The government has decided to set up the National Medical Devices Promotion Council (NMDPC) to boost manufacturing, attract investments and promote exports in the medical device sector which is a sunrise sector.
- The Medical Devices Industry (MDI) plays a critical role in the healthcare ecosystem in the country.
- Having self-reliance in medical devices is important to achieve the goal of health for all citizens of the country. It will also help in reducing an import bill of over Rs 31, 000 crore in the medical devices sector.
- As Indian manufacturing companies and startups move towards creating innovative products, the setting-up of the Council will boost domestic manufacturing in this sector.
- Medical Devices Development Council will help in making India top 5 Medical Devices manufacturing hubs worldwide.
- The Council will be headed by Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
- Council will have representatives from concerned departments of Government, health care industry and quality control institutions.
- Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone, Visakhapatnam, will provide technical support to the Council.
- The National Medical Devices Promotion Council will have the following objectives and activities:
- Act as a facilitating and promotion & developmental body for the Indian MDI.
- Hold periodic seminars, workshops, and all related networking activities to garner views of the industry.
- Identify redundant processes and render technical assistance to the agencies and government departments to simplify the approval processes.
- Enable entry of emerging interventions and support certifications for manufacturers to reach levels of global trade norms and lead India to an export-driven market in the sector.
- Support dissemination and documentation of international norms and standards for medical devices, by capturing the best practices in the global market.
- Drive a robust and dynamic Preferential Market Access (PMA) policy.
- Undertake validation of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) and other such entities within the MDI sector.
Sunrise Sector: An industry that produces new types of products or services, especially one that is expected to grow quickly. For example the food processing industry, space tourism, biotechnology etc.
The Medical Devices Industry in India
- The Medical Devices industry in India has steadily grown and is valued at more than $5 billion.
- As per industry estimates, the Indian medical devices market will grow to USD 50 billion by 2025.
- Currently, India is counted among the top 20 global medical devices market and is the 4th largest medical devices market in Asia after Japan, China, and South Korea.
- Up to 100% Foreign Direct Investment is permitted in Medical devices through the automatic route.
Challenges to Medical Device industry in India
- Low Penetration - The per capita medical device spending of USD 3, compared to USD 7 in China and USD 42 in Russia is significantly low.
- Lack of Accessibility - The Indian healthcare system is inadequate, inefficient, and unevenly distributed. 69% of the Indian population lives in rural areas, while 73% of qualified consulting doctors reside in urban areas. Eight percent of qualified doctors are in rural areas, and the remaining 19% are in semi-rural areas.
- Inadequate regulatory systems- Non-alignment with global standards and the lack of quality product testing infrastructure are issues that hinder sectoral progress.
- Real estate prices and high capital costs limit the growth of delivery infrastructure.
- Insufficient attention by policymakers and a complex tax regime are also responsible for the sector’s underdevelopment.
- The lack of a comprehensive policy and focus to develop the healthcare eco-system.
- The limited attractiveness of India as a destination for medical devices due to uncertain regulations and pricing environment, unavailability of skilled resources, and ease of doing business compared to other comparable destinations in Asia.
- Lack of innovation and customization resulting in fewer options available to the patients.
Ministry of Power has launched the Energy Conservation- New Indian Way for Affordable & Sustainable Homes (ECO Niwas) Samhita 2018, an Energy Conservation Building Code for Residential Buildings (ECBC-R) to give a further fillip to India’s energy conservation efforts.
- The Code was launched on the occasion of National Energy Conservation Day 2018 which is celebrated every year on 14th of December by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE).
- The code focuses on building envelope, mechanical systems and equipment including heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, interior and exterior lighting systems, electrical system and renewable energy.
- It also takes into account the five climates zones (Hot Dry, Warm Humid, Temperate, Composite and Cold) present in India.
- However, it addresses only energy efficiency of buildings. Water and other aspects are not covered under it.
- It aims to benefit the occupants and the environment by promoting energy efficiency in design and construction of homes, apartments and townships.
- Implementation of this Code will have potential for energy savings to the tune of 125 Billion Units of electricity per year by 2030, which is equivalent to about 100 million ton of CO2 emission.
- The Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) was launched in 2007 by the BEE to set energy efficiency standards for design and construction of buildings as a first step towards promoting energy efficiency in the building sector.
