The new pharma pricing policy aims to bring prices of 348 essential drugs under control
New Delhi: The Indian government has cleared the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Policy (NPPP) that will bring 348 essential drugs under price control, leading to reduction in prices, reports PTI.
"The National Pharmaceutical Pricing policy has been approved by the Cabinet with an objective to put in place a regulatory framework for pricing of drugs to ensure their availability at reasonable prices," an official source said.
At present, the government through the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) controls prices of 74 bulk drugs and their formulations.
A source said the pricing now would be based on simple average of rates of all brands which have more than 1% market share.
Another source said the government has also considered providing sufficient opportunity for innovation and competition to support the growth of the Indian pharma industry.
Last month, the Supreme Court had set a deadline of 27th November for the government to finalise the policy while asking it not to alter the existing mechanism of cost-based drug pricing.
Earlier, a group of ministers, headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar proposed to fix prices based on weighted average of brands which have more than 1% market share.
The GoM had met after the Cabinet had deferred a decision on it following objections from the Finance Ministry.
The policy, that aims to bring 348 essential drugs under price control, was earlier approved by the GoM on 27th September and was subsequently sent to the Cabinet.
After being unable to frame a policy for price control of essential drugs in its previous term, the UPA-II government had last year circulated a draft National Pharmaceutical Pricing Policy, 2011 through the Department of Pharmaceuticals.
The policy, however, took long to finalise due to differences between ministries of health and chemicals and fertilisers. Other stakeholders, industry and NGOs had also expressed their concerns on the pricing model which was suggested.
In 2010-11 the production turnover of the Indian pharma sector stood at Rs1.05 lakh crore and the country is the third largest producer of medicines by volume in the world. It exports to over 200 countries.
The move is expected to help India in cutting down its oil bill for 100 crore litres of petrol and also help in reducing carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions by around 15%
New Delhi: Mandatory mixing of 5% ethanol in petrol will be implemented across the country from next month, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) decided, a step which will help the country save around 100 crore litres of fuel every year, reports PTI.
In 2009, the CCEA had decided to mix 5% ethanol in petrol but it could not be implemented due to opposition by some sections in the chemical and petroleum sectors.
"The 5% mandatory ethanol blending with petrol should be implemented across the country, for which the Petroleum Ministry will issue a gazette notification in a next few days, for oil companies to implement from 2012-13 sugar season, effective from 1 December 2012," an official release said.
"The CCEA also decided that the price of bio-ethanol, to be mixed with petrol, would be decided by oil-marketing companies and its suppliers," it said.
The ethanol-blending programme is presently being implemented in a total of 13 states with blending level of about 2% against a mandatory target of 5%.
In the backdrop of reservations against the proposal that domestic suppliers would not be able to meet the supply requirements, the government has also allowed import of ethanol in case of shortfalls.
The proposal moved by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is expected to help the country in cutting down the oil bill for 100 crore litres of petrol and also help in reducing carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions by around 15%.
Ethanol is a by-product of sugarcane.
States such as Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra are the largest producers and can be developed as major suppliers of it, officials said.
At the current market price, the 9.5% stake sale of NTPC is likely to fetch Rs13,000 crore for the exchequer
New Delhi: Pushing forward its disinvestment agenda, the Indian government has approved sale of its 9.5% stake in the country's largest power producer NTPC that could fetch as much as Rs13,000 crore, reports PTI.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), at its meeting, gave the green signal for NTPC disinvestment by way of offer for sale through stock exchanges.
The approval comes a day ahead of the 4% stake sale in Hindustan Copper Ltd (HCL) -- the government's maiden disinvestment in the current fiscal. The government has set a target of mopping up Rs30,000 crore through sale of shares in various public sector companies.
"After the disinvestment, Government of India's shareholding in the company would come down to 75%. The paid up equity capital of the company, as on 31 March 2012, is Rs8,245.46 crore," an official statement said.
The President of India holds 84.5% stake in the company, it added.
At the current market price, the stake sale (over 78.33 crore shares) is likely to fetch Rs13,000 crore for the exchequer. Shares of NTPC today closed at Rs 163.70, up 1.05% at the BSE.
The disinvestment would help NTPC to comply with the minimum public shareholding norms.
Meanwhile, the government has decided to re-allocate three coal blocks that were taken away from NTPC for delay in the development of those mines, sources said.
With the re-allocation of coal blocks, the overall valuation of NTPC is expected to go up. This would help the government to get higher returns from the proposed share sale.
NTPC became a listed company in 2004. Thereafter in 2009, government further diluted its stake in the power producer.