Annoyed over the inordinate delay in implementing the Rs 560 crore pharmaceutical technology up gradation fund (PTUF), which has literally been lying idle with the government for a long time due to the bureaucratic delays, the small scale pharma units in the country have once again made a representation to the department of pharmaceuticals to implement the scheme without any delay.

A delegation of small pharma units met secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ashok Kumar to impress upon him the need to implement the scheme immediately. PTUF is an ambitious scheme of the union chemicals ministry aimed to provide financial assistance to small and medium drug manufacturing units for the technological upgradation of their manufacturing facilities in compliance with the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).

The scheme was almost finalised by the chemicals ministry late last year, but the Planning Commission took objection to the scheme at the eleventh hour. Taking objection to the scheme, the Planning Commission asked the chemicals ministry to revive the Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme (CLCSS) instead.

The Planning Commission's objection to the PTUF scheme was on the plea that since there is already a scheme CLCSS, launched by the Ministry of Small Scale Industries for the technology upgradation of small and medium industries, there is no need to launch another scheme for the same purpose. The CLCSS scheme was discontinued by the Planning Commission from the current financial year due to lack of proper response from the industry.

But, the industry is of the opinion that the PTUF scheme is a much better scheme than the CLCSS. There were few takers for the CLCSS scheme due to several complicated procedures which the SSI units found it difficult to follow. The chemicals ministry mooted the PTUF scheme after the industry's poor response to the CLCSS scheme.

The PTUF scheme was launched by the government for the benefit of thousands of pharma SSI units spread across the country. The objective of the scheme is to assist the SSI units in technological upgradation of their manufacturing facility in compliance with the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) as per standards fixed by Union health ministry in Schedule M of Drugs and Cosmetics Rule, 1945. Under the scheme, which has been lying idle for quite some time, the government proposes to reimburse 5 per cent point interest on the loans taken from the banks or financial institutions.

Thousands of small drug manufacturers in the country are eagerly looking forward to the launch of the scheme to upgrade their facilities to meet the Schedule M norms. Thousands of small drug manufacturers have already closed down their units after the introduction of Schedule M due to financial difficulties.