Revival of Pharmaceutical Units

Revival of Pharmaceutical Units

Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Minister of State of the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers stated in the Lok Sabha today that out of five Pharma CPSEs under the Department of Pharmaceuticals, three companies viz. Hindustan Antibiotics Limited (HAL), Bengal Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Limited (BCPL) and Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Limited (IDPL) are sick units under Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) and are running under losses for several years. Rajasthan Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Limited (RDPL) has for the first time registered losses in 2013-14. The Karnataka Antibiotics and Pharmaceuticals Limited (KAPL) is running profitably. Efforts are on for revival of three sick and BIFR referred pharmaceuticals CPSEs. All these PSUs are producing medicines though the level of production varies, depending on their financial health & availability of working capital, the Minister added.


Indigenous Manufacturers Allowed Production of Fortified/ Coated Urea

The Government proposes to encourage production and availability of fortified and coated urea in the country. In this regard, Indigenous manufacturers/producers of urea have been allowed to produce Neem Coated Urea upto maximum of their total production of subsidized urea and to restrict the extra MRP to be charged by the companies selling Neem Coated Urea to the extent of 5% of the existing MRP of urea only i.e., Rs.5360/-per MT.

Manufacturers are allowed to produce Zincated Urea up to a maximum of 20% of the total production of urea and to sell at a price up to 10% above MRP of urea. Department of Fertilizers has removed the cap/restriction to produce Neem Coated Urea.

Research on neem-coated urea by Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi indicated increase in the rice grain yield by 6.3% to 11.9% over normal urea.

The result obtained with neem-coated urea on the farmers fields have also shown a 2% to 10% higher grain yield of rice as compared to uncoated urea. The improvement in yield is obviously due to increase in nitrogen use efficiency and thereby it economizes the use of urea.

This information was given by Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Hon’ble Minister of State of the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers in the Lok Sabha today.


Scheme Approved for Setting UP of Plastic Parks

The Government has approved a Scheme for setting up of need based Plastic Parks, with requisite state-of-the-art infrastructure and enabling common facilities, to assist the sector move up the value chain and contribute to the economy more effectively. Under the scheme, Government of India provides grant funding up to 50% of the project cost, subject to a ceiling of Rs.40 crore per project. Proposals for setting up of Plastic Parks in Assam (Tinsukia district), Odisha (Siju village, Kujanga tehsil, Jagatsinghpur district) and Madhya Pradesh ((Tamot village, Gohargunj tehsil, Raisen district) have received final approval, whereas the proposal for a Plastic Park in Tamil Nadu (Voyalur village, Ponneri Taluk, Thiruvallur district) has been given ‘in principle’ approval.

The objectives of the scheme, inter-alia, are to increase competitiveness and investments, achieve environmentally sustainable growth and adopt the cluster development approach to consolidate the capacities in plastic sector. The Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals has released first instalment of Rs.8 crore of grant-in—aid for setting-up of Plastic Parks at Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Assam in the year 2013-14. Detailed Project Report for setting-up of a Plastic Park in Tamil Nadu is awaited from the State Government. Further, the setting up of six additional plastic parks has been approved by the Competent Authority.

Implementation of the scheme for setting up of Plastic Parks in an area is based on proposals received from the State Governments, in accordance with the approved scheme guidelines.

This information was given by Shri Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Minister of State of the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers in the Lok Sabha today.


Thirtyfive Non-metro Airports Identified for Development

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has identified 35 non-metro airports initially and 28 more non-metro airports subsequently for development. Out of these, AAI has so far completed the work at 49 airports. The State-wise details of 35 non-metro airports and the other 28 non-metro airports are at Annexure-I and Annexure-II respectively. All the 35 non-metro airports given in Annexure-I are operational. Out of 28 non-metro airports given at Annexure-II, 21 airports are operational.

            This information was given by Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.

Click here to see Annexures: 


DGCA Sets up Unit to monitor Airfare 

Directorate General Civil Aviation (DGCA) has set up a Tariff Monitoring Unit to monitor airfares on certain routes selected on random basis to ensure that the airlines do not charge airfares outside the range declared by them. An analysis has shown that the airfares remained well within the fare bucket uploaded by the airlines on their respective websites. 

