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Manipur Joins n++UDAYn++ Scheme; Would Derive An Overall Net Benefit Of Rs 263 Crore Through n++UDAYn++
Jul 27,2016

The Government of India, the State of Manipur and the DISCOM of Manipur signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under the Scheme UDAY - n++Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojanan++ for operational turnaround of the DISCOM.

Manipur is the fourteenth State to join UDAY. It is also the first North Eastern State to opt for UDAY for improving the efficiency of the DISCOM. The combined DISCOM debt (including CPSU dues) that would be restructured in respect of these states is around Rs.2.16 lac crore as on 30th September, 2015.

The Government of Manipur has taken a positive step towards supporting its DISCOM by signing the MOU under UDAY for improving its operational efficiency. Through compulsory Distribution Transformer metering, consumer indexing & GIS mapping of losses, upgrade/change transformers, meters etc., smart metering of high-end consumers, feeder audit etc. AT&C losses and transmission losses would be brought down, besides eliminating the gap between cost of supply of power and realisation. The reduction in AT&C losses and transmission losses to 15% and 3.20% respectively is likely to bring additional revenue of around Rs.208 crore during the period of turnaround.

While efforts will be made by the State Government and the DISCOM to improve the operational efficiency of the DISCOM, and thereby reduce the cost of supply of power, the Central government would also provide incentives to the DISCOM and the State Government for improving Power infrastructure in the State and for further lowering the cost of power. The Central schemes such as DDUGJY, IPDS, Power Sector Development Fund or such other schemes of MOP and MNRE are already providing funds for improving Power Infrastructure in the State and additional/priority funding would be considered under these schemes, if the State/DISCOM meet the operational milestones outlined in the scheme. The State shall also be supported through additional coal at notified prices and in case of availability, through higher capacity utilization, low cost power from NTPC and other CPSUs. Other benefits such as coal swapping, coal rationalization, correction in coal grade slippage, availability of 100% washed coal would help the state to further reduce the cost of Power. The State would gain around Rs.32 crore due to these coal reforms.

Demand Side interventions in UDAY such as usage of energy-efficient LED bulbs, agricultural pumps, fans & air-conditioners and efficient industrial equipment through PAT (Perform, Achieve, Trade) would help in reducing peak load, flatten load curve and thus help in reducing energy consumption in the State of Manipur. The gain is expected to be around Rs.17 crore

Improvement in operation efficiency would enable the DISCOM to borrow at cheaper rates in future, for their infrastructure development and improvement of existing infrastructure. The expected benefit to the State on this account is around Rs.6 crore during the turnaround period.

An overall net benefit of approximately Rs.263 crore would accrue to the State by opting to participate in UDAY, by way of cheaper funds, reduction in AT&C and transmission losses, interventions in energy efficiency, coal reforms etc. during the period of turnaround.

The ultimate benefit of signing the MOU would go to the people of Manipur. Reduced levels of transmission and AT&C losses would mean lesser cost per unit of electricity to consumers. Improved operationally efficiency would also improve the DISCOMs financial health. A healthy DISCOM would be in a position to supply more power. Thus, the scheme would allow speedy availability of power to around 188 villages and 2.43 lac households in the State that are still without electricity. Availability of 24x7 power to hitherto unconnected villages/households etc. would boost the economy, provide more employment opportunities for the people of the State and thereby, improve the standard of living of the people of the State.

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Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Ministry of Railways and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Green Industrial Units
Jul 27,2016

In the august presence of Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Ministry of Railways and Confederation of Indian Industry(CII) to evaluate the Green Initiatives and rate the performance of Industrial Units of Indian Railways which are pursuing environmentally sustainable practices, was signed and n++Final Report on the Passenger Feedback Survey at major Railway Stations for Cleanliness Rankingn++ was E-Released on 26 July 2016. Minister of State for Railways & Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Communication Shri Manoj Sinha and Minister of State for Railways Shri Rajen Gohain was present to grace the occasion. On the event of Signing Ceremony, Chairman Railway Board Shri A. K. Mital, Member Mechanical Shri Hemant Kumar, and other Board Members and Senior Officials were present. On behalf of the Railway Ministry Smt. Kalyani Chadda, EDME(W) signed the MoU whereas on behalf of CII Shri S. Raghupathy, Dy. Director General, CII signed the MoU. The MoU was signed in the backdrop of Railway Ministers Budget announcement.

