for Ministry of Health and Family Welfare | Date - 08-12-2003

An Inter-active Session of Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals with Industry Association/Representatives of Chemical, Petrochemical and Pharmaceutical Sector was held here today. Government and representatives of Chemical Industry deliberated upon vital issues/problems concerning the Industry, viz., competitiveness, modernization, infrastructure exports, petrochemical policy and Mega Chemical Industrial Estate. In his message, which was read over in the Conference, Shri Dhindsa said that several initiatives have been undertaken to promote the growth of the Chemical Industry. The Department has recently received a report of the Task Force on Petrochemicals. A high-powered group of experts has studied the various facets of the Petrochemicals Industry, major policy issues and has made recommendations for enhancing competitiveness and growth of this sector. Based on this report, the Department is now engaged in the formulation of a National Policy on Petrochemicals.

Summing up the discussions, Secretary Chemicals & Petrochemicals Shri Vinay Kohli stressed upon the growing need for knowledge-partnerships between the Industry and the Government research/academic institutions. The three autonomous institutions, viz., National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education & Research (NIPER), Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology (CIPET) and institute of Pesticides Formulation Technology (IPFT) functioning under the aegis of Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals, need to be reoriented to collaborate actively with the Industry in areas of research and training. The Industry also needs to partnership more actively with these organizations. Shri Kohli also stressed upon the need for more capital, specially, foreign direct investment for modernization as well as strengthening of R & D efforts in this sector. Regarding the Free Trade Agreement, Shri Kohli stated that although initially these measures may appear to have an adverse impact but in the long run the industry stands to benefit through increased competitiveness and access to larger markets.

Representatives of Chemical Association, highlighted various issues related to their sector. Serious concern was expressed about Free Trade Agreement with Singapore and the REACH proposal of the European Union. High cost of energy, Labour Law Reforms, severe punishment for sale and manufacture of spurious drugs, priority sector lending for R & D were the other issues raised by the Chemicals Sector representatives.

The investment in the Chemical Sector are hampered due to lack of state-of-the-art infrastructure. The initiative taken by the Department for setting up an integrated Mega Chemical Industrial Estates was welcomed by the Industry. This concept envisages setting up of world-class infrastructure facilities which would result in synergy in operations and would tremendously improve the cost competitiveness of Indian products in the world market.

Representatives of Petrochemicals Sector stressed that a transparent pricing mechanism for natural gas should be evolved to take care of interests of producers and consumers. It was also suggested that synthetic fibres should be included under the Technology Upgradation Fund.

The Group also discussed the emerging scenario in the Pharmaceutical Sector in view of the impending product patent regime. Upgradation of IPR infrastructure, strengthening of Drug Regulatory infrastructure, R & D requirements for the Industry and Data Exclusivity were some of the important issued discussed.

The representative of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare informed that based on the recommendations of the Mashelkar Committee Report, their Department has initiated for study to assess the magnitude of the problem of spurious drugs. It was also informed that a Capacity Building Project for strengthening the Drug Regulatory Regime both in the Centre and the States is underway.

(Release ID :47)

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