Air fares are not regulated by the government. Under the provision of Sub Rule (1) of Rule 135, Aircraft Rules 1937, airlines are free to fix reasonable tariff having regard to all relevant factors, including the cost of operation, characteristics of services, reasonable profit and the generally prevailing tariff. Air fare fixed by the airlines is published on their respective website under the provision of of Sub Rule (2) of Rule 135, Aircraft Rules 1937. Airlines remain compliant to the regulatory provision of Rule -135 as long as the fare charged by them does not exceed the fare established and displayed on their website. 

This information was given by Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today. 


100 Lakh MT wheat for Open Market Sale to contain prices 

The Government has allocated 100 Lakh MT of wheat for sale through weekly e-auctions to Bulk Consumers/Private Traders under Open Market Sale Scheme Domestic [OMSS(D)] up to 31.03.2015 (including delivery period). Against the said allotment, a quantity of 38.67 lakh tonnes of wheat has been confirmed for sale during the year 2014-15 upto 19.02.2015 at an average price Rs. 1614.40/- per Qtl. This information was given by the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve in a written reply in Lok Sabha today. 

The Minister said that in the States of Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, the reserve price of wheat has been kept at Rs. 1500 per quintal for wheat stock of crop-years upto 2013-14 and Rs. 1570 per quintal for wheat stock of RMS 2014-15. For depots of FCI located outside Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, the depot wise reserve price of wheat is to be arrived by adding railway freight from Ludhiana to the nearest railhead and road transportation cost from such railhead to the depot, to the crop year-wise reserve price for Punjab/Haryana/MP. 

He said that price of Wheat sold under OMSS(D) scheme is fixed by the Government taking into account the prevailing market situation, trend of inflation and need of liquidation of surplus stock available under Central Pool without distorting the market too much. Rate of wheat products is not regulated by the Government. 


Steps Taken by the Government to contain prices of Essential Food Items 

The Government has taken a number of steps to improve the availability and to contain prices of essential food items which include following: 

i. The Central Issue Price (CIP) under the existing Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) has not been increased since 2002. Under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, the issue prices have been further reduced to Rs. 1/2/3 per kg for coarse grains/wheat/rice. 

ii. The Government has approved for the current year i.e. 2014-15 Open Market Sale of ten million tonnes of wheat in the domestic market. Under the said scheme a total of 38.67 lakh MT of wheat at a reserve price of Rs. 1500 per quintal (old crop)/Rs. 1570 per quintal (new crop of 2014-15) has been sold upto 19.02.2015. 

iii. During the current financial year 2014-15, the Government has allocated additional 66.45 lakh tons of foodgrains (rice & wheat) for distribution to BPL & APL families to States/UTs pending implementation of National Food Security Act (NFSA). 

iv. The Retail Issue Price (RIP) of sugar supplied through PDS is Rs.13.50 per kg, whereas the prices of sugar in the open market are much higher. 

v. In order to protect consumers from the impact of fluctuating crude oil prices in the international market, the Government continues to modulate the price of PDS kerosene and its basic price has not been revised in line with the prices in the international market since 25.06.2011. 

vi. Minimum Export Price (MEP) fixed for potatoes at USD 450 per M.T. w.e.f. 26.06.2014 (now withdrawn with improved availability and fall in prices w.e.f. 20.2.2015) and of onions at USD 300 per M.T. w.e.f 21.08.2014 respectively. 

vii. States have been advised to allow free movement of fruits and vegetables by delisting them from the APMC Act. 

viii. A Plan Scheme titled Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) with a corpus of Rs.500 crores has been approved for implementation aimed at regulating price volatility of agricultural and horticultural commodities both when there is price rise or vice-versa through procurement of farm produce, maintenance of buffer stocks and regulated release into the market. 

