Weekly Indian Economic & Commercial Report (30th March – 5th April 2020)
Source: IBEF News Letter
Dr. Harsh Vardhan launches National Teleconsultation Centre (CoNTeC)
The Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan launched the National Teleconsultation Centre (CoNTeC) today and also interacted with Nodal Officers of Medical Colleges of States and other AIIMS of the country and reviewed the COVID-19 preparedness.
The project CoNTeC, an acronym for COVID-19 National Teleconsultation Centre, has been conceptualised by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and has been implemented by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.
On the occasion Dr Harsh Vardhan said that CoNTeChas been made operational at AIIMS with a view to connect the Doctors across the country to AIIMS in real time for treatment of the COVID-19 patients. He further informed that the Doctors would be available in the facility 24X7 and to keep it operational 24 hrs. The boarding and lodging facility is also made available for the Doctors manning it. He said that it has been set up in the AIIMS so that the small states should also make use of the vast experience of the Doctors at AIIMS. He informed that the doctors world over are using different protocols to treat COVID-19 patients and the goal of the facility is to at least connect the doctors in the country together to discuss amongst themselves the protocols undertaken and provide the best treatment accordingly.
He further informed that the telemedicine guidelines have also been notified by the Government of India and with the help of digital platform and technology, the public at large will get the benefit not only for COVID- 19 but other diseases also. He said the ultimate purpose of starting this facility at prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences is to take the best possible treatment to the poorest of the poor of the country.
He added that India is a vast country and technology can play a pivotal role for the medical assistance to reach the poor. The poor patients in the country should not be deprived of the quality treatment in any circumstances. With the present facility, the poor would be able to get benefit of consultation form the topmost doctors of the country.
He added, “Right now the scenario is evolving world over and the present facility would be strengthened accordingly from time to time to meet the challenges.” He said that there are plans to extend the facility overseas also.
He said that continuing forward, all the medical colleges and AIIMS need to be connected together so that they can interact and help in the policy implementation for the country in the health sector. He further said that AIIMSs should become hub of activity for the district hospitals to connect with them for consultation, telemedicine, education, training, interaction and exchange of protocols between themselves. Dr. Harsh Vardhan also attended a test call at the facility to check the effectiveness of the system.
The CoNTeC is a Telemedicine Hub established by AIIMS, New Delhi, wherein expert doctors from various clinical domains will be available 24×7 to answer the multifaceted questionsfrom specialists from all over the country. It is a multi-modal telecommunications hub through which 2 way audio-video and text communications can be undertaken from any part of the country as well as the world at large. The modes of communication will include simple mobile telephony as well as two way video communications, using WhatsApp, Skype and Google Duo.
The CoNTeC is also fully integrated with the National Medical College Network (NMCN) to conduct a full-fledged Video Conference (VC) between the 50 Medical Colleges connected through the NMCN with its National Resource Centre located at SGPGI, Lucknow.
The patient management advice offered will be standardized as per the national guidelines supplemented protocols developed by the team at AIIMS, nominated by the Director, AIIMS.
How to Contact the CoNTeC?
A single mobile number (+91 9115444155) can be dialled from anywhere in the coutnry/world by COVID-19 treating doctors to reach the CoNTeC which has six lines that can be used simultaneously at present. This number of lines can be increased in future if needed. The incoming calls will be picked up by the CoNTeC Managers, who will then handover the call to the appropriate expert doctors from the clinical domains as desired by the calling specialists managing the COVID-19 cases anywhere in the country.
The Managers will guide the callers in establishing a two-way video call using the WhatsApp, Skype or Google Duo as preferred by the caller. The callers from the NMCN network can connect anytime using the Telemedicine infrastructure at their end.
