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March 09, 2023
India directed drug manufacturers to stop using propylene glycol sourced from the Delhi-based firm that supplied the ingredient to Marion Biotech, whose cough syrups were linked to deaths of 19 children in Uzbekistan, according to a government document seen by Reuters.
Uzbekistan said in December that the children died after consuming Marion's cough syrups, Ambronol and DOK-1 Max, which were contaminated with unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol or ethylene glycol.
Soon after India suspended the pharmaceutical company's production. Police this month arrested three Marion employees after tests in a government laboratory found 22 of 36 syrup samples "adulterated and spurious".
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) said in a letter, sent to all state licensing authorities on Tuesday, that Delhi-based Maya Chemtech was "mainly" the supplier of the propylene glycol used in the affected batches.
"Accordingly, you are requested to instruct your enforcement officials to keep strict vigil on the matter and take stringent action ... against the offenders in public interest," the DCGI said in the letter.
The company did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment.
The Uzbekistan incident came close on the heels of a similar one in Gambia, where a parliamentary committee linked the deaths of at least 70 children to cough and cold syrups manufactured by New Delhi-based Maiden Pharmaceuticals.
March 09, 2023
To mark the International Women's Day, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today announced an exclusive women's portal for research grants and funds. The portal will become functional with effect from 1st of April.The Minister was addressing the International Women?s Day celebration programme organized by the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) here. He informed that the Council CSIR has decided to start exclusive Research Grants for Women Scientists under CSIR-ASPIRE and an exclusive portal in this regard will be available from April 1, 2023. The Special Call inviting proposals from Women Scientists will open the same day.
Pertinent to mention that the proposal for inviting research grant proposals from Women Scientists under Extramural Research Scheme, was approved during the 200th meeting of the Governing Body of CSIR on 17th December, 2022 under the chairmanship of Dr Jitendra Singh.
Only women scientists across the country will be eligible to apply for research grants to carry out R&D in major disciplines of science and engineering viz Life Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering Sciences and inter/trans disciplinary sciences.
The funds will be provided for staff (JRF/SRF/RA), contingency and minor equipment. The total budget of a research proposal including research fellow?s stipend should generally not exceed the limit of 25-30 lacs.
March 07, 2023
Change in debris cover plays a critical role in the glacier surface lowering, shrinkage, retreat, and mass balance, according to a recent study. Therefore, these factors need to be accounted for in future studies for a complete understanding of the observed glacier changes and responses.
Despite the importance of the Himalayan glaciation, the knowledge of the glacial dynamics and the factors that influence these dynamics is scanty. Recent studies of Himalayan glaciers indicate wide variability in retreat rate and mass balance in different sectors of the mountain range, primarily linked to the topography and climate of the region. However, variable retreat rates of glaciers and inadequate supporting field data (e.g., mass balance, ice thickness, velocity, etc.) of the Himalayan glaciers make it challenging to develop a coherent picture of climate change impact.
One of the significant characteristics of the Himalayan glaciers is that the glaciers are mainly debris-covered and have been receding since the end of the Little Ice Age. The supraglacial debris on the surface of glaciers is commonly found to have significant control over the rate of loss of mass of ice due to sun, wind, or rain (ablation). It has been observed that the thickness of supraglacial debris significantly alters the glacier response to climate forcing.
A team of scientists from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India (An autonomous institute under DST, India), quantitatively evaluated the influence of the debris cover on the loss of ice mass in summer (summer ablation) and on terminus recession of glaciers.
Dr. Manish Mehta and his team studied two glaciers with different characteristics --- the Pensilungpa Glacier (PG) in Suru River and the Durung-Drung Glacier (DDG) in Doda River basins of Zanskar in the Leh district of Ladakh for a comparative study of glacier fluctuations between 1971 and 2019. While a thick debris cover characterizes the PG, the DDG has a thin debris cover, and their comparative analysis helped them trace the influence of various factors on the mass balance process.