Shri Suresh Prabhu pointed out that notwithstanding the fact that Railways is an environment friendly transport, multi pronged green initiatives are being taken by Indian Railways. This includes the share of renewables in energy consumed, better Water Management including Water Audit, Solid Waste Management including Waste to Energy plants etc. The association with CII will enable Railways to weigh their green initiatives against the global standards. The partnership with CII has come in the right time when Railways are in the change mode for a sustainable growth. Indian Railways have been playing a key role in every aspect of Governments initiatives. The provision of bio toilets in a large scale to avoid open discharge from the coaches is a major step towards this. Recently, the Manmadurai - Rameshwaram section of Southern Railway was declared as a first green railway section. Indian Railways have so far provided more than 40,000 bio toilets. During this year, another 30,000 bio toilets are proposed to be added. The unique effort of bio vacuum toilets by Indian Railways will be a big game changer in this regard if the trials prove successful.

Shri Manoj Sinha said that Railways which has its production units in almost all parts of the country should ensure some environment friendly measures like solar energy, energy audit, water harvesting. He said that keeping in mind all these measures, todays MoU has been signed so that environment friendly measures could be taken.

Minister of State for Railways Shri Rajen Gohain said that Railways being the biggest industry of the country is conscious towards the environment friendly measures and these measures could bring drastic change after implementation.

The MOU has been signed for GBC-CII to extend technical co-operation for various Green initiatives in 3 Railways Industrial establishments, with an objective to make Indian Railways, as a leading Government organisation in the field of Environment. Initially following two programmes will be taken up under this MOU:

(i) Green Rating for Railway Industrial units - In the first phase - Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW)/Varanasi Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai and Carriage & Wagon Workshop, Perambur /Chennai, Southern Railway, have been selected for this important initiative. All the Green initiatives of these units will be rated on a common Platform applicable to all the industries. Based on the experience remaining Units will be taken up under this scheme.

(ii) Energy Efficiency studies at 6 Production Units and 4 major workshops over Indian Railways. This will include Capacity Building, Knowledge sharing and exchange of best practices on Energy efficiency between Railways and other industrial sectors.

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94% of sugarcane dues to the farmers for the sugar season 2015-16 paid
Jul 27,2016

As on 15.07.2016, 94% of cane dues payable on Fair and Remunerative Price basis for the sugar season 2015-16 has been cleared. Cane Price Arrears of Rs. 3269 crores on Fair and Remunerative Price basis and Rs. 6582 crores on State Advised Price basis are outstanding against the sugar mills.

Due to surplus sugar production during the last four consecutive sugar seasons over domestic consumption and depressed sugar prices, the liquidity of the sugar mills have been adversely affected leading to accumulation of cane price arrears of the farmers.

The Government of India has taken several initiatives to help the sugar industry to resolve liquidity problems and thereby facilitate clearance of cane price arrears of farmers:-

n++ Provided incentive on Raw Sugar Export for evacuation of excess stocks of sugar in the country.

n++ Extended Soft Loan of Rs.4305 crore to improve liquidity position of the sugar mill enabling them clearance of cane price arrears.

n++ Facilitated sugar mills for supply of ethanol under Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP) to achieve enhanced ethanol blending target.

n++ Providing Production Subsidy @ Rs.4.50 per quintal cane crushed to offset cane cost and timely clearance of cane dues of farmers.
  
  State wise cane price arrears sugar season for 2015- 16 (as on 15.07.2016)

S.No.Name of StateCane Price Arrears ( in rupees crores)

Sugar Season 2015-16

On FRP Basis

On SAP Basis

1.

Bihar

30

30

2.

Haryana

0

126

3.

Punjab

0

226

4.

Uttrakhand

73

211

5.

Uttar Pradesh

1657

3929

6.

Andhra Pradesh

81

81

7.

Telangana

30

30

8.

Gujarat

203

203

9.

Maharashtra

494

494

10.

Karnataka

185

185

11..

Tamil Nadu

479

1030

12.

Puducherry

10

10

13.

Chhattisgarh

1

1

14.

Odisha

19

19

15.

