When the COVID-19 Pandemic started gripping the entire world, Prime Minister Modi came up with a unique initiative- Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India). The purpose of the move is to reduce vulnerabilities on external sources amidst ruptured supply chains. The main target of the move was to, of course, decouple from China.
Now, around two years later, India has managed a major breakthrough- self-reliance in active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).
Manufacturing of 35 APIs to start in India
On Tuesday, Union minister Mansukh Mandaviya disclosed that manufacturing of 35 active pharmaceutical ingredients has started in India. Till now, the country used to import these 35 APIs and it was more or less dependent on China for it.
The Minister said, “The 35 APIs are being manufactured from 32 different manufacturing plants. This will give a boost to AatmaNirbhar Bharat.”
The Minister also said that the move will help India reduce import dependence in the key sector.
How PLI is strengthening India’s hold in the pharma sector
Mandaviya said that the pharmaceuticals sector had given a good response to the PLI scheme. There are a total of 53 APIs and the production of the rest of the 18 APIs is also expected to commence in India in due course of time.
The 15,000 crore PLI scheme for the pharmaceuticals sector was announced last year. The stated objective of the move is “to create global champions out of India who have the potential to grow in size and scale using cutting edge technology and thereby penetrate the global value chains”.
55 companies with some big names Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Aurobindo Pharma, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Lupin, Mylan Laboratories, Cipla and Cadila Healthcare, qualified for incentives under the scheme.
The incentives will be paid for a maximum duration of six years to the qualified companies.
How self-Reliance in APIs boosts India’s position in the pharma sector
India is the king of the pharmaceuticals sector. Its pharmaceuticals industry has been booming for the past several years. However, the import dependence of APIs has been a cause of concern for the country.
India has a 90 per cent import dependence for APIs that serve as raw materials in the sector. And to make matters worse, China is the biggest manufacturer and exporter of these APIs. Many Indian pharmaceutical manufacturers are dependent on Chinese companies for sourcing APIs.
Now, it was problematic for India in two ways. Firstly, China made huge export gains out of the Indian pharmaceutical sector based by supplying APIs to the country.
And secondly, India’s pharmaceutical companies became vulnerable. With China, we never knew when the CCP would snap the supply of APIs to India and kill the booming industry in the country. With deteriorating Sino-India ties and growing Chinese belligerence, there was an even bigger risk of APIs being weaponized by China.
India however has managed to escape the Chinese trap. This effectively helps India retain autonomy in the pharmaceutical sector. India’s message is thus loud and clear- it will no longer depend on China and will actively pull itself out of all Chinese traps. With self-Reliance in APIs, the Vishwaguru has managed to reaffirm its position as a global leader in pharmaceuticals.