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Atal Innovation Mission To Support Startups With COVID-19 Solutions

As Covid-19 pandemic and economic shutdowns are dealing a severe blow on the world economy, NITI Aayog’s flagship Atal Innovation Mission, (AIM) is on full swing to keep the entrepreneurial spirit high across the country by teaming up with other Ministeries and partners to support Startups with COVID-19 innovative Solutions and to further fight COVID- 19 pandemics.

In this regard, AIM today coordinated and concluded a series of virtual COVID-19 Demo-Days- an initiative to identify promising start-ups with potential Covid-19 innovations to further help them deploy and scale-up their solutions nationwide. The initiative was launched in partnership with other government bodies including Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), Department of Biotechnology (DBT); Department of Science and Technology (DST), Startup India, AGNIi, and other Ministries under the direction of Principal Scientific Adviser to GoI Dr. Vijay Raghavan, and Member Health, NITI Aayog Dr. Vinod Paul.

Over 1,000 COVID-19 related start-ups from a diverse set of categories including curative, preventive and assistive solutions were put through two rounds of evaluation, from which more than 70 start-ups were shortlisted for the Virtual COVID-19 Demo Days. These start-ups will receive support in the form of funding, access to manufacturing abilities, supply chain and logistics and finding the right vendors and mentors.

A total of nine DemoDays for Medical Devices, PPE, Sanitization, Technology solutions, etc were held and led by Mission Director AIM, NITI Aayog R. Ramanan. While sharing his views, he said that the joint initiative is expected to provide a much-needed fillip to India’s mobilization efforts relating to all COVID-19 related products/services/solutions and give the start-up ecosystem an effective platform to contribute during the current scenario.

( , July 15, 2020 )

Medical Device Industry Suffers Up To 85% Drop In Revenues During Apr-June: MTaI

Medical technology industry has suffered around 50-85 per cent drop in revenue during April-June with a decline in surgical procedures at hospitals due to COVID-19 situation, industry body MTaI said on Wednesday. Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI), which represents research-based medical technology companies in the country, said the government should consider reducing tax burden on medical devices in order to revive the sector.

Elaborating on the current situation, MTaI said elective procedures (surgeries) drive a large part of the demand for medical devices and the postponement has severely impacted the revenue streams of the medtech industry.

The estimated revenue downfall in the cardiology category is up to 60 per cent in the first quarter of the financial year, while in the orthopaedic industry devices segment there is a revenue fall of around 85 per cent, MTaI said in a statement.

Similarly, the opthalmology sector has also recorded a fall up to 75 per cent in its revenues during April-June, it added. Even the critical care device segment fell to nearly half, MTaI said. "Due to the shrinking margins of the hospitals, the channel and service dealership networks, and sub-dealers are already experiencing significant workforce downsizing," it noted.

So far the global medtech fraternity have heeded to the government's request of protecting the jobs of its workforce, even while facing significant financial blows. However, if the situation does not improve, these efforts may not be sustainable, MTaI said.

"We request its immediate intervention to help the sector recover so that it can continue fulfilling its role in ensuring critical care services in the country," MTaI Chairman and Director General Pavan Choudary said.

"We request the government to consider giving basic customs duty exemption to the medical device industry to cope with the liquidity challenges during this time," it noted. It also sought revocation of health cess on medical devices.

The government should revoke the additional five per cent health cess on medical devices imposed from April 2020, MTaI said. A not-for-profit organisation, MTaI was established in 2016. Currently, it has 37 members, including Johnson & Johnson Medical India, Bausch & Lomb, Boston Scientific and Alcon.

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