Bureau of Energy Efficiency
- BEE is a statutory body under Ministry of Power which was setup in 2002 under the provisions of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
- It is mandated to implement policy and programmes in the area of energy efficiency and conservation.
- Other agencies that promote energy efficiency in buildings:
- LEED-India – Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) is an international recognized certification system for the green buildings. The LEED-India Green Building Rating System is an international benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings (provided by IGBC).
- IGBC Ratings – The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) is a division of the Confederation of Indian Industry that works closely with the government and aims at sustainably built environment.
- TERI GRIHA – The Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) is a national rating system for green buildings that is adopted while designing and evaluating new buildings.
India Post Launches E-commerce Portal
- The Department of Post, under Ministry of Communications, has launched an e-Commerce portal.
- It will provide an e-marketplace to sellers who have been left behind in e-Commerce space like rural artisans, self-help groups, women entrepreneurs, state and central PSUs and autonomous bodies to sell their products to buyers across the country.
- India Post will be able to leverage its vast postal network for e-commerce services for doorstep delivery of products.
India Post’s Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana
- Department of Posts, under Ministry of Communications, has presented scholarship to students under Deen Dayal SPARSH (Scholarship for Promotion of Aptitude & Research in Stamps as a Hobby) Yojana.
- Deen Dayal SPARSH yojana was launched to promote philately.
- Under this annual scholarships is awarded to children of Standard VI to IX having good academic record and also pursuing Philately as a hobby through a competitive selection process in all postal circles.
- Department of Post under Ministry of Communications, presented the Meghdoot Award to Grameen Dak Sevaks and employees of the department.
- The scheme of National awards known as ‘Meghdoot Awards’ was instituted in the year 1984 to provide encouragement to the postal employees by recognizing performance of high standard.
- The awards given for outstanding contribution in the sphere of official work are given in eight categories.
Mahila Kisan Awards
- DD Kisan under Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has launched a first-of-its-kind reality show 'Mahila Kisan Awards'. The show will see participation of women farmers from across India.
- The format of the show will include two women farmers talking about their achievements in each episode. Judges will score these contestants based on their assessment.
- The five contestants who get the highest scores during the show will reach the finals, where one of them will be declared the winner.
- The show is also expected to act as a source of inspiration for lakhs of women across the country watching the show.
Jnanpith Award conferred on Amitav Ghosh
- Amitav Ghosh has won the 54th Jnanpith award (Jnanpith Award-2018) for his contribution to literature.
- It is the first time since its inception that the Jnanpith is awarded to a writer in English language.
- He was born in 1956, and writes both fiction and non-fiction. He has written many novels and essays. Few of his important works are: Circle of Reason, In An Antique Land, The Shadow Lines (this novel won him Sahitya Akademi award), Trilogy about the opium trade and colonialism- 'Sea of Poppies', 'River of Smoke' and 'Flood of Fire'.
- His most recent book, The Great Derangement; Climate Change and the Unthinkable, was released in 2016.
- He has also won the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Padma Shri.
- The award was established in 1961. It is presented annually by the Bharatiya Jnanpith to an author for their "outstanding contribution towards literature". It is bestowed only on living Indian writers writing in Indian languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India and English.
- The previous Jnanpith winners include India's greatest writers across its many languages, like Mahasweta Devi, Amrita Pritam, UR Ananthamurthy and Shrilal Shukla.
HC Quashes Centre’s Ban on Oxytocin Manufacture
- The Delhi high court quashed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's decision to ban the manufacture and sale of Oxytocin. The court said the decision was arbitrary, unreasonable and unscientific.
- It termed the ban “arbitrary and unreasonable”, which did not seem to be based on any scientific study. The court also observed that oxytocin was an essential life saving drug.
- Earlier this year, the government had restricted the manufacture of oxytocin formulations for domestic use to public sector only. The state-run Karnataka Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Ltd (KAPL) was solely allowed to produce the drug for domestic use.
- The court observed that the Centre’s decision to allow only a single, state-run entity with no prior experience in manufacturing Oxytocin may lead to scarcity of the drug which can cause increase in maternal fatalities, during childbirth, impairing lives of thousands of innocent young mothers.