They found that the glacier retreat rate is controlled by climate change and the topographic setting and morphology of the glacier. Their comparative study published in the journal Sustainability also confirms the possible influence of factors such as snout geometry, glacier size, elevation range, slope, aspect, debris cover, as well as the presence of supra and proglacial lakes other than the climate in the heterogeneous glacial dynamics and underlined the need to include these in glacial studies.
March 03, 2023
Delegates deliberated on ways of working jointly to solve the energy challenges collectively to achieve carbon emission net-zero goals for environment protection and sustainability at the G20 conference on Materials for Sustainable Energy on 2nd March 2023 at Ranchi.
Dr. S. Chandrasekhar, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology (DST) and RIIG Chair, said that many G20 nations, including India, have enormous minerals and materials wealth that is required to be sustainably used for meeting our energy requirements.
Highlighting the theme of the G20 under India's Presidency, "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" or ?One Earth, One Family, One Future" Dr. N. Kalaiselvi, Secretary, DSIR and DG, CSIR said it underlines the need for the entire world to come together and focus on sustainable energy so that we can have one global future with net zero emissions.
As G20 delegates from Indonesia and Brazil, the other two troika countries, reiterated the importance of the conference, delegates from several countries called upon the G20 nations to join hands for furthering research and developing technological solutions in sustainable energy storage, distribution and management.
Various facets of 'Materials for Sustainable Energy' were discussed under three sessions - 21st century challenges related to energy materials & devices, solar energy utilisation and photovoltaic technology, and materials and processes for green energy.
A total 21 foreign delegates from 16 G20 members countries, invited guest countries and international organisations participated in the conference along with about 40 Indian experts. The Conference was coordinated by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi.
Following this Conference on 'Materials for Sustainable Energy' in Ranchi, three more RIIG events will be held in Dibrugarh (Assam), Dharamshala (HP) and Diu on the themes 'Circular-bio-economy', 'Eco-Innovations for Energy Transition' and 'Scientific Challenges and Opportunities towards Achieving a Sustainable Blue Economy' respectively.
The Centre has proposed a law that empowers it to fix the maximum selling price of fertilisers and control its quality as well as distribution. The Department of Fertilizers has sought comments from all stakeholders on the draft Integrated Plant Nutrition Management Bill, 2022, by February 26.
It also seeks to establish an 'Integrated Plant Nutrition Management Authority of India'.
"It is hereby declared that it is expedient in the public interest that the Union should take under its control the distribution, price and quality of standards of fertilisers," said the draft document posted on the department's website.
The proposed law is aimed at promoting the development and sustainable use of balanced fertilisers, including bio-fertilisers, bio-stimulates, nano-fertilisers and organic fertilisers.
It seeks to simplify the process for the manufacture, production, distribution and price management of fertilisers in India, which will, in turn, improve the ease of doing business.
"The Central Government may, with a view to regulating the equitable distribution of fertilisers and making fertilisers available at fair prices, by notification in the Official Gazette, fix the maximum prices or rates at which any fertiliser may be sold by a dealer, manufacturer, importer or a fertiliser marketing entity," the draft stated.
It also aims to empower the Centre to fix different prices or rates for fertilisers having different periods of storage or for different areas or for different classes of consumers.
"No dealer, manufacturer importer or fertiliser marketing entity shall sell or offer for sale any fertiliser at a price exceeding the maximum price," the draft said.
February 23, 2022
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has green signalled the tendering process for a Rs 1,000-crore project for cleaning up Pune's rivers, Mula, Mutha and Mula-Mutha (confluence of both rivers). The pollution abatement of river Mula-Mutha had been delayed with issues of land acquisition, re-tendering and objection to the project.
The Mula and Mutha rivers are heavily polluted with the city's sewage being dumped into the rivers. The project was aimed at improving the water quality by augmenting sewage collection systems and sewage treatment facilities in Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) area.
JICA's assistance of Rs 1,000 crore would be for mitigation of pollution of Mula, Mutha and Mula-Mutha and also improving the sanitation and living conditions in the city and in the watershed of the downstream area.
The funding would go in for construction of sewer lines, pumping stations and treatment plants for treatment of the sewage before its discharge into Mula, Mutha and Mula-Mutha rivers.