Madhya Pradesh

6

6

16.

Goa

1

1

 

All India

3269

6582

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Indian Companies to pitch for executing more telecom projects in Bangladesh, says Manoj Sinha
Jul 27,2016

India today asked Bangladesh to utilize the services of Indian Companies in executing telecom projects in the neighbouring country. New Delhi has already offered line of credit worth two billion US dollars to Dhaka and Indian companies including Tejas have successfully completed pilot projects in connecting 100 Union Parishads (Gram Panchayats) in Bangladesh and has pitched for executing 1000 such projects. This was conveyed to the visiting Bangladeshi delegation led by State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Ms. Tarana Halim, who called on the Union Minister of Communications Shri Manoj Sinha.

It is to be pointed out that unlike other foreign companies operating in Bangladesh in the telecom sector, Indian companies have also offered to share technology and to impart skill training. Shri Sinha said that through technology transfer, C-DoT could help strengthening Bangladesh telecom network and rural population encouraging local manufacturing. It is to be underlined that C-DoT has recently developed technologies to build broadband infrastructure for next Generation Services and it is instrumental in designing the core enabling technology and network architecture of BharatNet-National optical Fiber Network connecting villages and panchayats of the country. Apart from this Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) is also cost effective technology for broadband penetration in rural areas.

Shri Sinha suggested to Ms Halim that there is a need for an increased number of postal surface mail exchange points between the two countries as at present surface mails are exchanged only at one point ( Petrapole-Benapole), while other exchange points like Akhaura-Agartala, Tamabil-Karimgong, Burimari-Changrabandha, and Hilli-Hilli may be considered. This was already discussed in a bilateral meeting in February this year.

Shri Sinha thanked Bangladesh for its cooperation and support in commissioning 10 Gbps internet bandwidth link via Agartala to provide internet services in the North Eastern region. It is to be recalled that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had commissioned the services in March this year. India has suggested to Bangladesh to look into pricing part to enable BSNL procure additional bandwidth.

Both the sides stressed the need for effective cooperation considering the borderless nature of cyber threats and issues and similar challenges faced by the two countries. India suggested that a Nodal officer may be nominated from Bangladesh for effective and timely cooperation on cyber security matters.

Earlier, the Minister of Communications Shri Mnaoj Sinha strongly condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Bangladesh and conveyed heartfelt condolences to those who have lost their loved ones and wished speedy recovery for the injured. Both the sides reiterated their commitment to jointly fight the menace of terrorism.

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New Air Traffic Control Tower at IGI Airport
Jul 27,2016

The Indira Gandhi International Airport is going to get a new air traffic control tower with state-of-the-art equipment. The height of the new air traffic control (ATC) tower at IGI Airport is 102m. The cost of the tower and equipment as part of overall project cost as approved by the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) is Rs.350 crores. It took around 4 years to construct this tower. The old control tower will remain operational till the new ATC Automation System in the new control tower is stabilized.

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DADF Issues a Notification for Import of Poultry and Poultry Products
Jul 27,2016

The Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries has started recognizing compartmentalization method envisaged to keep disease free compartments as per the guidelines of World Organization for Animal Health for the poultry establishments intended for export of poultry and poultry products.

In pursuance of the ruling by Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the dispute DS-430 (related to ban on imports of poultry products), India has issued a new Notification S.O.2337 (E) dated 08 July 2016 and the Guidelines there under and the provisions for import of poultry and poultry products have been made in line with the World Organization for Animal Health and also as per the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement under WTO.

Imports are yet to be effected under the new Notification. In case of any unfair or unsatisfactory imports, WTO members are free to take necessary action, as deemed fit, within the WTO framework.

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Centre Approves 93 Seed Hubs Under National Food Security Mission With an Outlay of Rs.13981.08 Lakh
Jul 26,2016

93 seed hubs against a target of 150 at Indian Council of Agriculture Research Institutes (ICAR), State Agriculture Universities (SAUs), Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) have been approved under National Food Security Mission (NFSM) with an outlay of Rs.13981.08 lakh.

