What is NIPER Bill passed by Parliament and how will it affect six institutes of pharma education?

The bill seeks to accord institute of national importance status to six more institutions of pharmaceutical education and research, start new courses and also set up an advisory council for them.

The NIPER Bill seeks to declare six more educational bodies as the Institutions of National Importance. (Representative image)

The Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2021 after it was cleared by the Lok Sabha on December 6. The bill was passed in the upper house through a voice vote. It now needs President Ram Nath Kovind’s nod to become an Act. The bill seeks to accord institute of national importance status to six more institutions of pharmaceutical education and research, start new courses and also set up an advisory council for them. Replying to the discussion on the Bill, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that it will strengthen the National Institutes of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPERs) and give priority to research.

What is The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2021?

The Centre has brought the NIPER Bill to amend the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research Act, 1998. Through the 1998 legislation, a NIPER was established in Mohali, Punjab. It was declared an institution of national importance. Any Institution of National Importance is an autonomous body/institute with the power to hold examinations and grant educational certificates/degrees. They get funding from the central government.

The NIPER Bill seeks to declare six more educational bodies as the Institutions of National Importance. These are National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research located in Ahmedabad, Hajipur, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Guwahati, and Raebareli. The Bill brought in four amendments which include qualifying six NIPERs as institutes of national importance and introducing undergraduate and diploma courses. The Bill also proposes to bring down the membership of the board of governors mandated to manage the affairs at each NIPER from the current 23 to 12.

According to PRS Legislative Research, the Bill also proposed to set up a Council to coordinate the activities among the institutes under the Bill to ensure the development of pharmaceutical education and research and maintenance of standards. The role of the council will be to advise on matters related to course duration, and admission standards, formulation of policies for recruitment, conditions of service, and fees, examining and approving development plans of the institutes and examining annual budget estimates for recommending the central government over allocation of funds.

The members of the council will include the Minister in charge of the Ministry or department of the central government having administrative control of pharmaceuticals as the Chairperson and the Minister of State as the Vice-Chairperson, the Chairperson of each Board of Governors, the Director of every institute, the Chairperson of AICTE, the Director-General of CSIR, and three Members of Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha).

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