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Jan Aushadi stores to help save health care costs: Amit Shah

By, New Delhi
Jan 09, 2024 02:53 AM IST

India will have nearly 200,000 primary agricultural cooperative societies or PACS in the next five years, Amit Shah said.

The Union government will facilitate the setting up of one cooperative society in every village, which can now enter the retail pharma business and bridge healthcare gaps in rural India by dispensing inexpensive generic medicines, Union home and cooperation minister Amit Shah said on Monday.

Union home minister Amit Shah arrives to chair the 'National PACS Mega Conclave' on Primary Agricultural Credit Societies as Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on Monday (ANI)
Union home minister Amit Shah arrives to chair the 'National PACS Mega Conclave' on Primary Agricultural Credit Societies as Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on Monday (ANI)

India will have nearly 200,000 primary agricultural cooperative societies or PACS in the next five years, up from about 63,000 now, which will act as business centres and boost the rural economy, Shah said, launching a national conclave of cooperative societies with representatives from five states.

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Shah said 241 PACS have so far opened Jan Aushadi Kendras, or state-backed generic drug stores, across the country that will “ensure rural poor and farmers avail the benefits of generic medicines at affordable rates”.

Opening Jan Aushadhi Kendras through PACS would “strengthen PACS as cooperative organisations, besides expanding the reach of quality and affordable medicines”, said Union health and fertilisers minister Mansukh Mandaviya, who also addressed the event.

The Modi government had passed the Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2022 in August last year to modernize the country’s nearly 100-year-old cooperative sector. A cooperative is a business jointly owned by members of the entity who share profits and losses. India’s largest dairy brand Amul for instance runs on a cooperative model.

Also Read | ‘Now rural poor can get affordable medicines through Jan Aushadi Kendra’: Amit Shah

There are over 800,000 cooperatives in the country, out of which 63000 operate as PACS. “So far, the government’s Jan Aushadi Kendras were largely in cities benefiting the urban poor. Now this benefit is being extended to the rural poor,” Shah said.

Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Jan Aushadi Kendras, a chain of generic drug stores, provide generic medicines to general public, which cost 50-90 per cent less than their branded versions.

“In the last six months, 4,470 applications from PACS were received. Out of these, in-principle approval has been given to 2,373 PACS. Around 241 of them have started operating Jan Aushadi Kendras,” Shah said.

Shah further said despite India being a top global supplier of medicines, about 600 million poor people can’t afford medicines. “However, the Modi government took steps to streamline Jan Aushadi Kendras to ensure the poor get medicines at a lower price.”

Shah gave store code certificates to representatives of five PACS at the event. PACS have been able to expand their business activities to open Jan Aushadi Kendras due to a set of new model byelaws that every state has adopted, he said, crediting Prime Minister Narendra Modi for it.

Also Read | No operators for Janaushadhi stores at three Chandigarh hospitals

“In the past 9 years, the poor have been able to save approximately 26,000 crores of through the Jan Aushadhi Kendras,” Shah said.

More than 2,000 types of generic medicines and around 300 surgical items are made available through these kendras to citizens at affordable prices.

“Our PACS now runs a common service centre, which offers facilities such as rail ticket reservations. We are also running a Jan Aushadhi store from this month,” said Vimal Pradhan, a PACS president from Himachal Pradesh, who attended the event.

Shah said cancer medicines, which cost about 2,250 in the open market are sold at 250 in these generic stores. “Why PACS were shutting down? The main reason was that in the byelaws of PACS there was no provision to do other business activities apart from agri-credit. So, we came out with a model byelaw including a provision to do 22 different activities,” Shah said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Zia Haq reports on public policy, economy and agriculture. Particularly interested in development economics and growth theories.

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