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Union Government allows pharmaceutical companies to hike rates of 509 essential medicines

Union government has allowed pharmaceutical companies to hike rates of 509 essential medicines by 3.84 per cent. The new prices will be effective from 1 April 2015.

In this regard, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has issued a notification under Drug Price Control Order (DPCO), 2013 in line with the wholesale price index of 2014.

These essential medicines are used for treating various ailments like hepatitis B and C, diabetes, and cancer.

Presently, Union government regulates prices of a total of 348 essential medicines based on the simple average of all medicines in a particular therapeutic segment with sales of more than 1 per cent.

Union government also regulates prices of all other medicines and pharma companies are allowed to hike prices of such drugs by only up to 10 per cent in a year.

DPCO, 2013 was notified by the Union government with an effect from May 2014. It has replaced the 1995 order that regulated prices of only 74 bulk drugs and covers 680 formulations.


India registers record production of nuclear fuel

India has registered a major milestone for the nuclear industry by producing record nuclear fuel i.e. producing over 1,252 Metric Tonne (MT) of uranium bundles.

Hyderabad-based Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC) has contributed to achieve this milestone by producing over 30 per cent more fuel compared to its 961.023 MT fuel production in 2013-14.

The recorded production also has exceeded country’s annual fuel requirement of 650 MT for the Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs). This surplus nuclear fuel production can last for at least a few months.

Nuclear fuel production in India

  • Since 2008, the nuclear fuel production in the country has seen a steady increase.
  • This increase in production has been attributed to the Indo-US nuclear deal and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) which had simplified the process of acquiring uranium.
  • In 2008-09, NFC had produced 226.89 MT nuclear fuel, prior to signing Indo-US nuclear deal in 2008.
  • But after the Indo-US nuclear deal the production had increased to 600.91 MT in 2009-10.

At present, India produces around 5,780 megawatts (MW) of nuclear power. Of this total power produced 4,780 MW of electricity is generated by fuel processed at the NFC.


PM Narendra Modi launches MUDRA Bank to provide credit to small entrepreneurs

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8 April 2015 launched Micro Units Development Re-finance Agency (MUDRA) Bank in New Delhi.

MUDRA Bank will act as a regulator for ‘Micro-Finance Institutions’ (MFIs) involved in manufacturing, trading and service activities to promote their growth.

The Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana will be the main support system for the bank and will be the part of Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI).

The MUDRA bank was proposed in Budget 2015-16 by Union Government with an initial corpus of 20,000 crore rupees. Apart from this, 3,000 crore rupees also has been earmarked as credit guarantee corpus.

The envisaged roles for MUDRA Bank include

  • Formulate policy guidelines for micro-enterprise financing business and registration of MFI entities.
  • Undertake rating and accreditation of MFI entities.
  • Develope standardized set of guidelines in order to govern last-mile lending to micro enterprises.
  • Promote appropriate technology solutions for the last mile.
  • Formulate and operate a credit guarantee schemes in order to provide guarantees to loans and portfolios that are extended to micro enterprises.
  • Support promotional and development activities in the sector and create a good architecture for last-mile credit delivery.

MUDRA Bank will provide financing on 3 stages- Shishu, Kishore and Tarun.

  • Shishu is first stage in which loan cover upto Rs 50,000 will be given to a business entity at start of business.
  • Kishore is second stage in which loan cover ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh will be given.
  • Tarun is the third stage in which loan cover up to Rs. 10 lakh will be given.