Ensuring Other sectors availability is a crucial aspect of the Industrial growth of a nation. In this section, we will cover all the updates issues and concepts related to the Other sectors of India
What are spectrum auctions?
News: Department of Telecommunications (DoT) said on Wednesday (January 6) that auctions for 4G spectrum in the 700, 800, 900, 1,800, 2,100, 2,300, and 2,500 MHz bands will begin from March 1. Licence holders have until February 5 to submit their applications.
What are Spectrum Auctions?
- Devices such as cellphones and wireline telephones require signals to connect from one end to another. These signals are carried on airwaves, which must be sent at designated frequencies to avoid any kind of interference.
- The Union government owns all the publicly available assets within the geographical boundaries of the country which also include airwaves. With the expansion in the number of cellphone, wireline telephone and internet users, the need to provide more space for the signals arises from time to time.
- To sell these assets to companies willing to set up the required infrastructure to transport these waves from one end to another, the central government through the DoT auctions these airwaves from time to time.
- These airwaves are called spectrum which is subdivided into bands which have varying frequencies. All these airwaves are sold for a certain period of time, after which their validity lapses, which is generally set at 20 years.
Why is spectrum being auctioned now?
- The last spectrum auctions were held in 2016.During that time, the government managed to sell only 40% of the spectrum that was put up for sale.
- However, the need for a new spectrum auction has arisen because the validity of the airwaves bought by companies is set to expire in 2021.
Who is likely to bid for the spectrum?
- All three private telecom players, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharti Airtel, and Vi are eligible contenders to buy additional spectrum to support the number of users on their network.
- Apart from these, new companies including foreign companies are also eligible to bid for the airwaves. Foreign companies, however, will have to either set up a branch in India and register as an Indian company or tie up with an Indian company to be able to retain the airwaves after winning them.
New norms for DTH television distribution sector
Synopsis: The reasons why a revised scheme for the Direct-to-Home (DTH) television distribution sector has been brought in.
- Recently, the Union Cabinet has approved a revised scheme for the Direct-to-Home (DTH) television distribution sector which were in due for last 6 years after the TRAI gave its recommendation to reduce the license fee.
- Under the new norms,
- 100% FDI in Direct-to-Home (DTH) television distribution sector has been allowed.
- The licence period has been extended to 20 years from the present 10.
- The license fee has been reduced to 8% of Adjusted Gross Revenue, as opposed to 10% on Gross Revenue now.
What is the need for Direct-to-Home?
- Firstly, The Direct-to-Home (DTH) television distribution sector has been impacted by technological change like high bandwidth Internet and Over the Top (OTT) channels.
- Second, some DTH operators are under pressure as few big DTH players have made their presence on Internet service and OTT as well.
- Third, Fee reduction will address the concerns of petitioners filing the case in SC against high fees which is yet to get hearing.
- Fourth, as per the operators, the amended New Tariff Order (NTO) by TRAI has made them mere carriers of channels, with taking away the pricing power. Thus, high fee is not feasible.
What is the way forward?
- India with an estimated 200 million cable and satellite households serves as one of the biggest single markets for audiences. Any regulation should serve the consumer rather than the businesses.
- The broadcasters must realise that only authentic programming and entertainment along with best combination of technology and pricing can attract viewers.
100% FDI in DTH service
Source: The Hindu
News: Union Cabinet has approved revised guidelines for Direct-to-Home (DTH) broadcasting services.
- Direct to Home(DTH): It enables a broadcasting company to directly beam the signal to your TV set through a receiver that is installed in the house.There is no need for a separate cable connection.
- Advantages of DTH:
- One can do away with the cable operator who will give you channels of his choice.
- The quality of signals in this case is expected to be superior since the signal is not split through a cable.
- There is a possibility of reducing your monthly cable bill.
- Disadvantages: Capital cost has to be borne initially. Since this involves setting up of a receiving apparatus at the subscribers end, the cost can be prohibitively high.
What are the revised guidelines for DTH Services?
- It allowed 100% Foreign direct Investment(FDI) in the direct-to-home (DTH) broadcasting services sector.Currently, FDI was limited to 49%.
- License for the DTH will be issued for a period of 20 years in place of present 10 years.Further the period of License may be renewed by 10 years at a time.
- License fee has been revised from 10% of GR (gross revenue) to 8% of AGR (adjusted gross revenue).License fee will be collected on a quarterly basis against the current annual basis.
