Parliamentary Consultative Committee of Chemicals and Fertilizers Ministry expresses concern over the delay in finalization of New Pharmaceutical Policy

The Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has expressed concern over the delay in finalization of the Pharmaceutical Policy.

Committee Members urged the government to bring the essential drugs under price control, as poor people suffering under high inflation are unable to purchase basic medicines. The committee requested the early passage of the policy and its implementation will bring the much-needed relief to the poor.

They also reminded the government that making drugs available at affordable prices is part of the commitment of the UPA government. They expressed apprehension that a lobby is working to stall the passage and government should find ways to get it passed at the earliest.

The new Pharmaceutical Policy was referred to the Group of Ministers, which has so far held four meetings. A list of 354 drugs prepared by the Ministry of Health, considered as essential drugs will be brought under the price control regime once the policy is approved. Members of the Consultative Committee also urged the government to increase production at the Public Sector undertakings under its control that can soften prices in the market. Responding to the members, the Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Shri Ram Vilas Paswan said, the government has already revived Hindustan Antibiotics, Hindustan Insecticide, BCPL and HOCL while revival of IDPL is under the active consideration of the GOM.

On the  Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) policy the Minister said, the new policy to give fillip to investment in the sector and expand employment opportunity. The new policy envisages provision of excellent infrastructure over an area of about 250 Sq kms in each investment region where the external linkages like airport, rail connectivity, and the central government will provide national highways while the internal linkages will be the responsibility of the state government. 40% of the area will be the processing zone in each investment region. Shri Paswan said, land acquisition has to be done by the developer and the existing habitations will not be disturbed. He said, so far six proposals have been received – one each from Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal, Karnataka, Orissa and Tamil Nadu.

Members of the committee suggested flexibility on the requirement of 250 Sq. Kms considering the peculiarities of the local conditions. They also urged the government to exercise utmost care on the issue of land acquisition and subsequent relief and rehabilitation measures. Some members were of the opinion that since the investment regions are to come up near ports, environment and pollution control norms should be strictly enforced.

Members of Lok Sabha present were Shri Surendra Prakash Goyal (INC), Smt. Jhansi Lakshmi Botcha (INC), Shri Ganesh Prasad Singh (RJD), Shri Chandrakant Bhaurao Khaire (SS), Shri P. Chalapathi Rao (TDP), Shri Virjibhai Thummar (INC) and Shri Bagun Sumbrui (INC) and Members of Rajya Sabha Shri Tapan Kumar Sen (CPI-M), Shri Mahendra Sahani (JD-U) and Shri Kumar Deepak Das (AGP).