ix. States have been advised to exempt levy of market fee on fruits and vegetables and to allow establishment of “Kisan Mandis”/ Farmers markets where producers and Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) can directly market their produce to wholesalers, organized retailers and ordinary consumers. Such alternative marketing channels promoted to reduce intermediaries and to contain marketing costs, are intended to benefit both farmers and consumers. 

x. Government is also encouraging production of horticultural crops through a Centrally Sponsored scheme, namely Mission for integrated Development of Horticulture w.e.f. 2014-15. 

xi. Authorized States/UTs to impose stock limits in respect of onion and potato for a period of one year with effect from 3rd July, 2014 under the Essential Commodities Act. 

xii. Advisory to State Governments issued to take action against hoarding & black marketing and effectively enforce the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 & the Prevention of Black-marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980. 

xiii. Authorized States/UTs to impose stock limits from time to time in the case of select essential commodities such as pulses, edible oil, and edible oilseeds for a period up to 30.9.2015. 

xiv. Based on interaction with the State Governments/UTs on 4th July, 2014, a decision has been taken to amend the Essential Commodities Act to make hoarding and black marketing a non-bailable offence and increase the period of detention to one year from existing six months. 

This information was given by the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve in a written reply in Lok Sabha today. 


The Government targets 300 LMT wheat procurement for ensuing Rabi season 

The Government has fixed a target of 350.50 LMT for procurement of rice for ongoing Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2014-15 and a target of 300 LMT wheat has been fixed for ensuing Rabi Marketing Season (RMS) 2015-16. This information was given by the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.

The Minister said that the allocation of foodgrains after implementation of NFSA by all the states is estimated at 61.43 million tones, however, the average off take of foodgrains in Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) and Other Welfare Schemes (OWS) in last 3 years has been 53.99 million tonnes.  

The stock of foodgrains available in Central Pool as on 01.01.2015 is as under:-
                                         (Figs. In Million Tonnes)
Wheat Rice Grand Total
25.11 11.74 36.85

He said that since the targeted procurement is in excess of requirement and  stock in central pool are much in excess of the prescribed buffer norms and strategic reserve, therefore, availability of foodgrains at reasonable price is ensured despite a shortage  in  rainfall.


Measures to ensure remunerative prices for farmers 

The Government procures foodgrains directly from farmers to ensure that farmers are able to get remunerative price for their produce. Before the start of each Marketing Season, Government of India convenes a meeting of State Food Secretaries, Food Corporation of India (FCI) officials and other stake holders to discuss various arrangements made by FCI and State Agencies to ensure payment of Minimum Support Price (MSP) to farmers for procurement of paddy and wheat from farmers. All the foodgrains conforming to the prescribed specifications offered for sale at specified centers are bought by the public procurement agencies at the Minimum Support Price (MSP). The producers have the option to sell their produce to FCI/State Agencies at MSP or in the open market as is advantageous to them. Foodgrains procured by the State Governments and their agencies are ultimately taken over by the FCI for distribution throughout the country. In consultation with FCI and State Agencies sufficient number of procurement centres are opened during every marketing season to ensure purchase of paddy and wheat from farmers. Review of arrangements are made periodically and if required, additional purchase centres are also opened during the procurement season. This information was given by the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve in a written reply in Lok Sabha today. 

The Minister said that as on 31.12.2014 the total manpower in FCI in position is 23946 and presently FCI is effectively handling the procurement operations with their support. FCI is also supported by the State Government Agencies in its procurement operations, which in turn involve cooperative societies, self help groups, arthias etc/ in reaching out to farmers. 

He said that in order to ensure that the farmers get remunerative prices/MSP for Wheat and paddy, following mechanism have been put in place: 

1. Keeping in view the procurement potential areas, procurement centres for MSP operations are opened by Government agencies, both FCI and state Government, after mutual consultations. 

2. Farmers are made aware of the MSP operations by way of advertisements like displaying banners, pamphlets, announcement for MSP and specification in print and electronic media. 