- Sharing of Infrastructure between DTH operators. DTH operators, willing to share DTH platforms and transport streams of TV channels on a voluntary basis will be allowed.
INDIAN PHARMACEUTICAL SECTOR CHALLENGES AND REFORMS
- Recently PM follows up his 3 city visit by a virtual meeting with 3 more vaccine developers based in Pune and Hyderabad
- Ambassadors of 100 countries are scheduled to arrive in Pune on December 4, to visit Serum Institute of India and Gennova Biopharma.
Sweden has already acknowledged India’s role as the ‘pharmacy of the world’ and is focusing on expanding bilateral cooperation in the areas of health and life sciences in view of the Coronavirus pandemic.
How big is Indian Pharma Sector?
- From 2000-2019 Pharma sector alone contributed for FDI inflows worth $16.2bn and it is expected to rise during COVID pandemic.
- Recent Economic Survey acclaimed Pharma sector as one of the top 5 sector which reduce trade deficit of India
- More than 80% worlds Anti Retro-viral drugs depend on India
- India is the largest producer of vaccines even before COVID pandemic and controlled more than 50% of global supplies.
- Bio-Pharma is the largest sector contributing to 62% of the total revenue
- It is estimated that medical tourism in the country can grow and become a 9 billion dollars industry this year
- 20% of global generic medicine has been controlled by India.
How Indian Pharma Sector is regulated?
- Under Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 (For Source click here) was the central legislation that regulates India’s drug and cosmetic import, manufacture, distribution and sale.
- The Act clearly defines the spurious drugs, adulterated drugs and mis branded drugs.
- This also established the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO)
- The Act establishes the regulatory control over the manufacture and sale of drugs
- State Health department has to regulate the manufacturing, sales and distribution of drugs
- Drug Inspectors will control the implementation at ground level.
Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) Source
- Central Drug Authority for discharging functions assigned under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act
- The CDSCO works in the Directorate General of Health services, is a division in Ministry of Health and Family welfare
- The CDSCO is headed by Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).
- It was advised by Drug Technical Advisory Board and Drug Consultative Committe
Potential lead for enormous growth of Pharma Sector:
- The growing population of over a billion along with diversity among people offers An excellent centre for clinical trials
- Focus on low cost, efficient drugs lead to growth of the sector in terms of Value and Volume
- Low cost of production and Low R&D costs in India
- A huge patient base from domestic and from foreign as a medical tourist
- Improving healthcare infrastructure in India
- An increase in lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and central nervous system.
- Penetration of health insurance is increased
- Adoption of patented products by Indian Pharma Sector.
- Patent expiration and aging population in the US, Europe, and Japan.
Challenges in the Pharma Sector:
- From regulator side
- Doing a post-mortem kind of work by inspecting the drugs after getting into market
- Low data collection on drugs coupled with insufficient training to drug inspector leading to huge malpractice among drug sellers
- From Marketing side
- Medical representatives and drug sellers inefficient training to meet the man power along with prevalence of Quack(fake doctor) increases risk of life of patients
- Pharma companies unethical pratice of providing freebies and gifts to Doctors to promote their drugs
- Quality is getting compromised due to high demand for drugs among people. This is evident by wide scale recall of drugs in India.
- Low R&D investment: India only invests 0.7% of its GDP for research and investment. This is very low compare to the demand in the sector
- International Challenges
- Global Pharma companies accuse Indian pharma companies as an abuser of Patent laws and criticise India’s Compulsory Licensing Policies.
- India nearly 90% depend on China for its Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients
- Implementing the recommendation of Malshekar committee on drug regulation
- Recommend a new structure for the Drug Regulatory System in the country including the setting up of a National Drug Authority
- Recommended that the State Drug Control Organisations should be urgently strengthened. (for source)
- Creating a Digital Database for patients, drug usage and risk associated with the intake of drug
- Revise the ethical code for Pharma companies to discontinue freebies and gifts
- Government need to Upgrade the quality standards and qualities of Medical representatives and drug sellers.
- Promote country specific research for R&D and increasing the R&D spending
- Rework with the IPR policies to make Indian Pharma companies for encouraging more patents.
- Government need to frame a National Plan on self-sustaining in API’s and avoid over dependence on China.
- Government need to frame a policy to Utilise the traditional Knowledge in drug manufacturing
Though the sector is highly capital intensive, the sector developed into a global leader in Pharma products. Now It is time to implement better policies in regulation and encourage the sector to produce more API’s in India to avoid over dependence.