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package: Insurance Scheme for Health Workers Fighting COVID-19
As per the announcement made under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package, the launch of ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package: Insurance Scheme for Health Workers Fighting COVID-19’ has been approved with the following conditions:
- It will provide an insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh (US$ 71,540) for ninety (90) days to a total of around 22.12 lakh public healthcare providers, including community health workers, who may have to be in direct contact and care of COVID-19 patients and who may be at risk of being impacted by this. It will also include accidental loss of life on account of contracting COVID-19;
- On account of the unprecedented situation, private hospital staff/ retired/volunteer/ local urban bodies/contract/daily wage/ ad-hoc/outsourced staff requisitioned by States/ Central hospitals/autonomous hospitals of Central/States/UTs, AIIMS & INIs/ hospitals of Central Ministries can also be drafted for COVID-19 related responsibilities. These cases will also be covered subject to numbers indicated by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare;
- The insurance provided under this scheme would be over and above any other insurance cover being availed of by the beneficiary.
Tata Power’s joint venture clean energy project in Georgia starts commercial production
Adjaristsqali Georgia LLC (AGL), a joint venture between Tata Power, Norway’s Clean Energy Invest (CEI) and International Finance Corporation (IFC), commenced the commercial operation of the 178 MW Shuakhevi Hydro Power Project located in southwest Georgia. The company holds 40 per cent stake in the joint venture.
This project will generate around 450 GWh of clean energy leading to reduction of the emission of greenhouse gases by more than 200,000 tonne a year. The successful completion and start of commercial operations are considered crucial for the integrity, security and energy independence of Georgia, Tata Power said in a regulatory filing.
This generated power will be sold within Georgia throughout the winter, which is a period of energy deficit in that country.
The Shuakhevi HPP is funded by European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, it added.
Union Agriculture Minister launches new features of e-NAM platform
The Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar here today launched new features of National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Platform to strengthen agriculture marketing by farmers which will reduce their need to physically come to wholesale mandis for selling their harvested produce, at a time when there is critical need to decongest mandis to effectively fight against COVID-19. These software modules are namely (i) Warehouse based trading module in e-NAM software to facilitate trade from warehouses based on e-NWR (ii) FPO trading module in e-NAM whereby FPOs can trade their produce from their collection center without bringing the produce to APMC. In addition to facilitate inter-mandi and inter-state trade at this juncture, enhanced version of logistic module has been released whereby aggregators of transport logistic platform have on boarded which helps users to avail trackable transport facilities for transporting their produce.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar reiterated that e-NAM was launched on 14 April 2016 as a pan-India electronic trade portal linking APMCs across the States. Already 585 mandis in 16 States and 02 Union Territories have been integrated on e-NAM portal. He also said that e-NAM will be soon expanded to cover additional 415 mandis, which will take the total number of e-NAM mandis to 1,000. Further highlighting, he said e-NAM provides for contactless remote bidding and mobile-based any time payment for which traders do not need to either visit mandis or banks for the same. This helps improve social distancing and safety in the APMC markets to fight against COVID-19. He further added that these new features are being launched today as important steps towards our fight against COVID-19, to help farmers at this juncture to effectively sell their produce at better prices from near their farm gate thus helping them at this time.
The minister said that the mandis play a critical role in maintaining the supply chain of Grains, Fruits & Vegetables. e-NAM is well poised to play a critical role during the period of Covid-19 to decongest mandis while helping the farmers at same time. For this purpose, following 03 modules have been launched for enhancing the effectiveness of e-NAM.
- Launch of “Negotiable Warehouse Receipt (e–NWRs) module in National Agriculture Market (e–NAM) software
- Warehouse (Registered with WDRA) trading module with payment feature is launched today to enable small & marginal famers to directly trade their stored produce from selected WDRA registered warehouses which are declared deemed market by the State.
- Farmers will be able to place their produce in WDRA accredited warehouses.
- Already States of Telangana (14 warehouses) & Andhra Pradesh (23 warehouses) declared designated warehouses in the State as deemed market.
Benefits of eNWRs integration with e–NAM
- Depositor can save the Logistics expenses and will have better income.
- Farmers can sell the produce across the Nation to get better Price and at the same time can save himself from hassle of mandi.
- Farmers will be able to place their produce in WDRA accredited warehouses avail the benefit of pledge loan if required.
- Price stabilization by matching supply and demand through time and place utility.
