• More controls on FIIs
    • The government is thinking of restricting investments by FIIs from countries whose market regulatory structure is not compliant with principles laid down by IOSCO. This is in line with the recommendations made by Ashok Lahiri committee.
    • IOSCO is the Spain based international standard setter for securities markets regulating more than 90% of world’s securities markets. All IOSCO members have to sign an MOU, follow the principles endorsed by the body and facilitate exchange of information among the international community of securities regulators. The organization follows an objective assessment of the level of implementation of the IOSCO principles in the jurisdictions of its members.
  • WHO (World Health Organization) may remove India from vaccine source list
    • This follows the inspection by WHO of some GMP approved units in both private and public sector companies in India. The agency was not satisfied with what it saw and has said so in its report that has been submitted to the health ministry a couple of months ago.
    • GMP stands for good manufacturing practices. WHO has found problems with India’s drug regulator and some Indian pharma companies during the inspection over the implementation of the GMP.
    • In India the GMP standards approval is given by the state drug regulators and the DCGI – Drug Controller General of India.
    • Unlike other drugs, vaccines are mostly sourced by governments and institutions in bulk. Indian vaccine makers export around Rs. 1,500 crores every year, a large amount of which are sourced by global agencies such as WHO.
  • An interesting Mexican bull
    • This bull named El Zalamero, aged about 17 (considered equivalent to 70 years in humans) is known for its bravery and virility. In just 6 years, it has sired more than 25 calves of the fighting breed and even in this old age, it is the stud for about 15 cows that it lives with.
    • When it was just 4 years old, it debuted on the world’s largest bull ring viz., Monumental Plaza de Toros of Mexico.
  • An interesting issue about Indian pharma companies following best practices in India
    • Recently Ranbaxy has recalled over 73 mn tablets (gabapentin) from the US market as they reportedly contained higher levels of impurities than legally permitted.
    • This has raised a question as to why we don’t see such recalls in India? The sad fact is that quality standards are flouted day in and day out with impunity in our country. The speed with which trials are conducted in the US and damages/punishment are awarded is not seen in India.
  • Indo US differences over WTO talks
    • The points of contention between the two were high levels of trade distorting farm subsidies provided by the US and India’s relatively high tariffs on industrial products. India wants the US to commit to lower farm subsidies before it demands more market access for its farm products from developing countries. US has agreed to marginally reduce its subsidies, but could agree for more only when developing countries make more concessions.
    • In the area of NAMA (Non-agricultural market access) negotiations, the US wants India to make real cuts in tariffs, instead of just lowering the bound rates. India argues that since WTO negotiations take place on the basis of bound rates (the levels beyond which members cannot increase tariffs at any point), it is unfair to demand cuts on the applied rates.