Image"Vision 2020" for the pharmaceutical industry, prepared by the department of pharmaceuticals, promises to create 5 lakh jobs within 4 years by making India "one of the top 5 global pharmaceutical innovation hubs".

This will involve an investment of Rs 5,000-10,000 crore, which includes substantial contribution from the private pharma industry under the public private partnership (PPP) model.

Chemicals and fertilisers minister Ram Vilas Paswan said the proposal was before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for approval.

"The present state of infrastructure and R&D of the pharma industry in the country is rather weak. We need to bolster it immediately. Once this proposal comes through, India will become a global pharma hub. Five of 10 drugs being discovered in the world will be in India. We will also ensure patenting of our own drugs," Paswan said.

Asked about the future of the newly-created department of pharmaceuticals after the elections, Paswan said, "The department has done significant work in making medicines available to the common man at affordable prices within 7 months of its creation. I am confident that whichever government comes will only promote and carry forward the good work done and the vision created by the department."

The department of pharmaceuticals was created on July 2, 2008, and given the task of creating a comprehensive pharma policy to make quality medicines available to the people. It launched a successful campaign of unbranded generic medicines being sold through `Jan Aushadhi' (24×7 people's drug stores) at affordable prices.

"There has been such an overwhelming response to the `Jan Aushadhi’ campaign that it will surpass the earlier targets of opening 40 such drug stores, by March end," Paswan said. He said Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan want `Jan Aushadhi' stores in all their districts. The `Jan Aushadhi' store opened in Shastri Bhavan last month too had received good response. He said that talks were on with the Delhi government to open similar stores in AIIMS and other government hospitals. Other states are also coming forward.