Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya speaks in the Lok Sabha during ongoing winter session of parliament, in New Delhi, Monday, December 6
The Lok Sabha on Monday passed a bill that seeks to accord institute of national importance status to six more institutes of pharmaceutical education and research, start new courses and also set up an advisory council for them. Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said all seven National Institutes of Pharmaceutical Education and Research will have the same enhanced status after Parliament gives its nod to the bill and new NIPERs will also automatically enjoy similar provisions.
In his reply, Mandaviya also countered opposition members' criticism of the government over a variety of health-related issues, and said the Modi dispensation has prioritised health sector as it cannot be ignored if development has to take place. He said over 20 crore Covid vaccine doses are available in states and hit out at opposition members for allegedly causing hesitancy towards vaccines initially by using terms like "Modi vaccine" and "BJP vaccine".
On the one hand, they criticised vaccine exports and on the other, they mocked vaccines and rumours were spread about the drive, he said, adding that vaccines come with a shelf life. He said two more Indian vaccines could be in use soon if their third phase trial data, under study now, is approved.
Mandaviya said while India manufactured various vaccines in large quantities and supplied them to the world, it used to lack in research. The Modi government constantly encouraged pharma companies and simplified process for them, resulting in an Indian firm developing a Covid vaccine in nine months, he said. The government had come out with the concept of pharma parks to boost production of APIs (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) and given incentives to boost the sector, he said.
The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was introduced in the Lok Sabha in March this year and referred, thereafter, to the Standing Committee on Chemicals and Fertilisers. It seeks to amend the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research Act, 1998, which established the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), at Mohali in Punjab and declared it as an Institution of National Importance.
With the amendment, six more institutes of pharmaceutical education and research will be declared as Institutions of National Importance. These institutes are in Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Hajipur, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Raebareli. It also proposes to bring down the membership of the board of governors mandated to manage the institute's affairs of each NIPER from the current 23 to 12 members.