FPO trading module
- FPO trading module is launched today to enable FPOs to upload their produce from their premise/collection centres for bidding. They can upload the picture of the produce and quality parameters from their premises to help distant bidders to visualise the produce before bidding. FPOs have the option for delivery of produce either from their premises or by bringing to mandi premise after successful bidding. This will not only decongest the mandis but also reduce the logistics cost for the FPOs.
- Facility provided to FPO to upload assaying report / photo of their produce from their premise to enable traders to visualise the produce before bidding.
- This will not only decongest the mandis but also reduce the hassle of FPOs to deal with mandis.
- This will help FPOs by reducing transaction costs (Transportation) and enhancing their bargaining power.
- Facilitates FPOs to avail online payment facility with ease of doing business.
Launch of Logistic Module
- Presently, e-NAM provides a database of individual transporters to the traders. However, as a quantum response to logistic need by traders, provision has been made for linking large logistic aggregator platforms, which will provide choices to users. Traders would be able to use the link to navigate to the logistics provider’s website and select appropriate services. With these additions, more than 3,75,000 number of trucks from large logistic providers would be added for logistic purpose.
- This will help in seamless transportation of agri produce.
- This will promote inter-State trade under e-NAM by providing online transport facilities for distant buyers.
- Shri Tomar further added that these programs will help farmers to sell their produce at remunerative prices near to their farm gate without coming to mandis. He added further that Mandis have been advised to adopt utmost sanitary and social distancing measures for the safety of farmers and other stakeholders. States are also being encouraged to facilitate direct buying by bulk buyers/processors and big retailers without having to go through mandis to decongest them.
Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), an institute of National Importance of the Department of Science and Technology, has tied up with Wipro 3D, Bengaluru to jointly build up on a prototype of an emergency ventilator system based on Artificial Manual Breathing Unit (AMBU), developed by SCTIMST followed by its clinical trial and manufacture.
The ventilators can help meet urgent requirements arising out of the Covid 19 related crisis that the country is facing. AMBU bag or a bag-valve-mask (BVM) is a hand-held device used to provide positive pressure ventilation to a patient who is either not breathing or who is breathing inadequately. However, the use of a regular AMBU needs a bystander for its operations who is highly susceptible and non-advisable to be in close contact with the COVID-19 patient. Sree Chitra’s Automated AMBU Ventilator with inputs from clinical faculty will assist the breathing of the critical patients who have no access to ICU ventilators.
For enabling rapid production, the device is designed with readily available components so that it becomes an alternative solution. It provides ventilation support to the needy and is an ideal solution for ventilation shortages.
This portable and lightweight device enables positive pressure ventilation with a controlled rate of expiration, Inspiratory to Expiratory Ratio, Tidal Volume, and so on. Also, A PEEP (Positive End Expiratory Pressure) Valve can be added as an extra component to maintain pressure on the lower airways at the end of the breathing cycle, which prevents the alveoli from collapsing during expiration. The compressed gas source can also be attached to the system. The automatic device will minimize the need of support personnel in the isolation room, thereby enabling a safer and effective lung-protective operation to COVID patients.
Naval Dockyard Mumbai designs low cost Temperature Gun
Naval Dockyard, Mumbai has designed and developed its own handheld IR based temperature sensor for undertaking screening of large number of personnel at the entry gates of the yard reducing the load on the security sentries at the gate. The instrument has been manufactured under Rs 1000 (US$ 14.30)/ – through in-house resources (which is fraction of the cost of the Temperature Guns in the market).
The ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 has led to one of the biggest medical emergencies the world has witnessed in the recent times. View massive surge in the number of infected patients, the medical infrastructure of the nation is being put to its ultimate test.
The 285-year-old Naval Dockyard (ND) of Western Naval Command (WNC) has an average influx of around 20,000 personnel entering its premises every day. In view of COVID-19, initial screening of these personnel entering the dockyard was essential to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the yard and the Western Fleet. The most preliminary method to screen a probable patient is to check for body temperature by a non-contact means.