15% of the allocation for pulses component of NFSM is earmarked for production of quality seed of pulses seeds through states. An incentive of Rs.25/- per kg is being provided for pulses seed production. 7.85 lakhs seed minikits of newer varieties of pulses have been targeted for distribution to the farmers free of cost during 2016-17. For enhancing the production of breeder seed of pulses, an amount of Rs.2039 lakh has been approved for 12 ICAR institutes and SAUs. Cluster frontline demonstrations of pulses in 31000 ha have been allocated to 534 KVKs for the year 2016-17. The strengthening of production units of bio-fertilizers and bio-control agents has been planned.

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Government committed to ensure availability of good quality herbs for making Ayurvedic medicines: Shri Shripad Naik
Jul 26,2016

The Government is aware that the quality of Ayurvedic medicines is dependent on the use of quality raw medicinal herbs.

Hence, with a view to ensure the availability of quality raw medicinal herbs for making quality Ayurvedic medicines, the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), Ministry of AYUSH has been promoting large scale cultivation of herbs / medicinal plants in a mission mode under n++Medicinal Plantsn++ component of n++Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM) which is being implemented since 2015-16 throughout the country. The n++Medicinal Plantsn++ component of the NAM scheme is primarily aimed at supporting cultivation of medicinal herbs / plants on farmers land with backward linkages through establishment of nurseries for supply of quality planting material and forward linkages for Processing and Post - Harvest Management including Marketing Infrastructure (drying sheds / storage godowns etc.).

Prior to NAM Scheme, the cultivation of medicinal herbs / plants was being supported under Centrally Sponsored Scheme of n++National Mission on Medicinal Plantsn++ of NMPB, Ministry of AYUSH which was implemented from years 2008-09 to 2014-15.

The scheme for cultivation of medicinal herbs / plants is being implemented through Mission Directors identified in different States / UTs who are mainly from State Agriculture / Horticulture Departments.

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India - US to collaborate for first time in R&D in traditional systems of medicine for various diseases
Jul 26,2016

The Ministry of AYUSH is mandated to promote and propagate AYUSH systems of medicine across the globe. To achieve the objective, the Ministry of AYUSH signs Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) for Country to Country cooperation in the field of Traditional Medicines; sets up AYUSH Academic Chairs in foreign Universities/ Educational Institutes; establishes AYUSH Information Cells in the premises of the Indian Missions abroad or Indian Cultural Centres for dissemination of authentic information about AYUSH Systems of medicine and enters into MoUs with foreign institutes for undertaking collaborative research.

As a result of concerted efforts, for the first time India has successfully engaged USA in the field of Traditional Medicine. An India-US workshop on Traditional Medicine with special focus on cancer was organized on 3-4 March, 2016 at New Delhi. A US team comprising of experts from National Cancer Institute (NCI) took part in the two day exhaustive deliberations that have resulted into significant leads.

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CII Business Confidence index increases markedly in Apr-Jun 2016 as business expectations improve
Jul 26,2016

Indian industry remained upbeat about the business environment in the first quarter of FY2016-17, as borne out by a significant pick-up in the CII Business Confidence Index (BCI) for Apr-Jun 2016. The CII-BCI increased to the level of 57.2, up from the level of 54.1 recorded in the previous quarter. The index has been steadily climbing since the last three quarters.

Commenting on the decisive improvement in the BCI, Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII said that the pick-up in business sentiment is indeed commendable and lends credence to the perception that the economy is on a firm footing. A rise in business expectations sends an early signal that industry is anticipating an upturn in demand propelled by factors such as implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission, progress of a favourable monsoon and pro-active reform agenda of the government.

These findings are a part of CIIs 95th edition of quarterly Business Outlook Survey, which was based on more than 200 responses from large, medium, small and micro firms, covering all regions of the country.

The significant improvement in the index this quarter has been led by a sharp improvement in the Expectation Index, as compared to the Current Situation Index, as firms appeared particularly upbeat about activity in their sectors.

The increase in the business sentiment this quarter has been backed by strong expectation of economic growth for the current fiscal year, with more than 60% of the firms expecting real GDP growth to range between 7-8% in FY17. Also, business conditions are expected to improve as 61% of the firms expect an increase in sales in Apr-Jun 2016, as compared to only 42% who experienced the same in Jan-Mar 2016, while nearly two thirds of the firms (65%) anticipate an increase in new orders in Apr-Jun 2016, up from 40% who witnessed the same in the preceding quarter. Much of the recovery in business conditions is expected to be domestically driven as a majority of the firms (51.2%) expect to maintain status quo on their export orders in Apr-Jun 2016.

