The India after Lock down- Perspective & Suggestions



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Dated:  25.04.2020

Important Measures taken, opportunities & revamp required in India amid COVID-19 & post lockdown

We face the greatest challenge at the start of the millennia right here right now. These are very challenging times & needs very strong & resonating decisions to ride the waves of pessimism & uncertainty to overcome collectively. The mood of the business & the Govt. is worry some; of course there is a reason to be so however there is no ESCAPADE from this crisis.

This crisis has certainly forced most of us to see at things in a different way & going forward Digitization of Businesses & processes will even be more critical & mandatory for the Government as well as Corporates, MSME’s & small Businesses.

I have few suggestions which the Government may consider implementing in the short & long term basis to revive the business sentiments & minimize job losses any further across Industry

  1. Confirmed Tax Breaks for a period of 6 Months or at least deferred Tax payments – Agriculture, Manufacturing & Services
  2. Revise the interest on the late payment charges on direct & indirect tax deposits- burdened industry will have a respite
  3. Government should revise the incentives or sops for promoting Exports rather than curbing during this pandemic as it opens up bigger opportunities for Indian manufacturers in the overseas market- Putting a carpet ban on the exports of Masks, Sanitizers, PPE or Coveralls etc. is a classic example of short sightedness of the Policy makers
  4. Set up product wise special manufacturing zones across India and incentivize the investing company by granting approvals through single window within a defined time period and with a conditionality of engaging min 40-50% work force from the local area or vicinity- to minimize the migration of skilled and unskilled work force from one region of India to the other
  5. Spending on R&D has to be boosted under the various industry verticals where even the private players has to mandatorily allocate budget and provision for R&D to boost research- This can enhance quality of products & services across the board
  6. Set up specialized procurement and distribution hubs- through PPP mode and enhance the storage capacities across the board for different industry verticals & product categories
  7. The Logistics division under the Min of commerce should be entrusted with the task of setting up a ONE STOP web based system for Logistics and REAL time Inventory management with provisioning and different interfaces for Stakeholders
  8. Develop the coastal areas further with the state of the art warehouses and distribution points for coastal movement of goods & relax the coastal movement policies under the Indian Customs Act and Maritime Acts-This can considerably engage the local population in terms of job opportunities & reducing the transportation cost considerably
  9. Create a Robust IT platform and further leverage the potential of Digital India programme by allowing more investments in innovation and digitization processes- Target should be to achieve 100% migration towards e-Governance
  10. Thrusting more on Education, Services Sector, Agriculture, Healthcare, Pure Manufacturing not  just Assembly
  11. IT networking for Agriculture based activities
  12. Promote Technological Innovation in Agricultural production and cultivation methodology
  13. Setting up of specialized Manufacturing hubs with Geographically spatial distribution industry & vertical wise- e.g. Pharmaceutical companies in Baddi/Solan (HP), Pant Nagar/Rudrapur (Uttarakhand), Mining in Jharkhand, Agri Tech in Bihar & West Bengal & North East India, Heavy Manufacturing in Gujarat/Maha/TN, Cement in Chattisgarh/MP, Warehousing clusters near Coastal areas
Views & Suggestions Authored by- Ravi Shekhar Jha (Personal Views) 

‘Direct Marketing’ helps decongest Mandis and facilitates timely marketing of farm produce during lockdown

Government of India has been making concerted efforts to facilitate farmers in direct marketing and assure better returns.  At the same time the Department issued advisories to maintain social distancing in the mandis to prevent the spread of Corona Virus in the wake of COVID19 pandemic. The States have been requested to promote the concept of ‘Direct marketing’ to facilitate farmers/ group of farmers/FPOs/ Cooperatives in selling their produce to bulk buyers/big retailers/processors etc.

The Union Agriculture Minister Shri Narendra Singh Tomar sent a letter on 16th April, 2020 to the Chief Ministers of States reiterating the need for direct marketing through Cooperatives/ Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) etc and encouraged all the stakeholders and farmers to adopt this process. The Department also issued an advisory to the States to promote direct marketing without insisting for licensing procedures and facilitate the farmers in timely marketing of farm produce.

