Union minister of chemicals and fertilisers Ram Vilas Paswan assured the small scale pharmaceutical sector that extending support to them has been an on-going agenda of the present government and it would continue further.

He disclosed this after inaugurating the Small and Medium Pharmaceuticals Industry Centre (SMPIC) at National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Punjab on Monday.

The minister said that Indian pharmaceutical industry had touched the remarkable achievement of Rs 72,000 crore and the rates of Indian medicines were less enough compared to international market and more over the medicines were easily accessible to the poor people through the chain of various health centres of the country.

"Government has slashed the rates of more than 850 medicines with the help of public and private pharma companies in order to make it accessible to the common man of the country," he said. He added that the revival of Public Sector Undertakings was under process.

"Support to the small scale industries is also being initiated which is the on-going continuous agenda of the government. The SMPIC inaugurated at NIPER, Mohali is the outcome of same agenda. The SMPIC will provide training and instruments/equipment used in manufacturing of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and formulations, guidance on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)-and Good Laboratory Practices (GLP), documentation on various regulatory requirements and SOP's, to employees from small scale pharma industries," he said.

The Minister announced that NIPER students' stipend has been increased from Rs 5000.00 to Rs 8000.00. All the meritorious students of Masters and other programmes belonging to OBC category will also receive reimbursement of their tuition fee upto a certain limit. He said that Government would definitely look after the career prospects of the qualified and trained students graduating from NIPER.

The government would also look forward to financially assist the students in the establishment of their own industry in order to serve the nation. The government has established a Research Fund of Rs 50 crore for the enhancement of research and development activities that will provide 50 per cent of matching grant to financially assist the industry involved in research activities. The Central would establish Star Colleges to impart education along with the inception of Pharma Training Centre at Punjab for its students, he said.

At the function, Union Minister launched the exclusive website of SMPIC and released its information brochure. While speaking at the occasion, Prof Laxmi kant Chawla, Punjab minister of health, said that the State government was taking all necessary steps for the better implementation of the central health schemes in the state.

Pharmaceutical Department secretary Ashok Kumar said the government was determined to provide quality medicines at affordable prices to the people, especially to the poorer sections of the society.