Profit expectations have also improved in the current quarter (Apr-Jun 2016) with close to half of the firms (48.7%) anticipating an increase in their after-tax profits in the said quarter. This is despite the fact that a large share of respondents (37%) had experienced a decline in after- tax profits in the previous quarter (Jan-Mar 2016).

A majority of the firms have placed their investment plans on hold in Apr-Jun 2016 quarter, notwithstanding the expectation of improvement in sales and new orders in the said period. Existing unutilized capacity and unforthcoming demand have prompted nearly half of the firms (49.7%) to maintain status quo on their domestic investment while the uncertainty in the global economic environment has forced larger share of firms (60.5%) to keep their international investment plans unchanged.

A large proportion of the firms (40%) feel that a turnaround in the global economy is required to jumpstart the private investment cycle. Nonetheless, a major share of the firms (43%) feel that high government spending was instrumental in bringing about the turnaround in the corporate sector earnings in Jan-Mar 2016 quarter. Firms, when asked to rank their concerns, rated low domestic demand, fragile global economic recovery and lack of political consensus on economic reforms as their top three concerns.

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Budgetary provision of Rs.12,456.66 crores is made in the Financial Year 2016-17 for implementation of OROP
Jul 26,2016

Budgetary provision of Rs.12,456.66 crores is made in the Financial Year 2016-17 for implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) (Rs. 4,967.96 crores towards payment of two instalments of OROP arrears and Rs. 7,488.70 crores towards annual recurring expenditure for the revised pension at current rates). So far 18,90,635 out of 20,68,292 Ex-servicemen / family pensioners have been paid Rs.3,819.33 crores as arrears / revised pension under OROP Scheme.

A Judicial Committee on OROP headed by Justice L. Narasimha Reddy, Retired Chief Justice of Patna High Court has been appointed vide notification dated 14.12.2015 to look into anomalies, if any, arising out of implementation of OROP. The Committee will submit its report within one year of its constitution.

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Prices of DAP, MOP & NPK Complex fertilizers come down
Jul 26,2016

The Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of urea is statutorily controlled by the Government and at present it is Rs. 5360/- per tonne (exclusive of central excise duty, central sales tax, countervailing duty, the sales tax and other local taxes, wherever levied) w.e.f. 01 November 2012. An extra MRP of 5% (of Rs.5360/- per MT) is charged by fertilizer manufacturing entities on Neem Coated Urea. The difference between the delivered cost of fertilizers at farm gate and MRP payable by the farmer is given as subsidy to the fertilizers manufacturer/importer by the Government of India and at present Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) Policy being implemented for P&K fertilizers w.e.f. 01 April 2010, promotes competition amongst the various fertilizer companies from public sector, cooperatives and private sector and ensures reasonable prices to the farmers. As the prices of P&K fertilizers have come down in the international market, the fertilizer companies have reduced the MRP of DAP, MOP & NPK Complex fertilizers by Rs. 2500/MT, Rs. 5000/MT and Rs.1000/MT respectively. Thus, there is no increase in prices of fertilizers.

However, there were reports of alleged black-marketing of fertilizers from some States during the year 2013-14 to 2015-16. During the current year there is no report of black-marketing from any State Government so far. In this context, it is informed that Government has declared fertilizer as an essential commodity under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and notified Fertilizer Control Order, 1985 and Fertilizer (Movement Control) Order, 1973. The State Governments have been empowered to take appropriate action to curb black-marketing of fertilizers and initiate action against the persons who violate these orders. Department of Fertilizers has, from time to time, written to the Chief Secretaries of various States and Ministry of Home Affairs to activate the enforcement agencies under their jurisdiction to take appropriate action to curb black-marketing. State Governments are responsible for ensuring availability of all subsidized chemicals fertilizers to farmers at subsidized rates.

