India fleshes out manufacturing cluster program to cut Chinese imports

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi

India's plans to boost domestic drug manufacturing and cut reliance on imports from China could include a 15-year tax holiday, low-cost space at industrial parks and subsidies on interest owed to banks, according to Bloomberg TV India.

The package was first outlined in April this year as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India" campaign to boost local employment in conjunction with an ongoing effort to cut the costs of bulk and essential drugs.

Unlike China, India has moved more slowly to consider e-commerce in drug sales or market-based pricing and India's minister for oversight of pharmaceuticals, Ananth Kumar, recently noted that 350 additional drugs had been brought under price controls in the past 10 months and other plans are already driving down costs.

As well, the government plans to greatly expand its own pharmacies, called Jan Aushadhi, to sell generic lifesaving drugs.

But it is manufacturing that has captured Modi's attention as he looks for ways to boost employment after just over a year in office of a 5-year term.

Bloomberg TV India said that Kumar's Chemicals and Fertilisers Ministry proposed the new manufacturing policy this week based recommendations from a committee looking into the manufacture of bulk drugs, or active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Among the suggestions is a new Bulk Drug Authority and the possible revival of state-run companies, including Hindustan Antibiotics, to ramp up output quickly.

Earlier this year, the Chemicals and Fertilisers Ministry told Parliament recently that India was reliant on China for the bulk drugs needed to make 12 drugs on the nation's list of essential medicines and that China was dumping its bulk drugs in India.

- here's the story from Bloomberg TV India