In order to decongest wholesale markets & to boost the supply chain, following two modules under National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) have been introduced:

  1. FPO Module: FPOs can directly trade with e-NAM portal. They can upload produce details from collection centers with picture/quality parameter and avail the bidding facility without physically reaching to the mandis.
  2. Warehouse Based Trading Module: Farmers can sell their produce from Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) registered warehouses notified as deemed market, and do not physically bring the produce to the nearest mandis.

Various States have adopted Direct Marketing and taken several measures:

  • Karnataka exempted Cooperative Institutions and FPOs in the State for engaging in wholesale trade of agricultural produce outside the market yards;
  • Tamil Nadu exempted market fee on all notified agricultural produce;
  • Uttar Pradesh allowed trading in e-NAM platform from  farm  gate  and promoted  issuance of unified licence to processors  for direct purchase from farmers and  also allowed FPOs to undertake procurement operations of wheat;
  • Rajasthan allowed direct marketing by traders, processors  and  FPOs. In addition to that, Primary Agriculture Credit Societies (PACS)/Large Area Multi-purpose Cooperative Societies (LAMPS) in Rajasthan have been declared as deemed markets.
  • Apart from Individuals, firms, and processing units, Madhya Pradesh  has allowed to set up private purchase centres outside the market–yard to purchase directly from farmers with an application fee of Rs. 500/- only.
  • Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Gujarat have also allowed direct marketing without requirement of any licence.
  • Uttarakhand has declared Warehouse/Cold storage and Processing plants as sub-mandis.
  • Uttar Pradesh Government has recently relaxed the rules and norms for declaring warehouses/ cold storages as Market-yards.

Impact of Direct Marketing:

  • Rajasthan has issued more than 1,100 direct marketing licences to processors during lockdown period wherein farmers have already started selling directly to the processors.  Out of more than 550 PACS declared as market-yards in rural areas, 150 PACS have become functional for direct marketing and village traders are performing trade transactions successfully.
  • Due to market fee waiver in Tamil Nadu, it was observed that traders have preferred to buy the produce from farmers from their farm gate/ villages.
  • In Uttar Pradesh direct linkages have been established by FPOs with farmers and traders thereby supplying their produce to consumers in cities which saved wastages and directly benefitted the farmers. Further, the State has facilitated in establishing linkages with FPOs and Zomato Food Delivery App thereby ensuring smooth distribution of veggies to consumers.

As per the report received from the States, the Direct Marketing has facilitated the famers groups, FPOs, Cooperatives and all the stakeholders in effective and timely marketing of farm produce.

Source: PIB, Govt of India

CSIR-IICT initiatives to reduce dependency for APIs and drug intermediates

Active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and intermediates are the key components of any drug that produces the intended effects. India is largely depended especially on China for supply of APIs and drug intermediates. Now Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), Hyderabad, is collaborating with another Hyderabad-based integrated pharmaceutical company, LAXAI Life Sciences, to develop and manufacture APIs and drug intermediates. The initiative may help in reducing the dependency of the Indian pharmaceutical sector on Chinese imports of these ingredients.

IICT, a laboratory under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), is working with LAXAI for synthesis of drugs being used in the fight against the Corona Virus.  The collaboration will primarily focus on Umifenovir, Remdesivir and a key intermediate of Hydroxy Chloroquine (HCQ).

India, one of the largest producers of anti-malarial drug HCQ, has seen a spurt in demand in the recent weeks. India has sent HCQ to over 50 countries over the last few days, including the United States. The collaboration will result in a cost-effective process with minimal dependency on China for key raw materials. In addition, Remdesivir, which has been previously administered to Ebola virus patients, is currently under clinical trials to evaluate efficacy and safety against COVID -19.

Realizing that drug security and undisrupted access to essential medicines are critical for public health, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, has approved a special package for promotion of bulk drug manufacturing in India and reduction of our dependence on China.

LAXAI Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd. was established in the year 2007, with a vision to accelerate the discovery chemistry campaign of global pharmaceutical companies. Today LAXAI has grown into an integrated pharmaceutical company with presence in API / formulation development as well as API manufacturing.

The collaboration will use the know-how for commercial manufacturing of the products. LAXAI Life Sciences shall be one of the first few to commercialize these products.  The manufacturing of these APIs and intermediates will be taken up at U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA)/Good manufacturing practice (GMP) approved plants held by LAXAI through its subsidiary, Therapiva Private Limited.

Source: PIB, Govt of India

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