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Rs16,641 crore investment in affordable housing for urban poor approved this fiscal so far
Jul 26,2016

Total investment in affordable housing approved so far -Rs51,568 crore

Central Government has approved an additional investment of Rs16,641 crore for affordable housing for construction of 2,44,267 houses for urban poor under Pradhan Mantri Away Yojana (Urban) during the first four months of this financial year. The Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation approved these proposals for the benefit of urban poor in 11 States. Central assistance of Rs. 3,634 cr has been approved for construction of these houses under three components of the urban housing missionviz, Affordable Housing In Partnership (1,24,642 houses), Beneficiary Led Construction (1,15,989) and In-Situ Slum Redevelopment (3,636 houses).

With these approvals, a total investment of Rs51,568 crore has so far been approved for construction of 9,27,991 houses for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in urban areas in 20 States under PMAY (Urban) which was launched in June last year. Central assistance of Rs12,604 crore will be provided for construction of these houses. During the last financial year (2015-16), 6,83,724 houses were approved for the urban poor in 18 States with a total investment of Rs 34,927 crore

Details of the affordable houses approved during this financial year so far are:

 

S.No

 

StateAffordable
Housing in
PartnershipBeneficiary
Led
ConstructionIn-Situ
Redevpt
of SlumsTotal
Houses
sanctionedTotal
Investment
(Rs. Cr)Central
support
(Rs.Cr)1

Mahrasashtra

98,1197,399  2,3561,01,70111,3131,6072

Tripura

-42,896-   42,896  1,164   6433

Odisha

-23,843-   23,843       738   3584

Bihar

-21,474-   21,474      982   3225

Gujarat

17,838--   17,838   1,302   2676

Tamil Nadu

  1,328  9,158-  10,486       384   1587

Kerala

-  9,299-    9,299       262   1328

Chattisgarh

   7,357--    7,357       372   1109

Punjab

--   1,280    1,280        57     1310

Himachal Pradesh

-      837 -       837         41          1211

Jammu &
Kashmir

-      683-       683        26     11

                        Central assistance of Rs.1.50 lakh per each dwelling unit is provided for affordable housing under Affordable Housing in Partnership and Beneficiary Led Construction components while up to Rs.1.00 lakh per house is given for In-situ Slum Redevelopment.

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CII Calls for Clarity in Lokpal Act
Jul 26,2016

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has called for urgent clarifications in the Lokpal & Lokayukta Act 2013, regarding definitions of terms such as public servant and financing by government. As per the notification issued last month, officials and senior employees of bodies receiving funding from overseas or from the government beyond specified limits are covered under the Act and must disclose their assets as well as the assets of their spouse and dependent children by 31 July.

n++Industry has welcomed the Lokpal & Lokayukta Act 2013, which aims to curtail corruption among public servants. However, the application of the Act to a wide number of charitable organizations and their functionaries can seriously impede social and philanthropic activities by genuine participants. CII requests the government to extend the deadline for disclosure and also to revisit definition of terms such as public servant and government funding,n++ urged Dr Naushad Forbes, President, CII.

CII has submitted a representation to the Government to (i) extend the timelines for compliance under Section 44 of the Act by three months to enable deeper study, (ii) review applicability of the Act to non-profit organizations, trusts, societies and other organizations and revisit definition of public servant, among others.

n++Unnecessary intervention will adversely create a lot of disruption in the working of trusts, societies, association of persons, charitable and non-profit organizations and we would request the Government to urgently re-examine this legislation,n++ added Dr Forbes.

In its representation to the government, CII has noted that a large number of trusts, societies, charitable and non-charitable organizations, including hospitals and educational institutions, are served by philanthropists and professionals in different capacities. These organizations are dedicated to social and community service and undertake a range of activities for the good and welfare of society. The provisions of the Act are also applicable to not-for-profit organizations and trade bodies which provide services for the competitiveness of industry.

The provision of intimating asset details will discourage senior philanthropists and social workers from participating in social development services, added CII. It will also deter professionals from working in such organizations. The disclosure requirements under the Act, applicable to private citizens and their spouse and dependent children, are said to be more onerous than the Conduct Rules for government servants which are limited to the government official only. Implementation of this measure as currently notified could precipitate immediate resignations from several public and social institutes.

CII stated that the Act is also ambiguous in the definition of wholly or partly financed or controlled by government. There is no clarity if this extends to loans, financial aid or grants, tax exemptions, etc provided by the Central Government. The provisions are incompatible with the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, in several respects.

