- The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was introduced in Lok Sabha on March 15, 2021. It seeks to amend the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research Act, 1998. The 1998 Act established the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research, Punjab and declared it as an Institution of National Importance. An Institution of National Importance refers to an autonomous institute established under an Act, with the power to hold examinations, grant degrees, diplomas and other academic distinctions or titles. These institutes of national importance receive funding from the central government. Key amendments in the Bill include:
- New institutions of national importance: The Bill declares six additional National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research as Institutions of National Importance. These institutes are located in: (i) Ahmedabad, (ii) Hajipur, (iii) Hyderabad, (iv) Kolkata, (v) Guwahati, and (vi) Raebareli.
- Establishment of the Council: The Bill provides for a Council to coordinate the activities among the institutes under the Bill to ensure development of pharmaceutical education and research and maintenance of standards. Functions of the Council include: (i) advising on matters related to course duration, and admission standards in the institutes, (ii) formulating policies for recruitment, conditions of service, and fees, (iii) examining and approving development plans of the institutes, and (iv) examining annual budget estimates of the institutes for recommendations to the central government for allocation of funds.
- Composition of the Council: The Council will include: (i) the Minister in charge of the Ministry or department of the central government having administrative control of pharmaceuticals (ex officio), as the Chairperson, (ii) the Minister of State of the Ministry or department of the central government having administrative control of the pharmaceuticals (ex officio), as the Vice-Chairperson, (iii) the Chairperson of each Board of Governors (ex officio), (iv) the Director of every institute (ex officio), (v) the Chairperson of All India Council for Technical Education (ex officio), (vi) the Director General, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (ex officio), and (vii) three Members of Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha). The term of office of an ex officio member will continue till he holds the office by virtue of which he is a member. Other members of the Council will have a term of three years in office.
- Board of Governors: The Act constituted a Board of Governors for control and management of the institute’s affairs. The Act specifies 23 members in the Board including: (i) an eminent academician or professional as Chairperson, (ii) the Director of the institute (ex officio), (iii) two pharmaceutical industrialists, and (iv) three Members of Parliament.
- The Bill reduces the number of members in the Board of Governors for each institute to 12. The Board will be chaired by an eminent academician or professional. The ex officio members of the Board will be: (i) the Director of the institute, (ii) the Joint Secretary to the central government in Department of Pharmaceuticals dealing with national institutes of pharmaceutical education and research, (iii) the Secretary dealing with medical or technical education in the concerned state government, and (iv) a representative of Drug Controller General of India. Other members will include: (i) three pharmaceutical experts (at least one must be woman) with certain special knowledge, (ii) two pharmaceutical industrialists, and (iii) two professors of the institute.
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