Murlidhar Mohol, Pune city mayor, said the project implemented would involve 55 km trunk lines and adding 11 new sewage treatment plants (STP). These 11 new STPs would together have a capacity of 396 million litres per day (MLD). Work orders would be issued soon by the civic body soon, the mayor said.
The population of Pune is estimated to reach 5.7 million by 2027 and 8.4 million by 2047 and increase the requirement for sewerage proportionately. A total of 744 MLD of sewage is generated in PMC limit and currently about 476 MLD that is treated in nine STPs and discharged into the water.
This expanded network is expected to cater to the sewage generation up to the year 2027. Apart from the 11 STPs, JICA's assistance will cover sewer network of over 113 km, four sewage pumping stations and 24 community toilets. The original agreement for official development assistance for Rs 1,00 crore was signed in January 2016 by the then Union environment minister, Prakash Javadekar, and Kenji Hiramatsu, who was ambassador of Japan to India. It was scheduled for completion by 2021.
February 19, 2022 (N. Delhi)
The government of India is looking to promote 'Heal by India' for strengthening the country's educational institutions in the health sector and enhancing education to churn out quality human resources in health, thus helping them become eligible to work anywhere in the world.
The Union Health Ministry recently organised a Chintan Shivir -- 'Heal by India' for two days.
One of the senior health officials, who attended the event, said that four major points were discussed including training and skills, quality education, employment opportunities and working on providing required amenities like advanced technology to make India's health sector a global source.
"The two-day Chintan Shivir included positioning India as a global source for quality talent for international employers, facilitating gateways for global employment for resident human resources for health and attracting global talent to receive quality education from our educational institutions in the health sector," said an official from Union Health Ministry.
To achieve the objectives under 'Heal by India', the official from the Ministry said that the government of India is also working on assets like well-qualified faculty, no language barrier, availability of advanced technology, positive government policies etc.
A senior official, who attended the Chintan Shivir, said that the 'Heal by India' initiative is meant to generate job opportunities abroad for our trained professionals in the health sector.
"Especially for those that have high demand outside India. It includes almost 50-60 streams like dieticians, nurses, lab technicians, paramedics, OT (operation theatre) attendants, physiotherapists, OT technicians, medical attendants for old age patients care etc. They will be trained under the Skill India programme," the official added.
The officials further informed that another discussion in the Chintan Shivir included a shortage of doctors across the globe and giving aspiring doctors opportunities to study in India.
"We have a shortage of doctors. We can't encourage them to go abroad but we can give them some seats in the developing countries and can open doors for the students from those countries to get medical training in India at top private and government medical colleges of country like twenty AIIMS and other best medical colleges," he said.
Some of the nursing councils have already signed MoU with countries like Japan, Nigeria, Ethiopia etc.
"If we wanted to send our paramedical staff to Ukraine then it's important to know their language, cultural dimensions. A framework has been made to provide such courses," he said
The Union Health Ministry will be organising more Chintan Shivirs. The next Shivir will be based on 'Heal in India', during which the government is looking to promote medical tourism. Under this campaign, the government will focus on strengthening medical infrastructure, improving primary health care, tertiary health care, medical insurance etc will be discussed.
The committee present at Shivir will be further chaired by Dr VK Paul with Secretary (Health), Secretary (Ayush), representatives from NMC, PCR, INC, DCI Invest India, NSDC, MEA, FSSAI, specialists from the private sector as members. There would be 3-4 Sub-committees with specific terms of reference to achieve the goals. A five-year plan of action would be formulated within the timeline of two months.
