PHARMACEUTICAL EDUCATION BILL

Introduction:

The Rajya Sabha recently passed the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and

Research (NIPER) Amendment Bill, 2021.The bill seeks to amend the National Institute of

Pharmaceutical Education and Research Act, 1998 which established the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research at Mohali in Punjab and declared it an institution of national importance.

Salient Features of the Bill:

1. Status of Institute of National Importance: The status of ‘institute of national importance’ is sought to accord six more institutes of pharmaceutical education and research institutes – NIPERs – situated in Ahmedabad, Hajipur, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Guwahati and Raebareli through this bill.

2. Establishment of Advisory council: The Bill provides for a Council to coordinate the activities of all the institutes and to ensure coordinated development of pharmaceutical education and research and maintenance of standards the council shall be a central body and their functions would include:

• Formulating policies for recruitment, advising on matters related to course duration, examining and approving development plans of the institutes, examining annual budget estimates of the institutes for recommendations to the central government for allocation of funds.

3. Composition of the Council: The composition of the Council shall include: the in charge Minister of the Ministry or department of the central government having administrative control of pharmaceuticals (ex officio), as the Chairperson, the Minister of State of the Ministry or department of the central government who has administrative control of the pharmaceuticals (ex officio), as the Vice-Chairperson, Each Board of Governors Chairperson (ex officio), every institute director(ex officio),

All India Council for Technical Education (ex officio) chairperson, the Director General, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Director General(ex officio), and three Members of Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha). Till he holds the office by virtue of which he is a member the term of office of an ex officio member will continue whereas other members of the Council will have a term of three years in office.

4. Rationalizes the Board of Governors: The Board of Governors of each NIPER from its existing strength of 23 to 12 members is being rationalises by the bill and widens the scope and number of courses run by the institutes is widened.

• Board of Governors: A Board of Governors was constituted by the Act for control and management of the institute’s affairs. The Act specifies 23 members in the Board including are being specified in the Act which shall include an eminent academician or professional as Chairperson, the institute’s Director (ex officio), two pharmaceutical industrialists, and three Members of Parliament.

Significance:

• The NIPERs would be governed on the lines of the IITs.

• The nation can produce high-cost pharmaceuticals as the NIPERs will help in research that could bring more patents for India.

Issues with the Bill:

• In the apex council of the NIPERs the State governments along with Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989 (SC/ST Act), OBC and women have not been included.

• Other issues which are raised are autonomy and over-centralisation of power.

• With regard to financial, administrative and managerial matters of these institutes it has been said that the proposed council has been empowered with excessive powers, which has to be looked into very carefully.

• The institutes’ autonomy is potentially compromised by the bill as the council will mostly be composed of central government bureaucrats and some MPs, wherein it may take decisions that may not be in a particular institute’s best interest.

National Institutes of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPERs)

Under the aegis of the Department of Pharmaceutical, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers they are the institutes of national importance. An Institution of National Importance is an autonomous body/institute with the power to hold examinations and grant educational certificates/degrees who get their funding from the central government.

To provide leadership in pharmaceutical sciences and related areas not only within the country, but also to the countries in South East Asia, South Asia and Africa the Institute is conceived. In India, NIPER, Mohali is a member of Association of Indian Universities and

Association of Commonwealth Universities. Formed in 1925 as Inter-University Board (IUB), Association of Indian Universities (AIU), is an association of all universities in India.

It is actively engaged in the growth and development of higher education.

As an international organisation, the Association of Commonwealth Universities is dedicated to building a better world through higher education in over 50 countries across the Commonwealth.



This article is written by Ruel Correia of Amity University.

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