3. Payment for the wheat and paddy procured from farmers is either made directly to the farmers or through arthias/co-operative societies as per prevailing system of the State. Payment to farmers are also made through A/c payee cheque/electronic mode. Even in respect of paddy purchased by millers, GOI has already advised state Government to ensure payment to farmers by millers/Pvt. traders through A/c payee cheque so that trail of payment can be made while issuing MSP certificate to millers for delivery of levy rice to State Government/FCI. 

4. State Governments are encouraged to undertake decentralised procurement, so as to enhance the procurement of food grains. 

5. MSP has been enhanced from time to time to encourage delivery of foodgrains into central pool purchase. 


More than 242 lakh Families having highly Subsidised Foodgrains under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana 

More than 242 lakh families under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana are being provided highly subsidised 35 kg foodgrains per month through TPDS. This information was given by the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.
He said the AAY families are to be identified by States/Union Territories (UTs) as per the following criteria:

i)                    Landless agriculture labourers, marginal farmers, rural artisans/craftsmen such as potters, tanners, weavers, blacksmiths, carpenters, slum dwellers, and persons earning their livelihood on daily basis in the informal sector like porters, coolies, rickshaw pullers, hand cart pullers, fruit and flower sellers, snake charmers, rag pickers, cobblers, destitute and other similar categories in both rural and urban areas

ii)                  Households headed by widows or terminally ill persons/disabled persons/persons aged 60 years or more with no assured means of subsistence or societal support

iii)                Widows or terminally ill persons or disabled persons or persons aged 60 years or more or single women or single men with no family or societal support or assured means of subsistence

iv)                All primitive tribal households

v)                  All eligible Below Poverty Line (BPL) families of HIV positive persons.

 The Minister said that requests have been received from a few State Governments to increase the number of beneficiaries under AAY but it could not be acceded to as the number is fixed for every State.  State/UTs are advised from time to time to review the existing list of AAY beneficiaries and remove the ineligible beneficiaries so as to include only the most eligible.
Shri Danve clarified that AAY scheme has not been separately evaluated.  This Department however has been getting the functioning of TPDS, including the implementation of AAY, evaluated by different agencies from time to time. These evaluation studies have revealed certain shortcomings/deficiencies in the functioning of TPDS, such as inclusion/exclusion errors, leakages/diversion of foodgrains, etc.  The reports received have been sent to the concerned States/UTs for taking necessary remedial measures to remove the deficiencies noticed in the functioning of TPDS.

  Number of  Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) families      (as on 31.1.2015)  (Fig. in lakh)


End-to-End Computerisation of PDS as a Mission Mode Project 

A scheme on End to end Computerisation of Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) Operations with a total approved cost of Rs.884.07 crore is being implemented throughout the country. Under the Scheme, financial and technical assistance is being provided to States/Union Territories (UTs). Government of India has so far released an amount of Rs.257.01 crore to the States/UTs, National Informatics Centre (NIC), Consultancy services and the States have so far reported to have incurred an expenditure of Rs.58 crore. Based on receipt of proposals from the States/UTs, the Central Government releases the funds to them in instalments in accordance with the guidelines of the Scheme. This information was given by the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve in a written reply in Lok Sabha today. 

The Minister said that the Scheme has been declared as a Mission Mode Project (MMP) by the Government with National Informatics Centre (NIC) as the technical partner to provide technical support to the States/UTs for computerisation of the TPDS. The key activities under the scheme include digitization of beneficiary database, computerisation of Supply Chain Management, installation of Grievance Redressal Mechanism and Transparency Portal. Expenditure under the scheme is to be shared between Central and State Governments. Central Government’s share for the North Eastern States is 90% while in the case of rest of the States/UTs, it is 50%. The Scheme will enable correct identification of beneficiaries; removal of bogus cards and better targeting of food subsidies, timely availability of foodgrains to intended beneficiaries at Fair Price Shops (FPS); check leakages/diversion etc. 

He said that the original timelines of the Scheme are well past. In view of the slow and uneven progress across the States/UTs, no fresh timelines have been prescribed. They are however being regularly pursued to ensure early completion of various activities under the Scheme. 

