The end of the cheap Chinese goods era

Factory workers demanding better wages and working conditions are hastening the eventual end of an era of cheap costs that helped make southern coastal China the world’s factory floor.

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States should promote generic drugs: Health minister

"While we pride ourselves in being a country which produces low-cost drugs, yet for many, even these low cost drugs are not available," Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said at a seminar on pharmacy

Ruing the lack of adequate health care for the economically weaker sections, Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today said he has asked state governments to promote generic drugs to help the poverty-stricken get access to medical care, reports PTI.

"While we pride ourselves in being a country which produces low-cost drugs, yet for many, especially weaker sections of the society, even these low cost drugs are not available," Mr Azad said in his address at a seminar on pharmacy.

The minister said he believed that the problem can be addressed by providing generic drugs as compared to branded drugs that are usually prescribed.

"We are requesting the state governments that they should promote generic drugs," he said, adding that doctors should write in prescriptions the names of the generic drugs alongside the branded ones.

"I see a big role for pharmacists in this area as they are the interface between the manufacturers and the buying public," he said.

Mr Azad said there was an urgent need for quality assurance in pharmacy education and this can be done through introduction of new courses, drafting of new regulations for undergraduate and post graduate courses, revising the course curriculum and conducting continuing education programmes for registered pharmacists.

"I am given to understand that the Pharmacy Council of India has addressed this issue through the introduction of an integrated course of six years," he said.

President Pratibha Patil, who inaugurated the seminar, said the Indian pharmaceuticals industry should draw on the resources of indigenous systems of medicine.

"Pharmacy education should be constantly revived and upgraded as it will give students the required exposure," she added.

The Indian pharmaceuticals industry is ranked third in terms of volume and 14th in terms of value.

The total turnover of this sector is over Rs1 lakh crore of which 40% is exported.


Barclays hikes India inflation forecast to 8.25% for FY'11

It added that non-food manufacturing inflation will remain a source of concern during the next six months

Barclays Capital today revised India's wholesale inflation forecast for 2010-11 upward to 8.25% on account of the recent fuel price hike, reports PTI.

"We raise our WPI (wholesale price index) inflation forecast for FY'10-11 to 8.25% per cent from 7% previously," the investment banking division of Barclays Bank Plc said.

The recent hike in fuel prices is likely to increase inflation by 100-150 basis points (bps) (1%-1.5%) for the non-food manufacturing sector over the next three months, it said.

Barclays added that non-food manufacturing inflation will remain a source of concern during the next six months.

"The recently announced fuel price hike will apply further pressure. We expect a second order impact of 100-150 bps on non-food manufacturing inflation in the next three months," it said.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had stressed earlier this week that the impact of the fuel price hike would be less than 1% on overall inflation.

The government had late last month hiked petrol prices by Rs3.5 a litre, while deregulating them. In addition, the price of diesel was raised by Rs2 a litre, that of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) by Rs35 a cylinder and kerosene by Rs3 a litre.

Barclays said, meanwhile, that overall inflation will remain above double-digits till July and over 8% until October.

"By December, assuming monsoon rainfall is plentiful, falling food inflation and lower non-energy commodity prices should bring WPI inflation close to 6%...," it added.

While food inflation eased marginally to 12.63% for the week ended June 26, from 12.92% cent in the previous week, fuel inflation jumped to over 18% during the week. Overall inflation for May stood at 10.16%.

Regarding food prices, Barclays said: "The outlook for food prices remains contingent on monsoon rainfall. We believe food prices will continue their descent if monsoon rainfall turns out to be normal."

It added that the RBI is likely to go for a 25 bps hike in the short-term lending and borrowing rates at its monetary policy review on 27th July.


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