The much-awaited Rs 441-crore financial package to revive the ailing Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (IDPL) has been finalised and the government departments, involved in the process, are giving final fine-tuning to the package. The five-member GoM, constituted on June 1, 2007 under defence minister A K Antony to take a final call on the matter, is likely to meet later this month to give the green signal to the package.

"Different departments involved in the exercise have finalised the package and there is not much change in the Rs 441-crore package. The government is giving final touches to it and the GoM is to meet soon to give its nod", a senior official involved in the exercise said. Once the GoM gives its green signal, the package proposal will go to the Cabinet for approval. Since almost all the GoM members are also members of the Cabinet, the Cabinet's nod is just a formality, sources said.

IDPL is one of the four public sector pharma units in the country which was declared as sick way back in 1992 by the Board for Industrial & Financial Reconstruction (BIFR). The revival package was formulated and approved by BIFR in February 1994. The Board for Reconstruction of Public Sector Enterprises (BRPSE) recommended the present scheme for approval of the government.

The revival package was placed before the cabinet which considered the proposal at its meeting on May 17, 2007. As there was no consensus on the issue, it was referred to a Group of Ministers (GoM) for consideration. The GoM under AK Antony was constituted on June 1, 2007 and the first meeting was held on October 11, 2007.

An early clearance of the revival scheme is very important as it has the social obligation to manufacture and produce life-saving drugs at a reasonable price whereas the private companies have no such obligation to the general public. IDPL is also expected to play a key role in supplying drugs to the generic drug stores being launched in each district of the country to ensure drugs at affordable prices to the poor sections of the society.

The IDPL, incorporated in 1961, has three manufacturing plants, one each at Rishikesh (Uttaranchal), Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) and Gurgaon (Haryana). IDPL has two wholly-owned subsidiaries, namely, IDPL (Tamil Nadu) Limited and Bihar Drugs & Organic Chemicals Limited at Muzaffarpur (Bihar). In addition, IDPL has two joint sector undertakings, promoted in collaboration with the respective state governments. These are Rajasthan Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Limited (RDPL), Jaipur, and Orissa Drugs & Chemicals Limited (ODCL) Bhubaneshwar.