Shri Danve clarified that to monitor and supervise the implementation of the Scheme in the country, a Central Project Monitoring Unit (CPMU) has been created in the Centre. Further, as per the MMP guidelines of National eGovernance Plan (NeGP), a Joint Secretary of the Government has been designated as the Mission Leader for Scheme who periodically reviews the progress under the Scheme through review meetings/ video-conferencing with the States/UTs. 


Adequate foodgrains in the Central pool to meet the domestic requirement 

The stock of foodgrains in the Central Pool as on 16.2.2015 was 353.67 lakh tons against the minimum buffer norms of 214.10 lakh tons for January-March quarter which is adequate to meet the requirement under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) and Other Welfare Schemes (OWS). The estimated annual requirement of foodgrains under National Food Security Act (NFSA) is 614.3 lakh tons. This information was given by the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve in a written reply in Lok Sabha today. 

The Minister said that the Government has taken several steps to minimize storage and transit losses such as proper quality check at the time of procurement, adoption of proper scientific code of storage practices, use of wooden crates, bamboo mats to avoid moisture from the floor, prophylactic and fumigation are carried out regularly in FCI godowns, effective rat control measures, regular inspection of stocks/ godowns by Senior Officers, use of First in First Out (FIFO) method to avoid longer storage of foodgrains, deployment of security staff and use of covered wagons for movement of foodgrains etc. 


CSR Activities in Metropolitan Cities of Maharashtra Question 

The year 2014-15 is the first year of implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies by companies under the Companies Act, 2013. Details relating to CSR activities undertaken by the corporate sector are expected to be available only after annual statutory disclosures on CSR are made by companies towards the end of the year 2015. 

The Companies (Corporate Social Responsibility Policy) Rules, 2014 have been notified, and these include a format for the report related to CSR to be included in the report of the Companies’ Board. 

This was stated by Shri Arun Jaitley, Minister of Corporate Affairs in written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today. 


Registration of Shell Companies 

Investigation against any company is carried out on the basis of report of Registrar of Companies or inspector or in public interest into the Affairs of a company. Further, the process of incorporation of a company has been strengthened through inclusion of various provisions mandating proof of establishment of registered office of a company through submission of utility bills etc., establishing identity of directors including their residential address and personal identification through mandatory Director Identification Number (DIN) allotment process and a declaration by a professional that all requirements mandated under the provisions of Companies Act, 2013 have been complied with. 

Under section 248 of the Companies Act 2013, Registrar of Companies has powers to remove name of a company from register of companies where a company fails to commence its business within one year of its incorporation or the subscribers to the memorandum have failed to pay their subscription within a period of 180 days or where a company is not carrying on any business or operation for a period of two years. 

This was stated by Shri Arun Jaitley, Minister of Corporate Affairs in written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today. 


Need of Trained Professionals for CSR Activities 

The advocacy programmes for CSR undertaken by the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA), a body established under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, brought out the need for having trained CSR professionals who can help corporates to implement their CSR projects. IICA has accordingly launched a programme – ‘IICA Certificate Programme (ICP) in CSR’ as a capacity building programme for CSR professionals. It is a nine month programme, delivered primarily through an online Learning Management System (LMS). The first batch of the programme was launched on 13th October 2014. 

This was stated by Shri Arun Jaitley, Minister of Corporate Affairs in written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today. 


Records of Companies Under CSR Category 

In terms of Section 135 of the Companies Act 2013, companies above the specified thresholds of turnover or net worth or net profit are required to spend at least two per cent of their average net profits earned during three immediately preceding financial years on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. The Board of each such company is required to have the company’s CSR policy formulated and monitor its implementation or specify the reasons for non-implementation. The current financial year is the first year of implementation of CSR by companies under the aforementioned Act. Information regarding companies complying with CSR provision of the Act are expected to be available only after the mandatory disclosures of CSR expenditure are filed by companies towards the end of the year 2015. 

As Section 135 leaves the responsibility of implementation of CSR policy on the company itself it will not be possible for the Government to facilitate undertaking of such activities in particular areas. 

This was stated by Shri Arun Jaitley, Minister of Corporate Affairs in written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today. 

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