February 18, 2022 (N. Delhi)
Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today said, India is emerging as world's preferred Start-Up destination due to its vast unexplored potential coupled with ease of business and regulatory environment provided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Dr Jitendra Singh was speaking as chief guest at "India First Tech Start-Up Conclave-2022" and Awards Summit here. He said, the robust ecosystem of Start-ups will play a critical role in ensuring that India achieves its goal of $5 trillion economy by 2025.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that in 2016 itself, Prime Minister Modi had announced from the ramparts of the Red Fort about the Start-Up initiative, followed by Stand-Up India and several such visionary initiatives. He said, due to various schemes, focus and support system provided by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 10,000 Start-Ups got registered in India in 2021 alone. He said, India now has 50,000 plus start-Ups providing more than 2 lakh jobs in the country.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, the recent General Budget of 2022-23 is a "Futuristic Budget with scientific vision and Start-Up incentives". The Minister said that announcements of innovative new initiatives like Digital Rupee, Digital Banking units in 75 districts, Digital University and Start-Ups linked to Artificial Intelligence, Space Technology, and Drone Shakti are examples of digital push and innovative ecosystem that the government wants to promote. He said, exemption of tax for Start-Ups up to 2024 and other incentives for domestic and export sectors will enable India to take a lead in Start-Ups in the World.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, the growth of investment opportunities in tech start-ups in sectors such as state services, healthcare, agriculture, financial services, education, retail, and logistics can generate a huge number of job opportunities and contribute to India's economy. He, however, said that sectors like Dairy, Telemedicine and Deep Sea Ocean Mission must be fully tapped. He said, government is extending full support to promote domestic manufacturing, industry-led research, and the creation of a skilled workforce.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, India is fast becoming a breeding ground for innovations and future trends show opportunities for start-ups to disrupt and innovate with technologies like blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning. The Minister also emphasised that the StartUp culture must spread to India's B-Towns, as this is now mostly confined to Bengaluru, Hyderabad and other big cities. He, however, felt satisfaction over the fact that cities like Delhi, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Chennai, and Jodhpur have also witnessed an increase in economic and start-up activities.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that no government in the world can provide salaried jobs to all its citizens and India is no exception to this. He said, on the other hand, Indian government promotes the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship by providing a platform for the generation and sharing of innovative ideas alongside an incubator to mentor and support innovators. He said, the government's commitment to ensuring that young Indians are prepared to compete in the labour market is reflected in the variety of skill-building programs it has made available.
Dwelling on the concept of "India First", Dr Jitendra Singh said, over the years, India has proven itself to be an agile technology adopter and developer, given the right circumstances. Pointing out to the emerging trends around digital, data, and technology disruptions around the industries in India, The Minister said, our country is empowering new innovative technology models for opening up a whole lot of technology-related opportunities.
Dr Jitendra Singh also gave away awards to successful Starts-Up on the occasion.
February 18, 2022 (N. Delhi)
NHPC Limited has set up a new wholly owned subsidiary company namely "NHPC RENEWABLE ENERGY LIMITED" (NREL), for development of Renewable Energy, Small Hydro and Green Hydrogen based business of NHPC Ltd. The Subsidiary has been incorporated with the Registrar of Companies, NCT of Delhi & Haryana. Speaking on the occasion, Shri A.K. Singh, CMD, NHPC said that NHPC has envisaged to become a global leading organization for sustainable development of clean power. The incorporation of NHPC Renewable Energy Limited shows our deep commitment towards tapping Renewable Energy which helps in reduction of carbon emissions and in producing clean and green energy. The decision of setting up a subsidiary for renewable energy comes at a time when NHPC which is predominantly a Hydro player, plans to increase the share of renewable energy in its generation portfolio.
Earlier, the formation of the separate renewable energy unit got the nod of Department of Investment and Public Asset Management and NITI Aayog in December 2021. The Subsidiary Company shall develop Renewable Energy Projects either in Stand-alone mode or through formation of Special Purpose Vehicles with collaboration of other agencies.
Currently, NHPC's total installed generation capacity stands at 7071 mega-watt (MW) which includes 100 MW of Solar/ Wind energy-based plants. Another 5999 of Hydro and 105 MW of Solar Plants are under construction. NHPC Ltd. Is expanding its renewable energy portfolio and has taken up several projects under different modes, which are presently under tendering / development stage. Recently, NHPC signed Letter of Intent with Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation Limited (RRECL) for "Development of 10000 MW Renewable Energy Projects / Parks in Rajasthan"