Citizens' Issues
New code system to check spurious medicines soon: Drug Controller General
Counterfeiters are lurking in the dark and there's no guarantee that the medicines sold from the drug stores across India are all genuine. A consumer cannot tell whether the pharma product wrapped in sleek packaging isn't fake.
 
India is yet to adopt international solutions which are necessary to authenticate medicines and pharmaceutical products that millions of people depend on to combat health conditions. Unlike Pakistan, India doesn't have a system with which the consumer can check whether a medicine is genuine.
 
"The counterfeiters here are successful because we are not making their task difficult and not making this business less profitable for them," U.K Gupta, President of Authentication Solutions Providers Association, told IANS.
 
"The counterfeiters can pursue their business because of non-adoption of authentication solutions, inadequate surveillance efforts by brand owners to identify counterfeit products and lack of consumer awareness," he said.
 
According to Gupta, the product packaging is easily copied due to availability of packaging raw materials in the neighbouring countries.
 
So what needs to be done?
 
"We already have a barcode system to check the authenticity of medicines that are exported. Through this system we can keep at bay all types of spurious and fake medicines," Drug Controller General of India G.N. Singh told IANS.
 
"However, we do not have any system to check the medicines that come to India and the medicines that are sold in India," he added.
 
But it's a different scene in Pakistan where the Drug Regulatory Authority introduced the global unique identification code system to counter the sale of spurious drugs and over-pricing. Under the new system, buyers having smartphones can verify a medicine and its price.
 
Can such a system be implemented in India?
 
Singh said: "The process has already been initiated and within a couple of months we will have a code system like Pakistan to check the spurious medicines".
 
"Documents and the entire plan is with the ministry and they are examining it. This will be a technology-driven system."
 
A large part of the procedure will involve oversight, testing, tracking and analysis of practices.
 
"Adopting authentication solutions is the most important preventive step. The government and brand owners should communicate to the consumers about the authentication features on their product and the means to verify those features," Gupta said.
 
"Hologram is the best tool. These days we have interactive and 3D hologram as well," he added.
 
"The interactive hologram can be verified by a device which tells the consumers about its authenticity. The consumer can check the details of this product by physical verification such as visual checking," Gupta said.
 
"Even a consumer can verify product details from a company's website or by digital authentication of products with features such as barcodes or unique SMS verification codes," he added.
 
A 2014 ASSOCHAM report titled 'Fake and Counterfeit Drugs In India-Booming Biz' stated that around 25 per cent of India's drugs are fake, counterfeit or substandard. The fake drugs market is likely to cross US$ 10-billion mark by 2017.
 
ASSOCHAM had suggested that the government must make it a mandatory for all branded medicines to feature a tracing and tracking mechanism.
 
"The only step required is a strong regulatory oversight with proper testing procedures, and a robust tracing and tracking mechanism. We also must have a centralised depository to analyse the good manufacturing and distribution practices," Bejon Misra, former Chairman of Consumer Coordination Council, told IANS.
 
However, Misra said the "biggest challenge is the lack of trained persons in the state drug regulatory authorities" to curb the menace of fake pharma products.
 
Expressing a similar view, Anil Bansal, former Chairman of Anti Quackery Cell of the Delhi Medical Council, said: "The government should enforce the Pharmacy Act strictly so that the chemists cannot sell any medicine without a doctor's prescription. But it seems that the government is not seriously concerned about the health of the people."
 
According to a World Health Organisation report, every year about one million people die globally due to spurious drugs. Keeping that in mind, India must not lag behind in taking stringent measures to stamp out the counterfeit drugs. Authentication solutions would be a step forward. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Meghalaya seeks exemption from coal mining law
The Meghalaya cabinet on Friday decided to urge the central government to exempt the state from the purview of the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973, following the National Green Tribunal's ban on rat-hole coal mining in the state.
 
"The cabinet has mandated the state's mining and geology department to take up with the central government to exempt coal mining in Meghalaya from the purview of the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973," Chief Minister Mukul Sangma told the media.
 
Section 3 of the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973, states that the right, title, interest of the owners in relation to the coal mines shall vest absolutely with the central government.
 
