Centre may remove minimum investment norms to boost bulk drug PLI plan roll-out1 min read . Updated: 28 Oct 2020, 07:21 AM IST
- The scheme aims to cut Indian drugmakers’ dependence on China for key raw materials
The government is considering removing the minimum investment norms laid down for eligibility for its production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for drug ingredients and medical device makers after several companies complained they are too restrictive, three people aware of the development said.
“The government is actively considering liberalizing the PLI schemes in terms of no minimum limit of investment. That limit is going to go away after feedback from industry," said one of the three people.
A second person said the department of pharmaceuticals (DoP), the implementing body for the scheme, will update the rules within a week.
The government is also considering extending the application deadline for availing the benefits of the scheme because of the proposed changes, the second person added. The current deadline is 23 November.
The changes were discussed last week at a meeting of an empowered committee that includes NITI Aayog chief executive Amitabh Kant, and officials from DoP and other government departments.
“If this is true, it will attract greater participation from bulk drug and medical device makers so that India can be self-sufficient in these products," said Dinesh Dua, chairman of the Pharmaceutical Export Promotion Council.
Minimum investment limits for being eligible to avail incentives under the scheme were one of the major concerns raised by firms that wanted to apply. The PLI scheme aims to cut Indian drugmakers’ dependence on China for key raw materials.
The government had set a minimum investment limit of ₹400 crore to avail benefits for setting up a unit to manufacture four fermentation-based bulk drugs, including Penicillin G and erythromycin thiocyanate. It had also set investment limits of ₹20-50 crore to avail benefits for setting up manufacturing units of 37 other bulk drugs.
For medical device plants, the investment limit was set at ₹180 crore over a three-year period.
The two schemes are key to the government’s plans to reduce dependence on imports of bulk drugs and medical devices. Given the border row, becoming self-sufficient is of vital importance for Indian drug makers that are dependent on the Chinese.