Bill on pharma institutes gets Rajya Sabha nod

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The Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2021, that seeks to accord status of ‘institute of national importance’ to six more pharmaceutical institutions, besides setting up an advisory council for them.

The bill, which was cleared by the Lok Sabha on December 6, was passed in the Rajya Sabha with a voice vote. It was introduced in the Lower House in March this year and later referred to the Standing Committee on Chemicals and Fertilizers.

Speaking in the Upper House, Union health minister Mansuk Mandaviya said, “This bill has come with only four amendments. The first amendment is to give the status of national importance to all NIPERs (National Institutes of Pharmaceutical Education and Research).”

“There is a Mohali NIPER which was given national institute qualification. After this, six more NIPERs were set up. There was no clarification whether they are of national importance. To clarify this and give them a national importance category is one of the amendments,” he added.

An institution of national importance refers to an autonomous institute established under an Act, with the power to hold examinations, grant degrees, diplomas and other academic distinctions or titles. These institutes of national importance receive funding from the central government.

The six pharmaceutical education and research institutes which will be entitled to the status are located in Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Hajipur, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Raebareli.

Mandaviya also thanked pharmacists for their role in the world’s fight against Covid-19. “I thank 10 lakh pharmacists and workers, CEOs, MDs, chairmen who ensured medicine supply in India during the fight against Covid and supplied medicines to 150 nations,” he said.

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