Read about the Defence Expo-Goa, the ban of 300 illegally sold drugs, the new mini UAV’s for the Indian Army and more ….
1) 46 countries to participate in Defence Expo in Goa:
- With more than 977 companies and 46 countries registering for the upcoming Defence Expo scheduled in Goa, the Defence Ministry has said the event is steering the path of steady growth.
- “Defexpo India 2016, the ninth in the series of biennial Land, Naval and Internal Homeland Security Systems Exhibition, will be held at Naqueri Quitol in Quepem taluka of South Goa from March 28-31, 2016,” the Ministry said on its website designed for this internationally famed event.
- “Defexpo India is clearly steering the path of steady growth and has been receiving overwhelming and unprecedented international response with each edition,” it said.
- This is for the first time that the Expo will travel to Goa from Delhi.
- According to the Ministry, till date 977 companies and 46 countries have registered for participating in the Expo. For this edition, countries like USA, Russia, Sweden, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Portugal amongst others have confirmed their participation.
- This year, on the first day, March 28, hosts of seminars including that on “State of Art Technology in Shipbuilding Initiative and Requirements of Indian Defence Shipyards” would be held. There will also be a session on “International Cooperation in Futuristic Maritime Research and development” and “Advanced Technologies in Submarine Construction.”
- On next day, March 29, the Industrial body Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) will hold day-long Global Investors’ Summit on Defence sector.
- Similarly, there will also be a seminar on private sector participation in Defence development programme, which will be chaired by Smita Nagraj, Director General (Acquisitions), Union Ministry of Defence.
2) India bans more than 300 combination drugs sold illegally:
- India has banned the manufacture and sale of more than 300 combination medicines, including two widely used cough syrups, being sold without government approval, a senior health ministry official said on Saturday.
- The move is aimed at curbing the misuse of such medicines in India, where nearly half the drugs sold in 2014 were so called “fixed dose combinations.”
- Combination drugs are used worldwide to improve patients’ compliance, as it is easier to get patients to take one drug rather than several. But inconsistent enforcement of drug laws in India has led to the proliferation of hundreds of such medicines entering the market based on approval from regulators of individual states, rather than the central government.
- In 2014, India set up a committee to review more than 6,000 combinations that had entered the market based only on state regulators’ approval. Policymakers gave pharmaceutical companies a chance to retroactively prove the safety and efficacy of these drugs by submitting data on their drugs.
- The committee was tasked with classifying the drugs into rational, irrational, and those that need further studies, said KL Sharma, a joint secretary at the health ministry.
- He did not name the medicines, but said an official notice announcing the ban would be issued “in a few days.” The Drug Controller General of India was not immediately available to comment.
- The banned medicines include the codeine-based cough syrups Phensedyl and Corex, the Times of India said in a report earlier on Saturday, citing unnamed sources.
- Doctors and public health experts in India and abroad have warned that increasing use of antibiotic combinations in India may be contributing to antibiotic resistance. India is a particular concern as the market share of combination drugs versus single drugs is bigger than anywhere in the world.
3) MOD to purchase 1,800 mini-UAVs for Indian Army:
- The defence ministry is set to clear an army proposal to equip all infantry and mechanised battalions with a new squad of mini-unmanned aerial vehicles for deeper insights into the battlefield. While the UAVs will have a limited range of 10 km, they would provide vital intelligence for ground troops.
- A proposal to purchase 1,800 mini-UAVs, along with ground systems and support, is likely to get the goahead at a defence ministry meeting this week, followed by approval by the defence acquisition committee, senior officials told ET.
- The planned purchase will also boost the private industry as it will be categorised as a ‘Make in India’ project, with the potential of orders increasing exponentially over the next few years. Officials said the plan is to raise 600 UAV squads – each consisting of three ‘birds’, a ground control system and a heavy vehicle.These squads will be attached to all infantry and armoured battalions of the Indian Army, which currently rely on information from other units that operate longerrange UAVs such as the Heron and Searcher of Israeli origin. Infantry battalions posted in conflict zones do occasionally purchase and operate mini UAVs, but they are not yet part of standard equipment.
- Following the defence ministry’s clearance, the army is set to float tenders for the UAVs. At least a dozen Indian companies are expected to bid for the contract and several of them have tied up with foreign vendors for technology transfer.
- The move to have competitive trials for the mini-UAV project has also thrown questions on an Indo-US project that was cleared at the political level. The high-profile Defence Trade and Technology Initiative, which was even discussed between PM Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama, included an understanding that US firm AeroVironment would tie up with Bengaluru-based Dynamatic Technologies to develop a new light UAV for tactical reconnaissance for the army.
- The army is looking for UAVs with a range of at least 10 km at a complete system weight of less than 35 kg. The mini-UAV would need to give remote video feed with allweather capability and loiter time of 45 minutes.
4) Bahrain deports Lebanese for Hezbollah links:
- The Gulf kingdom of Bahrain has deported several Lebanese residents for links to the Shiite Hezbollah movement, classified by the Arab League as a terrorist group, the interior ministry said today.
- The ministry did not provide any further details, including on the number of people involved. Lebanese press reported last week that up to 10 families had been ordered to leave Bahrain within 24 hours.
- The move comes a day after Bahrain’s neighbour Saudi Arabia warned that it will punish citizens and residents who “support or demonstrate belonging” to Hezbollah.
- The Arab League on Friday declared Iran ally Hezbollah a “terrorist” group, after Gulf monarchies did the same earlier this month over the movement’s support for the regime in Syria’s war.
- In January, Bahrain said it had dismantled a “terror” cell allegedly linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah.
- Shiite-majority Bahrain, which is ruled by the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty, has repeatedly accused Iran of meddling in its affairs, a charge categorically denied by Tehran.
- Government of India has accorded final approval for setting up a Mega Food Park in Khammam District of Telangana, the State Finance Minister Etela Rajender said on Monday.
- Presenting the Budget for 2016-17, the Minister counted this among the industrial projects which will take shape and declared that the State, fuelled by uninterrupted power supply, is poised for an impressive growth.
- Further, Phase-1 of the National Investment Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) at Medak was expected to get underway in 2016-17 and work on the Pharma City, to come near Hyderabad and the Textile Hub in Warangal “are on track”.
- Telangana’s new industrial policy, Mr.Rajender said, had started yielding results. “The MNCs as well as Indian companies such as Amazon, Micromax, Foxconn, ITC are setting up units… since the launch of the policy all clearance certificates have been issued to 1,609 units.”
- Together, the units that had received approvals entail an investment of Rs.33,101 crore and their employment potential is over 1.20 lakh jobs, he said.