PCC expresses concern over delay in New Pharmaceutical Policy

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New Delhi, May 7 (UNI) The Parliamentary Consultative Committee (PCC) attached to the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers today expressed concern over the delay in finalisation of Pharmaceutical Policy.

At the meeting here to discuss the Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region(PCPIR) policy, members urged the government to bring the essential drugs under price control.

They said, poor people suffering under high inflation are unable to purchase basic medicines and the early passage of the policy and its implementation will bring the much needed relief to the poor.

The members 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 has been working to stall the passage and the 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 which can soften prices in the market. Responding to the members, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers 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 PCPIR policy, the Minister said, the new policy is to give fillip to investment in the sector and expand employment opportunity. The new policy envisages provision of world class infrastructure over an area of about 250 sq km in each investment region where external linkages like airport, rail connectivity, national highways will be provided by the Central government while the internal linkages will be responsibility of the state government. 40 per cent of the area will be processing zone in each investment region.

The land acquisition has to be done by the developer and the existing habitations will not be disturbed, he said and added that 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. Km considering the peculiarities of 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 Mr Surendra Prakash Goyal (INC), Ms Jhansi Lakshmi Botcha (INC), Mr Ganesh Prasad Singh (RJD), Mr Chandrakant Bhaurao Khaire (SS), Mr P Chalapathi Rao (TDP), Mr Virjibhai Thummar (INC) and Mr Bagun Sumbrui (INC) and Members of Rajya Sabha Mr Tapan Kumar Sen (CPI-M), Mr Mahendra Sahani (JD-U) and Mr Kumar Deepak Das (AGP) were also present at the meeting.


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