"Appropriate Agreement signed between India and Canada"

“Appropriate Arrangement signed between India and Canada”

The governments of Canada and India have moved a step ahead towards the complete implementation of their Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA) that was signed nearly two years ago in 2010 during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Canada. The agreement had been delayed over Canada’s emphasis on details regarding the use of its uranium here. The “Appropriate Arrangement” regarding the same announced by Joe Oliver, Federal minister of natural resources, was signed on March 14 by Government of india’s secretar in department of atomic energy, R K sinha. It was followed by Michael Binder, chairman, CNSC ( Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission) signing it in Ottawa a week later.
Considering the fact that India’s meagre Uranium deposits aren’t sufficient for the nation’s increasing nuclear energy requirements, this arrangement is a positive news. After the bid to procure Uranium from Australia didn’t end on an optimistic note last year, the NCA paves way for Canadian Uranium to reach India, though after some rounds of bilateral negotiations.

Appropriate Arrangement

This arrangement establishes a Joint Committee between India and Canada to ensure ongoing discussions and information sharing in a number of spheres. It establishes reciprocated obligations to minimize risks associated with major nuclear items. Canada has been much apprehensive about in what manner its uranium is used and where it ends up which resulted in delay in the complete implementation of the NCA. Many of the concerns have been responded to over bilateral talks and negotiations, thus giving it the term ‘Appropriate Arrangement’. These include assurances that exports are properly protected, safely handled used for peaceful purposes and that Canada maintains control over the exports.

The NCA will allow Canadian companies to export nuclear material, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes to India in compliance with the former’s nuclear non-proliferation policy.The agreement also ensures that Canadian exports go only to facilities in India that are under IAEA ( International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguards.
India has ambitious plan to reach nuclear power capacity of 63,000 MW in the next two decades. Current nuclear power generating capacity can be clubbed at 4,780 MW. Five reactors that are under construction may take this capacity to 10,000 MW which is still far away from the targeted capacity. Protests regarding environment and rehabilitation concerns have already marred the commissioning of the Kundakulam reactor and worries about the fate of similarly situated reactors have also marred the sentiments related to nuclear energy.
India is committed to build 12 new reactors by 2021, thereby escalating the country’s demand for Uranium. India’s domestic production is meagre and hugely insufficient with feasible mining being carried out only in the state of Jharkhand. India is currently ranked 13th in the production of uranium. (as in 2010) Yet the quantity of uranium mined falls short of its energy requirements. Added to this is the fact that the nation is currently the fourth largest consumer of energy and hopes to increase its electricity supply threefold in the next two decades. These factors make India largely dependent on imprts from France, Russia and Kazakhstan. Although studies in 2011 revealed that Tummalapalle in Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh could be containing one of the largest uranium reserves in the world, not much progress has been made to tap this reserve owing to environmental soncerns and activists opposing mining activities there.
This agreement is a win-win situation for both countries as the bilateral trade is targeted to increase to $15 billion in future. As far as Canada is concerned, it expects to increase export revenue by uranium sale to India. Currently uranium mining accounts for a little over $1 billion in annual exports.

Advertisements

K0CAGQAENRCAAV5WK2CAJBZM47CABU9M29CAT3RGW7CAQ8NDGQCAWJCJSJCAL0LE0ZCAI5RCDUCA38R6OSCADC8NOECA70OX2SCARNSQAOCAZ9881KCALSGNCTCAB62KB4CA0HO1W4CAT1II7NCAEU68SUWe’ve seen the recent Supreme Court judgement in the Novartis AG’s case give rise to many debates about the future of compulsory licensing in India. What is the commotion about? Here I’d like to fill you in with the relevant details so that at the end of the article, you’ll be able to form your own opinion.
Swiss drug maker Novartis AG’s Glivec (imatinib mesylate) is an anti cancer drug used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) which is the most common leukemia found in adults in India, according to oncologists.
Under TRIPS (Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights) agreement, to which India is a signatory, it became mandatory for member nations to guarantee a 20 year patent protection to firms producing new drugs. India enacted the TRIPS legislation in 2005. In the same year, the Indian Patents Amendment Act was passed. Novartis was given a patent in 2001 to market Glivec. Glivec is the trade name for the drug manufactured by Novartis and a month’s dose is available at a whopping Rs. 1,20,000 which is beyond the means for many patients. Generic version of the medicine manufactured by domestic drug making companies like Natco, Cipla, Ranbaxy sell it in a range of Rs. 6000-8000 for a month’s dose.This makes the drug available to those patients who may never dream of procuring its branded version Glivec.
Novartis challenged the Section 3(D) of the Indian Patents Amendment Act. This section of the patent law attempts to prevent evergreening- a rampant practice amongst pharmaceutical companies of bringing out a version of the patented medicine with incremental modification and no innovation in order to elongate the life of their patents.
Innovation must be accompanied by an efficiency in the drug’s therapeutic influence. In 2009, the Patent Appellate Board refused to grant a patent to Glivec as the law percieved that there was no substantial innovation to the originally patented product(imanitib). Novartis then moved the Supreme Court against this order.
In a landmark judgement that was given in April 2013 by a bench comprising of Aftab Alam and Ranjana Desai, Supreme court rejected Novartis’ bid for the patent saying that imanitib mesylate was merely a retooled avatar of imanitib without any modification that could substantially increase its therapeutic value.This means that domestic companies may continue to produce the generic version of the drug as imanitaib at highly reduced costs. This was a landmark judgement as pharma companies have been resorting to the practice of nominal changes in the structure, combination etc of the chemical composition of drugs so that the patent can be extended beyond the expiry limit. The judgement also provides clarity to other pharmaceutical companies planning to launch their products in India on the extent of innovation required to retain their patents here.
MNCs have been disappointed by recent jugdements in favour of generic medicine manufacturing companies and feel thet this is a setback to research being carried out to improve drugs. Last year, patent office had overruled German pharma giant Bayer’s objections to allowing Natco pharma to produce a generic version of the anti cancer drug Nexavar. A month’s dose of Bayer’s Nexavar is available at Rs. 2,80,000 while the compulsory licence granted to Natco mandated it to sell the generic version at not more than Rs. 8800 for a month’s dose. But the judgement has been hailed by activists as well as patients who believe that such life saving drugs must be available at affordable prices to as many people as possible. To quote Anand Grover, Senior counsel and director of lawyers collective, HIV/AIDS unit-
“The judgement promotes genuine research by disallowing patent monopolies on minor changes to known molecules.”