Since the outbreak, the non-contact thermometers or temperature guns have become scarce in the market and are being sold at a very high cost. To overcome the scarcity and requirement of large numbers, ND (Mumbai) has designed and developed its own handheld IR based temperature sensor with accuracy of 0.02 deg Celsius. The non-contact thermometer has an Infrared sensor and an LED display integrated with a microcontroller which runs on a 9V battery. This initiative has provided a tool for undertaking screening of large number of personnel at the entry gates of the yard thereby reducing the load on the security sentries at the gate.
With the manufacturing cost of less than Rs 1000 (US$ 14.30)/- the dockyard has the capability to scale up production of these if required towards which sourcing of the components is in progress.
Aavishkaar Capital invests Rs 35 crore in agri-tech start-up Ergos
Aavishkaar Capital, the impact investing arm of the Aavishkaar group, has invested Rs 35 crore (US$5 million) in a Series A round in Ergos, an agri-tech start-up.
The company was founded by Mr Kishor Jha and Mr Praveen Kumar, entrepreneurs from Bihar, Ergos has been developing a GrainBank model that has been piloted in Bihar. Ths will help farmers to digitise their food grain and offer doorstep access to end-to-end post-harvest supply chain solutions to the farmers by utilising the technology platform. This platform has provided opportunity for farmers to increase their earnings, according to a press release from Aavishkaar.
The statement added that the Ergos platform operated like a bank and offered storage, digitisation, credit and liquidation facility to farmers.
Ergos was provided seed funding by Aavishkaar in 2015 from an earlier fund at the ideation stage and worked with the promoters in scaling the model. The Series A funding was expected to be a Rs 100 crore (US$ 14.37 million) round with an Aavishkaar Capital Limited Partner and a technology venture capital fund set to join the round.
Mr Kishor Jha, Founder and CEO, Ergos, said that the aim is to build GrainBank to serve the post-harvest requirements of all farmers, especially small and marginal farmers. It also plans to extend it services into nearby states and help more than a million farmers by 2025 with over 2,000 branch locations. The start-up supports more than 20,000 farmers on its digital platform and has a physical footprint in over 60 locations.
VOCPT container volumes rise 8.2 per cent in FY20 to 804,584 TEUs
Dakshin Bharat Gateway Terminal Pvt Ltd (DBGT) posted a 40 per cent growth in volumes in FY20, helping the Central government-owned VO Chidambaranar Port Trust (VOCPT), located in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district, handle 804,584 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) during the fiscal year that ended March 31.
Whereas, in FY19, VOCPT had handled 738,386 TEUs.
In FY20, of the 804,584 TEUs handled at VOCPT, DBGT handled 634,112 TEUs compared from 386,376 TEUs in previous year witnessing a growth of about 40 per cent and accounting for about 79 per cent of the overall VOCPT container volumes.
DBGT is among the two container terminals operating at VOCPT and is a unit of India Ports and Logistics Pvt Ltd.
Star Ports Ltd, a unit of Mumbai-listed Starlog Enterprises Ltd (earlier known as ABG Infralogistics Ltd), along with Bollore Africa Logistics holds 51 per cent stake in India Ports and Logistics. Bollore Africa is Africa’s biggest transport and logistics operator.
The container terminal run by DBGT has a capacity to load 750,000 TEUs a year.
In comparison, PSA Sical Terminals Ltd, the container terminal operating at VOCPT since 1998, handled 170,472 TEUs in FY20, down from 352,010 TEUs the previous fiscal. PSA-Sical is contractually mandated to handle a minimum guaranteed throughput (MGT) of 300,000 TEUs in a year. About 51 per cent of the terminal is owned by PSA International Pte Ltd, the world’s biggest container terminal operator and a unit of Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore.
According to some trade sources, due to deeper draft of 12.8 metres and twin-lift cranes that permit it to allow bigger ships to visit leading to the shift of most of the export-import container business at VOCPT to DBGT.
With a draft of 10.7 metres, PSA Sical now handles only ships that ferry containers between two Indian ports.
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