Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya revealed that India has successfully initiated the manufacturing of pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for 38 active components in the last one and a half years under the production. This move was prompted by the 2017 border standoff with China at Doklam, which made India rethink its self-reliant strategy due to heavy reliance on a single country for 95% of API imports for the formulation industry.

The PLI scheme aimed to reduce the country’s dependence on 54 APIs imported from abroad and promote domestic API production. The government allocated a Rs 15,000-crore PLI scheme for the pharmaceutical sector to boost local production and foster an “Atmanirbhar Bharat” (self-reliant India) initiative. The Health Minister shared this information at the Healthcare Summit held at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA).

The Minister of Health and Family Welfare and Chemicals and Fertilizers stated that the government’s primary goal is to enhance healthcare accessibility and affordability in rural areas. They are addressing the issue of insufficient doctors by increasing the number of MBBS seats from 52,000 to 1,07,000 over the past nine years. Additionally, 54 new medical colleges have been approved this year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the government to rethink and redevelop the healthcare sector. The minister acknowledged that India possesses abundant brainpower and manpower, but the focus is now on understanding the aspirations of the youth, creating opportunities, and supporting their fulfillment.

Highlighting the significance of research and innovation (R&D), the minister emphasized that it is crucial for achieving self-reliance. Lack of innovation and research can hamper self-sufficiency, leading to the need for purchasing items at higher costs. To foster R&D in the country, the government is encouraging private domestic pharma companies to increase their spending in this area.

The recent summit, organized by IIMA’s Centre of Management of Health Services and IIMA Healthcare Alumni Special Interest Group, focused on healthcare innovation. The event featured two tracks, including panel discussions and a competition for healthcare start-ups, aiming to promote advancements in the healthcare industry.

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