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Karnataka API players see govt sending wrong signal by proposing to shift API units to Uzbekistan
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru - Wednesday, June 20, 2018, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]
The Union government is sending wrong signals to the industry by proposing to shift a sizeable part of Indian API (active pharmaceutical ingredient) units to Uzbekistan. The industry which is picking up its confidence to compete and prove its capability globally in the API space is now shattered, stated the companies.
The statement which came in from Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya early this month has not gone down well with the API sector. This even as Uzbekistan, part of Commonwealth Independent States (CIS), is wooing Indian drug manufacturers to set up production plants in its seven free economic zones dedicated for the pharma sector in the region.

Following the statement, the industry is vociferous stating that Uzbekistan is not the country for APIs manufacturing. This is because to begin with garnering required workforce expertise is a challenge among other issues. “We are confused on the way forward. In March this year, the sector was hung-go as China slashed import duty of its 28 APIs. Then in April the government went ahead in announcing the creation of a high level task force to formulate a roadmap to revive the API sector amid growing concerns over China dependence. Now we hear about the proposal to boost India’s bulk drug production by shifting a sizeable part of the manufacturing capacity to Uzbekistan. We are unclear on the government’s intention,” Manoj Palrecha, managing director, Lake Chemicals told Pharmabiz.

Representing the state pharma industry, Sunil Attavar, president, Karnataka Drugs and Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (KDPMA) said that it was uncertain whether the Union government had actually planned or wanted API units to move to Uzbekistan. This is because there is no official proposal or communication from the Union government to this effect.

However, we are aware of a high level delegation from Uzbekistan that visited India to invite companies from here to invest there and offer land and other facilities or even provide related incentives. This meeting was attended by senior government officials and hence maybe the optics was not appropriate or suggested otherwise. There have been many countries who are pitching for Indian companies to invest with many incentives .It is the difficulties in obtaining environment clearances and getting appropriate land close to the cities in order to attract best talent, that has prompted some Indian companies to look beyond our shores as possible destinations, added Attavar.

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