The coronavirus outbreak makes a compelling case for the government to declare active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) as a strategic sector as most inputs are imported, industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said on Thursday.
"Firms, for which capacity utilisation is 40 per cent, may be permitted to produce API which are being imported. Approvals for new investments should be fast-tracked," CII said in a statement.
Blanket environment permission should be provided to manufacture any API on submission of self-certification to comply with pollution load requirement, it added.
CII also recommended raising API and intermediates production in the country by creation of large API parks with fiscal benefits for existing API and intermediates plant, supportive regulatory framework and common infrastructure facilitating single-window clearances for API parks.
For the healthcare sector, CII said the hospitals in larger cities and district hospitals in smaller cities and towns should be identified or designated as 'COVID hospital' for testing and isolation of patients.
Private sector hospitals can contribute to the required equipment and the manpower, it added.
The outbreak could also lead to significant shortage of supply in the medical technology sector as the country is heavily import dependent, CII said.
"While the real impact on industry is likely to be visible only after April 2020, the local manufacturer's capacities will need to be bolstered, which would likely become reliable sources amid global shortages," CII said.