Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Wednesday said the Covid pandemic has forced all of us to rethink and replan our health strategies.

Addressing a webinar on ‘Changing Landscape of Indian Pharma Sector’ organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) from Shimla, Thakur said the changing scenario had led to the Union government making an increase of 137 per cent in its allocation for the health sector in the Budget for 2021-22.

“Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has effectively handled Covid pandemic. Today India has not become self-sufficient in fighting the virus but is also exporting equipment such as PPE kits, ventilators and N95 masks to several countries,” he added.

He said Pharma industries were flourishing in Himachal Pradesh due to the solid foundation of industrial package provided to the state by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003.

And now PM Modi had converted the challenges of Covid- 19 pandemic as an opportunity towards making India a self reliant country.

Himachal now had the honour of having Asia’s biggest Pharma Hub at Baddi and the credit of this goes to the Pharma companies working in the state.

He thanked the CII for organising webinar on this vital issue and said that Himachal had played an important role in the containing Covid pandemic.

During the pandemic, the state not only provided medicines to the whole country but also delivered medicines to over 30 countries of the world.

“The government is hopeful of getting a Bulk Drug Pharma Park for the state as several incentives are being offered to entrepreneurs such as adequate availability of land, surplus power supply, investors’ friendly policies which the investors cannot find elsewhere,” he added.

Thakur further stated that the state government had actively bid under the Bulk Druk Park Scheme of the Union government and had sent a project proposal of Rs 1,190 crore for setting up of the park on 1,405 acres of land in Una district.

“The investment of about Rs 8,000 crores would ensure turnover of Rs 50,000 crore and this park would also provide direct employment to about 15,000 youth of the state.

Besides, the government has also sent a proposal for setting up of Medical Devices Park to be built at a cost of Rs 261 crore on 265 acres of land in Nalagarh area of Solan district.

This would ensure investment of about Rs 4,000 to 5,000 crore and turnover of about Rs 20,000 crore would happen and estimated 10,000 people would get employment opportunities.

If both these proposals of the government are successful, not only the state but the pharma sector of the country would be immensely benefitted,” he added.

He also thanked the Pharma producers of the state for making generous contributions towards the PM CAREs and CM COVID Fund and said due to the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients in the state itself, the country’s dependence on foreign countries has reduced.

State Industries Minister Bikram Singh, Additional Chief Secretary, Industries Ram Subhag Singh, Joint Secretary, Govt of India Randeep Rinwa, CII Chairman Dr Dinesh Dua were also present on the occasion among others.