Context: The Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) has released a report titled ‘Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients- Status, Issues, Technology Readiness, and Challenges’.


  • The pharmaceutical industry in India is third largest in the world, in terms of volume, behind China and Italy, and fourteenth largest in terms of value. 
  • It has a strong network of 3,000 drug companies and about 10,500 manufacturing units with a domestic turnover of Rs 1.4 lakh crore (USD 20.03 billion) in 2019, with exports to more than 200 countries in the world. 
  • However due to availability of cheap imports, the local manufacturing of APIs is very less. 
  • Of the total imports of APIs and intermediates into India, China accounts for 65-70%.
    • Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) is a substance or mixture of substances contained in a medicine that is intended to cause pharmacological activity.
  • Such high dependence calls for scaling indegenous API production in the country.

Key recommendations of the report:

  • Focus on engineering and scale aspects of economic development.
  • Create mega drug manufacturing clusters with common infrastructure in India.
  • Reducing process steps in development of biocatalysis for cost optimization
  • Attention needs to be paid to technologies like hazardous reactions, flow chemistry, cryogenic reactions, and membrane technology. 
  • Investment in priority areas like fermentation sector and scale supporting techno-economic feasibility is desired.
  • Government encouragement of Indian companies working in chemical segments such as steroids, amino acids, carbohydrates, nucleosides, etc. is required
  • Along with the report, a white paper titled ‘Focused Interventions for Make in India : Post COVID 19’ was also released - 
    • It brought out the strengths, market trends, and opportunities in five Sectors, including Healthcare, which are critical from the country's perspective. 
    • It called for decreasing Chinese reliance on importing APIs and making the country self-reliant in production. 

TIFAC (Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council):

  • It was formed as a registered Society in February, 1988.
  • It is an autonomous body under the Department of Science and Technology. 
  • It is mandated to assess the state-of-art of technology and set directions for future technological development in India in important socio-economic sectors. 
  • As a unique knowledge network institution in India, TIFAC activities encompass a wide array of technology areas and fill a critical gap in the overall S&T system of India. 
  • The organization has - 
    • Carried out technology foresight exercise, 
    • Facilitated and supported technology development; 
    • Prepared technology linked business opportunity reports and 
    • Implemented mission-mode programmes.



Image Source: PIB