Section 2(1)(o) and Section 14(1)(f-h) of the Act define a public servant as any person who is or has been a director, manager, secretary or other officer of every society or association or trust wholly or partly financed by the government. Such persons of any body receiving over Rs 10 lakh donation in a year from any foreign source or Rs 1 crore from the government would need to submit full details of their assets.

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Need to amend Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 to promote e-pharmacy in India
Jul 26,2016

With the advent of e-pharmacy, there is a need to amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940as it does not differentiate between offline and online pharmacies. The Government is seized of the issue and is working towards amending the existing law to develop a framework where the consumers are benefitted. This was stated by Mr. K. B. Aggarwal, Additional Secretary (Food and Drugs), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, while launching a report at a session on E-pharmacy in India - Last Mile Access of Medicines, organized by FICCI.

Mr. Aggarwal said that e-pharmacy would allow easy availability of drugs at all hours. However, there were concerns with respect to legitimacy of e-pharmacies, patients safety and privacy, misuse of e-pharmacy and adverse effect on retailers business.

He said that there was a need to create e-pharmacy guidelines which allow proper tracking and monitoring of sales of drugs, authenticity of online pharmacists and prescriptions, details of patients, thereby helping in reducing drug abuse and counterfeiting. He added that linking a persons Aadhar number with e-pharmacy would ensure correctness of person seeking medicines.

Mr. Aggarwal said that for ensuring privacy and confidentiality of information, deliberations were taking place and soon the suggestions will be put up for further discussions among the stakeholders. He added that the DCGI was working towards developing its online platform and the system should be stable by the end of December 2016.

Dr. S. Eswara Reddy, Joint Drugs Controller, Central Drugs Standard Control Organization, said that the Government was working towards drafting a new Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 2016 to meet the current regulatory requirements related to safety, efficacy and quality of drugs. For the government, pharmaceuticals was a priority sector, therefore it was critical to ensure that its regulations are strengthened. He added that there should be a standard format of prescriptions.

In his presentation Mr. Jayant Singh, Director, Frost & Sullivan, said that e-pharmacy was one of the technology advancements that is about to create a huge demand in the upcoming days. There was a huge demand for access models that help patients and consumers avail the convenience of medicine delivery without having to leave their homes. With the use of technology and access to inventory of multiple stores at a time, e-pharmacies can aggregate supplies, making otherwise-hard-to-find medicines available to consumers across the country.

Dr. Manisha Shridhar, Regional Adviser, World Health Organization, said that for sale of online drugs, in the EU legitimate online pharmacies will have to carry a logo and India could learn from their processes and create its own logo for e-pharmacy. She added that there was a need to work on Direct to Consumer (DTC) as with emergence of e-pharmacy many issues will emerge that would need to be deliberated upon.

In his presentation on the consumer survey, Mr. Afaq Hussain, Director, BRIEF Market Research, said that 90 per cent of the respondents were willing to buy medicines online as epharmacy brings with the convenience of ordering from mobile applications; all required medicines are available at one store/website; home delivery of medicines; better quality of medicines; better pricing and e-bill for tacking and reimbursement.

In his Special Address Mr. Arvind Gupta, Founder & Head, Digital India Foundation, said that there was a need to look at e-pharmacy sector in a comprehensive manner keeping in view the entire healthcare chain. He added that the Aadhar number should be integrated when a person seeks drugs from e-pharmacy to monitor drug abuse and its misuse. He added that there was a need to standardize labs to create digi lockers where the patients records are safely documented for reference by doctors.

Mr. Prashant Tandon, Founder & CEO, 1MG, Core Member, FICCI E-Commerce Committee, said that digital tracking and monitoring will take Digital India forward. The Drugs and Cosmetics Act does not address many concerns, hence incremental steps were required to ensure access to quality medicines at affordable price. He added that e-pharmacy sector needs guidelines to function smoothly.

Dr. A Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI, said that there was an urgent need to nurture the e-pharmacy sector with the right set of policy frameworks and guidelines in order to provide the benefits that the sector fosters for the consumers. As one of the key agenda of the Government has been to provide easy, quality and affordable access of health services to the consumers, the evolving concept of e-pharmacy will definitely give an impetus to the health sector of the country

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