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GOVERNMENT TENDERS WORTH ABOUT `30,000 CRORE CANCELLED
Restrictive and discriminative tender practices prevent participation of domestic companies in government procurement, hurting ‘Make in India’ initiatives. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) from time to time has intervened to change conditions in those tenders in order to promote ‘Made in India’ goods. “Many of the restrictive and discriminative tender practices have been identified. Almost `30,000 crore (worth) of tenders have been cancelled because of discriminatory practices,” DPIIT Secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra said. The department is taking every step for effective implementation of public procurement order, 2017, to promote ‘Made in India’ products.
The government issued the order on June 15, 2017, to promote manufacturing and production of goods and services in India and enhance income and employment in the country. Under the Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) Order, it was envisaged that all central government departments, their attached or subordinate offices and autonomous bodies controlled by the Government of India should ensure that purchase preference be given to domestic suppliers in government procurement.
The secretary said government departments and public sector companies should give preference to local players. “The government has taken many initiatives like Make in India, ease of doing business, investor facilitation, FDI reforms, new infrastructure creation and various outreach programs to increase share of manufacturing in GDP and create 100 million jobs by 2024,” said Mohapatra.
GOVT OF TELANGANA AND MEDTECHCONNECT LAUNCH ‘PROJECT TEJ’ TO ACCELERATE INNOVATIONS
I n a bid to accelerate and encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to test their innovative ideas in the field of medical technologies, the Telangana government and MedTechConnect, founded by Cyient and Xynteo’s India2022 coalition, recently joined hands to launch a new initiative called Project Tej. With an endeavour to support the adoption of indigenous and cost-effective innovations in medical technologies, a Memorandum of Understanding was inked between Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad (RICH) and MedTechConnect. The primary focus of the project would be to launch test beds for large-scale clinical validation, usability assessment, and business model evaluation in real-world clinical settings for late-stage medical technologies. It also aims to provide structured mentoring, commercial access, and facilitate market access to validated technologies in public and private healthcare channels.
The project will accelerate cost-effective innovations in medical technologies in India’s public health systems by bringing together an alliance of industry, hospitals, start-ups, and ecosystem builders in the medtech space. Project Tej, a programme managed by MedTechConnect, has the support of more than 25 institutions across India. On behalf of RICH and MedTechConnect partners, Cyient and Xynteo have helped shape this initiative and are key partners in the project.
Source: www.health.economictimes. indiatimes.com
WHO SAYS CORONAVIRUS: COVID-19 IS NOW OFFICIALLY A PANDEMIC
The COVID-19 viral disease that has swept into at least 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people is now officially a pandemic, the World Health Organization announced on March12, 2020. “This is the first pandemic caused by coronavirus,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared at a briefing in Geneva. It’s the first time the WHO has called an outbreak a pandemic since the H1N1 “swine flu” in 2009. Even as he raised the health emergency to its highest level, Tedros said hope remains that COVID-19 can be curtailed. And he urged countries to take action now to stop the disease. Eight countries including the US are now each reporting more than 1,000 cases of COVID-19, caused by the coronavirus that has infected nearly 120,000 people worldwide. The WHO is “deeply concerned, both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction” by world leaders in response to the outbreak, Tedros said. “We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic,” he said. By dubbing COVID-19 a pandemic, the WHO is placing it in a different category than several recent deadly outbreaks, including the recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Zika virus outbreak in 2016 and the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
All three of those outbreaks were deemed to be international emergencies. In the last pandemic, the H1N1 influenza virus killed more than 18,000 people in more than 214 countries and territories, according to the WHO. In recent years, other estimates have put H1N1’s toll even higher. Still, Tedros said that people should not fear the designation and that it should not be taken to mean that the fight against the virus is over. “Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by the virus,” Tedros said. “It doesn’t change what WHO is doing. And it doesn’t change what countries should do.” The WHO had declared the outbreak a global health emergency in January, as cases surged in China, where the novel coronavirus was first detected. In Italy, more than 630 people have died of COVID-19, and the total number of cases continues to rise sharply. The country now has 10,000 cases, second only to China. There are 9,000 cases in Iran and more than 7,700 in South Korea. Those four nations are all imposing drastic measures in an attempt to slow the spread of the COVID-19 illness, which has a higher fatality rate for elderly people and those with underlying health conditions. Those countries also have more than 90% of current cases, Tedros noted, adding that both China and South Korea have had success in reining in their epidemics. Data from China, he said, showed that the number of new cases there peaked in late January and early February.
“We cannot say this loudly enough, or clearly enough, or often enough: All countries can still change the course of this pandemic,” Tedros said. However, the viral disease continues to spread around the globe. “In the Americas, Honduras, Jamaica and Panama, are all confirming coronavirus infections for the first time,” NPR’s Jason Beaubien reports. “Elsewhere, Mongolia and Cyprus are also now reporting cases.” As the outbreak has ballooned, so has speculation that the WHO would declare it a pandemic. But Tedros said WHO experts had previously determined that the scale of the coronavirus’ impact didn’t warrant that description. And he noted that declaring the outbreak a pandemic would raise the risk of a public panic. It’s now up to other countries to prove they can stop the disease, Tedros reiterated. “The challenge for many countries who are now dealing with large clusters or community transmission is not whether they can do the same,” he said. “It’s whether they will.” “People, we’re in this together — to do the right things with calm and protect the citizens of the world,” Tedros said as he concluded his remarks. “It’s doable.”
CSIR-CDRI SCIENTIST BAGS SERB WOMEN EXCELLENCE AWARD
Dr. Niti Kumar, Senior Scientist from Division of Molecular Parasitology and Immunology, CSIRCentral Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow, has won the SERB Women Excellence Award for the year 2020. Dr. Niti Kumar received the Award from the President of India during National Science Day Celebrations on February 28, 2020, at Vigyan Bhawan. This is a huge recognition of her research group work on understanding the protein quality control machinery in human malaria parasite.
The study could well lead to finding an alternative drug for malaria intervention. Instituted by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Department of Science and Technology, Government of India (SERB-DST), the award is given to women scientists below 40 years of age who have received recognition from other national academies. The award constitutes a research grant of Rs 5 lakh per annum for 3 years. Dr. Niti Kumar has many awards and recognitions to her credit. Some of the prominent ones include: Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award (DBTIYBA, 2015); INSA Medal for Young Scientist (2010) by Indian National Science Academy; Ramalingaswami Fellowship (2013-2018); EMBO Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2010- 2012); Alexander von Humboldt Fellow (2010); Max Planck Postdoctoral Fellowship at Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (2009); and Marie Curie Early Stage Research Fellowship by European Union under 6th Framework Programme (2005-2006).
Source: India Science Wire