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QCI, AMTZ and AiMeD form Indian Bio-Medical Skill Consortium to certify capacity of Indian biomedical engineers

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru, Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 08:00 Hrs [IST]

The Association of Indian Manufacturers of Medical Devices (AIMED) has teamed up with the Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone (AMTZ) and Quality Council of India (QCI) to form the Indian Biomedical Skill Consortium (IBSC).

The development of biomedical skill sector in India received a major boost and the objective of the initiative is to understand and analyse the methodology of existing certification/licencing for clinical engineers or biomedical equipment technicians by institute / association in various countries and prepare a module to benefit Indian biomedical engineering professionals.

The proposed Skill Cell will be hub for both national and international BME students and engineers to learn and gain in-depth knowledge on all medical devices, calibration and relevant areas. IBSC will give recognition to Indian biomedical engineers based on their years of experience, education and competency levels. This will benefit to approximately two lakh biomedical engineers in India and 6,500 or more fresh graduates annually. International candidates are also eligible to take this exam.

IBSC proposes to develop an equivalence system of value-based assessment covering educational training, work experience and competency possessed by practitioners of biomedical engineering skills. To facilitate this a large number of assessment centres are being planned across several states in India where competency test on key bio-medical engineering skills could be undertaken by practitioners of bio-medical engineering from mechanical, electronic, electrical, health, IT, clinical and allied engineering subjects. The outcome - a competency score - shall be framed on parity with other such professional bodies in other countries. This equivalence score will help the Indian biomedical skill pool to gain formal recognition and acceptance of their experience and knowledge in other countries.

The tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Rajiv Nath, forum coordinator, AiMED, Dr. Jitendar Sharma, MD & CEO, AMTZ and Dr. Ravi P. Singh, secretary general, QCI.

According to Nath, healthcare industry is one of the major source of economy to our nation, this industry needs well trained and skilled engineers particularly in medical devices areas.

“The move will help develop skill programs in the areas of medical devices and related areas that full fill the required manpower to hospitals, medical equipment companies and manufacturing industries. This will benefit the manufactures/industries by making available skilled manpower very easily who are well trained as per the requirements. It will also create more job opportunities for our engineers across the globe. It will enhance the competitiveness and profitability of Indian medical device industry,” he added.

Earlier a CT Scan manufacturer in India could not depute his engineer to EU or US to install, commission or service his equipment as his Indian employed engineer was not qualified. Now with this competency certification and international agreements we expect to have we will be able to support our exports as the above issue is acting as a non-tariff trade barrier, said Dr Sharma.

Along with representatives from AMTZ, QCI and AIMED, the first meeting of IBSC had representation from Kalam Institute of Health Technology (KIHT), IIT Guwahati (IIT-G), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Christian Medical College (CMC), Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO), Healthcare Sector Skill Council (HSSC), Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering & Research (SAMEER), Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Panjab University, BSI Group, Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), TÜV Rheinland India and Phoenix Medical Systems.


MTaI pitches for tax breaks to medical device R&D centres to boost investment in innovation based in-house capabilities centres

Our Bureau, New Delhi, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 08:00 Hrs [IST]

The Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI) has asked the government to provide tax breaks to medical device R&D centres under the transfer pricing act to boost investment in innovation based in-house capabilities centres.

In its pre-budget recommendations for Union Budget 2018-19, the association said: "The government needs to provide tax holiday to medical device R&D centres under the transfer pricing act to boost investment in high innovation-based in-house capabilities centres."

"We also demand tax incentives for the industry for developing global patents from India and tax deduction on income made by individuals or a company for rewards earned on patent development or licensing of patents," it added.

MTaI further requested that Safe Harbour guidelines be provided for pharmaceutical companies who are manufacturing and exporting the product as contract manufacturer/loan licensee.

There are many companies dealing in manufacturing and export of generic pharmaceutical drugs under contract manufacturing arrangement. There are major litigations on account of margins that the contract manufacturer should have earned by transfer pricing cell of income tax department. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has notified the Safe Harbour rule covering sectors like IT/ITES, KPO and auto component manufacturers prescribing desirable margins to avoid litigations under transfer pricing regulations.

Considering that weighted deductions and tax holidays are being phased out, MTaI recommended that the corporate tax rates should also be reduced for large companies in line with the government's objective to widen the tax base and make these companies globally competitive. MTaI also raised concerns over high custom duties on medical devices. There was a significant increase ranging 50-60 per cent on medical devices. This has adversely impacted costs for these products in India where the government agenda is to provide low cost healthcare available to masses.

This is especially important in view of the fact that a significant 67-70 per cent of healthcare spends is through private spending and there exists a wide gap in local manufacturing of high quality medical devices.

“We strongly recommend to restore the import duty rates on medical devices to earlier rate of 5 per cent import duty where the overall import duty costs were within range of 5-10 per cent and commensurate with import duty rates in other competing economies like Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Indonesia,” the association said.

The association has also urged the government to reduce Minimum Alternative Tax (MAT) rate to 15 per cent and amend Section 115JAA to provide that in case of an amalgamation, where the amalgamating company has carry forward MAT credit, the provisions of said section 115JAA would apply and the amalgamated company would be eligible to set off and carry forward the MAT credit of amalgamating company.

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