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Fast Track EPC MD

Ramesh Shankar
Tuesday, May 21, 2024, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

In a laudable move envisaged to drive the growth of exports of medical device sector in the country, the Union Commerce Ministry, in September 2022, had announced its plans to set up a separate Export Promotion Council for Medical Devices.  And in December same year, the government had assigned an official as a nodal officer of contact and to carry out all actions to establish the Council. The new Council will be headquartered in the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority Greater Noida (YEIDA), Uttar Pradesh with regional offices in Andhra Pradesh (in AMTZ, Visakhapatnam) and Telangana (in Hyderabad). Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya officially launched the Council in May, 2023 during the 8th  International Conference on Pharma and Medical Device Sector in New Delhi. The new Council, which will have an exclusive focus on the implementation of trade-related initiatives and easing of trade issues in the medical devices sector, is being set up on the lines of Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil), which played a key role in promoting exports of pharmaceutical products. Pharmexcil’s role in boosting the pharmaceutical exports from the country is now well known. It periodically makes representations to government of India and other agencies in India and abroad to get amicable solutions for the common problems of the industry and makes suggestions to government of India on policy issues relating to pharma exports. It also organises periodical seminars and interactive meetings on export related issues; organises Business Meetings in India and abroad; and organises trade delegations abroad. Surely, the new export promotion council exclusively for the medical devices sector will also be working on the same lines which will spur global market entry of Indian medical devices and will encourage domestic players to enhance quality standards and production capacity.

Unfortunately, even though almost two years have passed, the Council is yet to commence its full-fledged operations owing to teething troubles. It may be noted that while all the other export promotion councils like Pharmexcil and Engineering Export Promotion Council of India (EEPC) are under the control of the Union Commerce Ministry, the EPC-MD is placed under the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP). The DoP was expected to bring in around Rs. 3 crore as initial capital to set up the Council, while YEIDA was expected to bring in Rs. 3 crore. While there were some issues in availing the fund from the DoP initially, the issues were sorted out and the office has now started functioning. There is no doubt, a separate export promotion council for the medical devices sector under the administrative control of the DoP will help exporters in promoting their products in international markets. Of course, it is a welcome move by the Union Commerce Ministry as this strategic step will go a long way in accelerating the exports of medical devices from India.  But, it seems that the DoP is yet to go through the learning curve along with YEIDA to nurture the EPC MD and provide the ministerial leadership. A strong Governance Board and Operational Management Team under an able leadership is the need of the hour to drive a membership drive and to ensure the efficient operations and functioning so that the vision and objectives from an EPC to raise the Brand India flag and spearhead the overseas coordinated marketing of medical devices is realized. So, the government should address all the teething troubles to fully operationlise the EPC MD project as it will go a long way in promoting Made in India medical devices in the international markets.

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