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Gireesh Babu, New Delhi September 23 , 2022
The Department of Commerce (DoC) has approved setting up a separate Export Promotion Council (EPC) for the medical devices sector under the administrative control of the Department of Pharmaceuticals to help exporters in promoting their products in international markets. The medical devices industry welcomed the move and the strategic step will go a long way in accelerating the exports of medical devices from India.

The creation of the EPC for medical devices is approved by the DoC with one time waiver of the condition in guidelines on the subject, stipulating creation of an Export Promotion Forum initially, before its upgradation as EPC.

The Council will be headquartered in YEIDA, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh with regional offices in Andhra Pradesh (in AMTZ, Visakhapatnam) and Telangana (in Hyderabad). The headquarters will be set up with initial funding of Rs. 3 crore, in free office space of around 5,000 swift area at the upcoming Medical Devices Park Common Facility Centre in Greater Noida, and required secretarial staff to run the Council.

The Regional Office at Visakhapatnam is expected to be set up in a period of one year, by the end of 2023, and the regional office at Hyderabad will be set up in a period of three years, by 2025. The office space, manpower and other requirements for the regional offices has to be fulfilled by the respective State Governments, said an Office Memorandum from the DoC.

The Council’s administration and management will be through the Committee of Administration with elected and nominated members. The nominated members shall be from Department of Pharmaceuticals, Department of Commerce, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), ministry of health and family welfare, Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), chief executive officers or managing directors of major medical device clusters or parks especially, including the MD of Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone and chief executive officer of Hyderabad Pharma City etc.

Commenting on the initiative, Rajiv Nath, forum coordinator of Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AiMeD) said, “It's a great news, a big boost to Indian Medical Devices Manufacturing. The long sought and requested Medical Devices Exports Promotion Council is finally sanctioned to be created under the aegis of DoP, Government of India. This strategic step will go a long way in accelerating the exports and manufacturing growth of the medical devices sector.”

India currently exports Rs. 23,766 crore (2021-22) of medical devices up from previous year Rs. 19,736 crore. However, with almost 80 per cent of the medical devices demand in the country is met through imports, the government and the industry are looking at various methods to improve domestic manufacturing and increase the exports from the country.

The Office Memorandum further states that the chairman and vice chairman of the Council shall be elected from members who are manufacturers or processors of medical devices and other members, including from merchant exporters, shall not be eligible for the post. While the final decision on the jurisdiction will be taken by the CoA, the office in Visakhapatnam is expected to have jurisdiction over Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh, the office in Hyderabad will have jurisdiction over the States of Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra. The headquarters will serve the requirements of the member exports pan India till the regional facilities come up.

The entire range of medical devices goods and services could be broadly qualified into sub-groups named as panels, such as disposables, consumables, orthopaedic implants, IVD equipment and reagents and surgical instruments. There would also be panels for policy advocacy, technology upgradation and transfer and start-ups.

“The proposed council shall, inter alia, help exporters in promoting their products in international markets, through various promotional activities including organising/participating in international trade fairs, buyer-seller meets, RBSM in India, etc., in line with the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) of India,” said the Office Memorandum. The Council may also organise awareness programmes for dissemination of information regarding assistance available for the MSME exporters under various government schemes. EEPC India will provide assistance and guidance to the new Council in discharge of its function for a period of five years.

Nath said, “The Exports Promotion Council for Medical Devices will help bring in coordinated inter-ministerial policy measures for unleashing the huge export potential and investment potential of over Rs. 80,000 crore for manufacturing medical devices for the global market in India’s quest to be one of top 5 preferred supplier base of medical devices worldwide and we are thankful to the minister of commerce and industry in taking this initiative to help realise our Prime Minister’s vision.”

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