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On Friday, the secretary held a gathering with business associations. The minutes of the final assembly on February 17 recorded that he “showed his displeasure at the status of implementation of UCPMP”. None of those conferences included civil society teams representing affected person pursuits.
“If groups such as citizens or consumers and civil society are not engaged, how can it be ensured that there is no nexus between the state and businesses, a concern that was acknowledged in government’s own draft action plan on business and human rights?” requested Pradeep Narayanan, director of Partners for Change, a corporation engaged on enterprise and human rights which had carried out a research on UCPMP implementation. “In the study, we had found that the ministry kept issuing notifications extending the voluntary code even though companies did not honour the code, which indicated a wider nexus. That’s why other stakeholders such as citizens and civil society need to be invited to such consultations,” Narayanan stated.
In December 2014, the DoP had notified the UCPMP to be complied with by the pharma business on a voluntary foundation for six months ranging from January 2015.
“In 2017, the DoP tried to bring in a legally enforceable order to regulate unethical practices. The draft order was turned down by the law ministry for not being legally sound under the Essential Commodities Act. Since then, DoP has not made any further attempt to develop a legally binding instrument, presumably buckling to industry pressure,” stated Malini Aisola of the All India Drug Action Network, which had submitted a number of instances of violation of UCPMP to the DoP.