Following the National Green Tribunal's ban on rat-hole coal mining in the state, the Meghalaya government has taken up with the central government its bid to invoke Para 12 A (b) of the Sixth Schedule through a Presidential notification to exempt the state from the central law.
 
"We have had several discussions on this issue since last year and we have almost completed it. Therefore, the cabinet has mandated the mining and geology department to take up the issue and expedite the process of getting the state exempted from the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973," the chief minister informed the media.
 
Moreover, Sangma said his government had come up with its Mines and Minerals Policy, 2012, to regulate mining activities in the state.
 
The green court had ordered an interim ban on "rat-hole" coal mining in Meghalaya from April 17, 2014, after the All Dimasa Students' Union and the Dima Hasao District Committee filed an application before the tribunal alleging that the water of the Kopili river was turning acidic due to coal mining in Jaintia Hills.
 
Coal mining in Meghalaya is ostensibly part of the "customary tribal rights".
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Government building homes that poor don't want
Over 10 years, the central government spent Rs 21,482 crore ($3.2 billion) building houses for the urban poor but 23% of them are vacant, according to a May 2016 answer to the Lok Sabha.
 
The information that 238,448 of 1,032,433 houses built are empty comes at a time when the proportion of Indians living in slums has risen over five years from 17%  of the urban population to 19%, according to official data, and 19,000 of 33,000 slums are not acknowledged by the government (2012 data).
 
The vacant houses include 224,000 built under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and 14,448 houses under the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) - now discontinued and subsumed into the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana launched in June 2015 - the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation said.
 
“In spite of the continuous efforts by the government, slum dwellers are reluctant to move to the houses built by the government due to lack of proper infrastructure and means of livelihood,” the statement to Parliament said, explaining further that the new houses often lack electricity and water, cheaply available-often through illegal connections-in slums. The new houses are usually not close to workplaces, the ministry acknowledged.
 
“Houses are too far from workplaces, which means additional commuting time and expense,” Kulwant Singh, India advisor, urban basic services, UN-Habitat, wrote in his Hindu Business Line column in January 2016. “In a slum, basic amenities such as electricity and water are often acquired at dirt-cheap prices. There is a certain degree of empathy and firmness that these projects lack, which consequently takes away effectiveness.”
 
Maharashtra (54,282) has the highest number of vacant houses, followed by Andhra Pradesh (24,611), states in which 24% and 35% of the urban population, respectively, lives in slums.
 
Over the last 10 years, Maharashtra got the most money to build housing for slum-dwellers (Rs 3,246 crore), followed by West Bengal (Rs 2,384 crore).
 
Of 683,724 houses sanctioned under PMAY, 0.1%, or 710 houses, have been constructed till now, according to the reply to the Lok Sabha. The government is planning to build 20 million homes under PMAY by 2022.
 
Between 2005 and 2015, Maharashtra had the highest number of sanctioned and constructed houses (175,032/128,386) under JNNURM, followed by West Bengal (171,861/158,667). The JNNURM, originally scheduled to end in 2012, has been extended to March 2017, so houses cleared for construction can be built.
 
The Census of India defines a slum as a residential area where “dwellings are unfit for human habitation (due to) dilapidation, overcrowding, faulty arrangements and design of such buildings, narrowness or faulty arrangement of street, lack of ventilation, light, or sanitation facilities or any combination of these factors”.
 
Maharashtra has more slums than any state (7,723), followed by Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

manoharlalsharma

8 months ago

its' confusing report if CIDCO like organisation announces any scheme public Q up for day/night and make shortfall of application forms.

Asha Paidhungat

8 months ago

In absence of proper infrastructure, electricity & water, nobody would opt to live in these houses, even if they are made available at a low price.Besides, most slum dwellers work as domestic workers or as laborers in industries.It is therefore quite obvious that unless a small township or sector is built in such areas where industries are present to give jobs to these poverty-ridden people they will not be willing to move in these houses.These sectors must be built in such a way that various commodities(Grocery, Medicines, etc) are easily
available at a feasible distance. Government could possibly try persuading them to move in there, giving some kind of incentive for those who agree.

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