal asked the government to keep proper representation of women and SC/ST community members in the NIPERs and suggested that the NIPERs should also offer short-term courses to increase manpower.
Shiv Sena’s Shrikant Eknath Shinde said that the qualification and experience for the appointment of the Chairperson of the board of an NIPER should be laid down in the Bill clearly.
Chowdhury meanwhile said that India needs drug security. “We import 70 per cent of our bulk drug requirements, but we need to prepare for a situation in case China tries to harm us more,” he said.