Bill to Enhance Status of 6 Institutes of Pharma Education, 1 in Guwahati

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These institutes are in Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Hajipur, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Raebareli.

 

New Delhi, Dec 9 (PTI): Parliament on Thursday passed a bill which seeks to accord institute of national importance status to six more institutions of pharmaceutical education and research, start new courses and also set up an advisory council for them.

The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2021, passed by the Lok Sabha on December 6, was cleared in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday with a voice vote.

Replying to a discussion on the Bill, Union Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said it will strengthen the National Institutes of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPERs) and give priority to research.

The Bill has come with four amendments which includes qualifying six NIPERs as institutes of national importance and introducing undergraduate and diploma courses, he said.

It seeks to amend the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research Act, 1998. Through the 1998 legislation, a NIPER was established in Mohali, Punjab. It was declared an institution of national importance.

With the passage of the Bill, six more institutes of pharmaceutical education and research will be declared institutions of national importance. These institutes are in Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Hajipur, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Raebareli.

The Bill also proposes to bring down the membership of the board of governors mandated to manage the affairs at each NIPER from the current 23 to 12.

Highlighting the main features of the amendment Bill, Mandaviya said, “There is one Mohali NIPER which was given national institute qualification. After this, six more NIPERs were set up. There was no clarification whether they are of national importance. To clarify this and give them national importance category is one of our amendments.”

The minister stressed on the need to strengthen research in the country.

“There should be patents in our country. If research takes place in our country, then patents will be in the country. When patents will be in the country, then we will be able to make high cost and patented drugs. Institutes like NIPER are playing an important role in such research,” Mandaviya said.

While introducing the Bill, the minister said the NIPERs would be governed on the lines of the IITs.

Participating in the discussion, Ram Gopal Yadav of the SP sought clarity on whether the national importance status would lead to the end of OBC and SC/ST reservation at the NIPERs. He sought the inclusion of one member each from OBC and ST/SC in the board.

NCP MP Fauzia Khan said there is a need to come out of the “copy-paste culture” and move to actual research.

“No NIPER has contributed to the vaccine development. If national institutes are coming one after the other, they should stick to the standards,” Khan said.

TDP MP Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar said his party is also supporting the Bill but the minister should accept the objections raised by various members during the discussion and amend it accordingly.

BSP MP Ramji demanded a position for people from SC, ST and OBC categories on the board of NIPER. He said India’s pharma industry still lags and till date, 70 per cent of the pharma industry is dependent on salt from China.

He also called for setting up of a regulator to control the prices of drugs to protect the interests of the poor in the country.

BJP MP Shwait Malik said India has been known to import medicines, but now the country is becoming self-reliant under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and that it will export medicines in coming days.

MPs Ramkumar Verma and Jugalsinh Mathurji Lokhandwala of the BJP were also among 21 Rajya Sabha members who participated in the discussion.

The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in March this year and referred, thereafter, to the Standing Committee on Chemicals and Fertilisers.

 

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