Not In Favour of Utilising TRIPS Waiver?
The central government is not too upbeat over the use of TRIPS waivers that the US recently announced. In its affidavit in Supreme Court, the centre has stated that exercising the statutory powers would be counterproductive. Rather, it would continue to actively engage with global organizations at a diplomatic level to find out the best solution.
The vaccine and pharma lobby across the globe have protested against the TRIPS waiver. Their fear is that such waivers will not just give away current technology but rivals will be able to build upon them for all the future innovations.
The government is of the opinion that utilizing patent waiver could spoil their equations with global corporations. It may prove to be a hindrance in any future endeavors.
Further, India possesses enough technical know-how to manufacture the vaccine. It is the lack of raw materials and essential inputs that has pegged the vaccination program. Hence, using the patient waiver is anyways not going to help to immediately increase production.
Fear of Rural Slowdown
The second COVID-19 wave, unlike last year, has equally affected the rural segments of the country. A news report has suggested that in 243 backward districts, more than 39.16 lakh people had been infected by the disease as of May 5. It is four times the level as of September 20.
The government's decision to stay away from imposing fresh lockdown has been among the major reasons for the spread of the virus to the local level. Recently, an SBI Research report also pointed that rural contribution in new cases has increased to 48.5% in May. It was at 36.8% in March.
Rural activities in many ways were the savior of the economy last year. It largely supported demand and kept the agriculture activities going.
However, even the rural areas have come under the COVID-19 grip during the second wave. It has threatened to impact one segment that managed to stay resilient during the trying times.
A Sweet Deal
India's sugar mills have exported 5 mn tn of sugar in the current crop year. And, the exports are likely to touch 6 million tonnes by the end of June.
With that, the industry is expected to achieve its export targets three months before September. This would be the highest ever export of sugars for India. Last year, the country had exported a record over 5.9 million tonnes of sugar.
The dry season in Brazil and Thailand has reduced their output, helping India. Rising sugar export is a matter of great relief for sugar mills as well as the sugarcane farmers. It will help sugar mills to settle dues they owe sugarcane farmers.
Pending dues is a long-standing issue between the mill owners and the farmers. Overall dues at the start of the current crop year were at Rs 21,200 crore. With rising exports, the industry can expect this figure to come down significantly by the end of the current year, which ends in September.