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Punjab govt constitutes Punjab FDA by unifying food & drug departments

In a major step towards bringing the food and drug departments under a common regulatory body on the lines of Gujarat and Maharashtra, the Punjab government recently constituted the Punjab food and drug administration (FDA) by bringing both the Punjab state drug controlling authority and food authority under one roof.

With a view to streamline the work of this unified regulatory body in accordance with the respective laws, the state government last week appointed Husan Lal who earlier served as the secretary, social security, and managing director of Punjab Health Systems Corporation, as the first commissioner of the state FDA. With this strategic re-organisation, Punjab state joins the group of select few states in the country like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir to streamline and unify the two important departments under the same umbrella.

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Earlier, a high level delegation headed by Rupanjali Karthik, additional secretary, department of health and family welfare, government of Punjab had visited Gujarat FDCA in October last year to understand and gauge the effective ways of running the administration, prior to undergoing this change. Ajay Singla, state drug controller of the Punjab drug department, who was also a part of this delegation informed that this move signals the changing regulatory dynamics in the state, which will further help in strengthening the regulatory and administrative apparatus to meet new challenges.

With this reshuffling in the regulatory set up, the Punjab FDA will now be the central authority in the state overlooking the smooth functioning and monitoring of the various rules and regulations pertaining to the concerned Acts. “By unifying the two important departments under the same authority we will be able to implement the rules and regulations under the D&C Act and FSSAI Act more effectively throughout the state. Especially since the regulatory requirements and mechanisation for the implementation of both the Acts are almost in the same lines, helping us to effectively scrape the bottlenecks and other complications arising out of dual regulatory body,” Singla added.

According to Dr H G Koshia, commissioner, Gujarat Food & Drugs Control Administration, as a regulator it is more effective to regulate and monitor the food and the drugs departments under a common regulatory body. Further he pointed out that ever since the successful establishment of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, more states across the country are strongly considering to unify their food and drug departments under the same body for better administrative purpose.

It is reported that the state of Karnataka is seriously looking into the possibility of unifying the two important departments under the state health ministry under a uniform authority on the lines of Gujarat FDCA.

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