Indian Consulate holds virtual meet to attract foreign investors for PLI scheme, bulk drugs and medical devices parks

Government officials from Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh showcase opportunities and incentives for investors

With an aim to facilitate and attract foreign investors for the central government announced production linked scheme (PLI), three bulk drug and medical devices parks, the Indian Consulate organised a webinar on ‘India-US partnership: Healthcare and Medical Research”.

Highlighting the objective and the potential of the recently announced schemes, Dr PD Vaghela, Secretary of Department of Pharmaceuticals, explained the long term benefits of schemes. He informed that foreign investors could also avail the scheme benefits provided they register the firm in India. Besides this, a joint collaboration between foreign firms and Indian companies is also permissible.

During the virtual meeting, government officials from Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh presented an overview of the pharma sector and key offerings to the investors in their respective States.

Development potential in Himachal Pradesh

Ram Subhag Singh, Additional Chief Secretary, Himachal Pradesh, showcasing the benefits of the state, highlighted that power supply is a key element for the functioning of any industry and the state has a surplus of power supply. He also informed that there is flexibility in rate, which attracts the industry as it offers the lowest rate in the country. To build bulk drugs and medical device parks, the state has enabled the industrial ecosystem to provide single window clearance system with online approval, dedicated nodal officers for projects above $50 million, investment promotion cell for hand holding, self-certification to set up ventures with a turnover up to $ 35 million, as well online tracking and monitoring by the CM of the state.

In his presentation, Singh highlighted that Himachal Pradesh has Asia’s largest pharma hub and caters up to 38 per cent of Asia’s demand. Presently, 40 per cent of India’s total drug formulations are manufactured in the State. The State has 14 US FDA approved, 18 UK MHRA certified and 202 WHO-GMP pharma facilities. Besides, the state already has three active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) clusters, and the government has acquired approximately 3000 acres of land for setting up bulk drug and medical device parks. Considering the sizeable market for APIs and KSMs in the state, the government feels that it is an ideal proposition for bulk drug manufacturers to consider Himachal Pradesh as a destination for backward integration.

Growth opportunities in Gujarat 

Informing about the benefits that Gujarat has planned to offer investors, MK Das, Principal Secretary, Gujarat informed that the state has identified 1000 acres of land for setting up a bulk drug park in Bharuch district and GIDC has already initiated the development work. Along with the bulk drug park, the state is also planning to have a medical device park and has identified a 250-acre land for it in Rajkot.

Talking about the industry-friendly approach initiated by the state government, he mentioned that a few days back, the Gujarat State government has released a new industrial policy. The policy aims to encourage investments in the state and also revive the economy. In the newly released industrial policy, the government has introduced a new provision for land lease. According to it, the industries will be able to get government land for projects on a long term lease of up to 50 years, at six per cent of market share. Besides, the government is also offering tailored relocation incentives to industries, but they will be offered on a case-to-case basis.

He informed that Gujarat is also considered as home to MSMEs and according to the MSME Act 2019, the state government has exempted all MSMEs from obtaining approval for a period of three years, but to avail the benefits, companies need to start operations immediately.

Along with these, for new companies, the state also offers other incentives and it has reduced the base corporate fee from 25 per cent to 15 per cent, provided they start their operations by March 2023. Gujarat has Labour Law Ordinance 2020, and according to that, the State has issued an exemption for new companies from almost all labour laws in the State for a period of 1200 days.

During the presentation, Das mentioned that Gujarat is home to more than 120 US companies across various sectors. And the state’s idea is to attract foreign investors. We are the biggest manufacturers as well as exporters in the world, and the State Chief Minister has already instructed to go complete online for all activities. He also assured foreign investors that the state has a legacy of good entrepreneurs and it will also be extending all kinds of support to foreign investors to accelerate growth momentum.

He also mentioned that pharma and healthcare have been identified as core sectors in which Gujarat has a strong manufacturing base with the potential to accelerate further on a global scale. To encourage research and innovation activities in the state, the government is extending financial support of up to Rs 50 million to private companies/institutions for setting up R&D institutions/products.

Advantages in Andhra Pradesh

Highlighting the growth trajectory of Andhra Pradesh, R Karikal Valaven, Special Chief Secretary, Andhra Pradesh said that the Government of Andhra Pradesh has initiated a single-window clearance system which has benefited the industrial ecosystem. While touching upon the competitive advantage offered by the state government to industries, he stated that Andhra Pradesh has an abundance of land banks for industrial development. The APIIC has over 300 industrial parks in the state spread over 43,234 acres with the addition of 10 special economic zones. It has 30 skill development centres along with two skill universities.

While divulging details about the Andhra Pradesh industrial policy 2020-23 with key fiscal incentives for manufacturing industries, he informed that the state government has tailor-made incentives for investment proposals that promise to generate employment for more than 2000 people and offers flexibility for ultra-mega investment that have immense future benefits to the state. Besides this, the state is also providing other incentives like 100 per cent stamp duty reimbursement, power cost reimbursement of one rupee per KwH for five years, investment subsidy of 15 per cent to micro and small entities up to Rs 20 lakhs. For women entrepreneurs and minority communities, it is 35 per cent and up to Rs 50 lakhs.

He also mentioned that Andhra Pradesh Med Tech Zone (AMTZ) is India’s first integrated medical device manufacturing park, set up on 270 acres of land, which is divided into phases. The aim is to flourish as a hub for medical devices manufacturing, putting India on the global map for high-end medical equipment production and make healthcare products affordable as well as accessible. He also highlighted the areas of collaboration the medical device parks can offer and informed that for the proposed bulk drug park/ API park, the government has identified land in Kurnool, Nellore and Prakasam districts to accommodate 300 new units.

India-US stakeholder experiences

Besides government officials from the above-mentioned states, industry stakeholders like Sanjay Gupta, CEO, Torrent Pharma US; S Sridhar, Managing Director, Pfizer India; Jaswinder Matharu, Board of Director, Cadila Pharmaceuticals; Ravindra Pal Singh Dang, Managing Director, Baxter India and Mike Mehta, President and CEO, Phoenix Healthcare Solutions also shared their business experiences.

Sridhar said that earlier global pharma markets were considered as hubs for innovation. Now, innovation activities are also getting translated into the Indian market. However, he also suggested a few areas which need considerable attention from the government such as fast track regulatory approvals, newer approaches in pricing policy, reforms in healthcare policy etc.

Gupta touched upon the challenges the company faced in India related to the US’ regulatory requirements and spoke on the efforts needed to adhere with compliances. He also mentioned that the company is optimistic about the opportunities that exist in the US.

Dang showcased the company’s engagement activities with the stakeholders across the healthcare sector. He also highlighted that Baxter India is engaged with the government and industry bodies to support and shape conversations at policy and regulation levels.

Matharu gave an overview of Cadila Pharma and its collaborations with firms in carrying out research activities.

Mehta commented that Phoenix Healthcare Solutions has a positive experience of investing in India, which includes obtaining educated, English-speaking workforce, accessing a large existing domestic market while providing the US clients diversification from dependence upon one country. He further stated that over the years, the supply chain is gradually developing to meet growing demand and helping to grow India-US partnership. He also informed that the company is planning to set up its second manufacturing site in India.

Andhra PradeshBaxter Indiabulk drugCadila PharmaceuticalsGujaratHimachal PradeshMedical Devices parksMK DasPfizer Indiapharma investment FDIPhoenix Healthcare SolutionsPLI schemeR Karikal ValavenRam Subhag SinghTorrent Pharma
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