The government has decided to set up four national institutes of pharmaceutical education and research (NIPER) to offer masters and doctoral degrees in specialized areas connected with cutting-edge technologies to serve a booming healthcare industry that is facing a severe shortage of human resources.
The new NIPERs will come up at Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Hajipur (Bihar) and Kolkata and would produce about 1000 post-graduate and doctoral graduates every year, according to government sources.
Currently, there is only one central government-run Niper, at Mohali in Punjab, from which about 150 post-graduates pass out every year.
“Industry has indicated that there is a minimum annual requirement of 1,000 high trained manpower per annum from Niper against the current level of 150," said a source in the department of chemicals, who did not wish to be identified.
The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, which would be seeking cabinet approval to set up these institutes, feels that most of the courses currently offered by various colleges and institutes do not address needs related to cutting-edge technologies.
Currently, about 5,000 students graduate every year in pharmaceutical courses from 110 colleges in the country.
“Post-graduate students coming out of these colleges do not match the expectations of the pharmaceutical industry. Compared to these institutes, NIPER is equipped to provide training in 14 disciplines with state-of-the-art infrastructure," a source said.
The National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC) has recommended the setting up of additional NIPERs in other parts of the country. The Planning Commission’s working group on drugs and pharmaceuticals has also recommended the setting up of at least five NIPERs during the 11th Five-Year Plan (2007-2012).
The sources said that locations for new Nipers have been selected based on various factors including preponderance of the pharmaceutical industry, availability of infrastructure and readiness of the state governments to provide the necessary infrastructure.
Annual production of pharmaceuticals in India is valued at Rs 55,000 crore and according to an industry research report by ORG-IMS, it grew by 17 per cent last year.
Globally, the industry ranks fourth in terms of volume and 13th in terms of value.