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Commerce Ministry Extends DEPB Scheme Withdraws Reduction In DEPB Rates

Owing to the tremendous pressure exerted by the exporting community in the country, the Union commerce ministry has extended the DEPB (duty entitled passbook) scheme till December 31, 2009. Moreover, the ministry has withdrawn, with retrospective effect, its last year’s decision to reduce the DEPB rates by 2 per cent.

The commerce ministry last year had withdrawn the hike in DEPB rates by 2 per cent given to exporters to partly compensate for the losses incurred due to sharp rupee appreciation against US dollar during the year 2007. The reason for withdrawal of hike in DEPB rates by the ministry was the almost 10 per cent depreciation of the rupee since April 2008.

The extension of DEPB scheme and the reinstatement of the rate will prove to be a bit relief to the beleaguered pharma exporters have termed the commerce ministry decision as ‘a big relief at this time of economic crisis’.

The DEPB scheme was first announced by the central government on April 1, 1997 under EXIM Policy 1997-2002. It is an export promotion scheme and envisages grant of DEPB credit entitlement to an exporter at the time of export at an ad-valorem rate notified by DGFT (Director General of Foreign Trade), in relation to FOB value of the export product.

These rates are based on the computation of basic customs duty suffered by the exporters on the inputs listed in the standard input-output norms (SION) applicable to the export product. The crucial feature of the DEPB scheme is that all the inputs listed in the SION are deemed to have been imported and to have suffered customs duties. DEPB rates are finalized by the DEPB committee, chaired by additional DGFT and consist of representative from Ministry of Finance also. Value caps have been imposed on export products having DEPB rates of 15 per cent or more to curb the tendency of unscrupulous exporters to avail by over-invoicing export.

(Ref: The Chronicle Pharmabiz dated January 15, 2009)

Nirmed Invests Rs 3 Cr For Greenfield Project To Manufacture Wound Care Products

Nirmed Healthcare has invested Rs 3 crore to set up a facility in Bangalore to manufacture a range of wound dressing products. The company is a special purpose vehicle of the decade-old Siddhi Vinayaka Spechem Private Limited which is engaged in exporting quality biochemical reagent and intermediates to the regulated markets of US and Europe.

Under the new initiative, Nirmed is constructing a new plant which is Schedule M compliant at the Bommasandra Industrial Area close to its existing reagent and intermediate unit in the outskirts of Bangalore. The Greenfield project estimated at a cost of Rs 3 crore has been funded by the Bank of Maharashtra. The funds will be utilized for plant and machinery, Harsha MC, managing director, Nirmed Healthcare told Pharmabiz.

The facility which will be commissioned in March 2009 will be equipped with machines from Switzerland to manufacture specialty products for wound care. Nirmed is gearing up to provide European quality products at Indian prices. The portfolio will include 14 products beginning from gauze wire to advanced wound dressings pads with drug delivery systems.
There is a huge potential for wound care products in the country. The initial focus will be on domestic market and once we consolidate our presence in the domestic market, we will go on to tap the international orders. Of course, we will need to go in for facility certification from global regulators, stated Harsha.

The range of products will be for post operative management and to treat deep wounds in emergency medicine and trauma care including burns. There is an increasing focus towards minimally invasive surgery for faster recovery and this is where the specialty products will come of much use. The concept of specialty products in wound care exists in the West and is novel to India.

The company has undertaken an extensive market study before it went into product development. It has also gone in for a sponsored research assistance to upscale the product development. Efforts are underway to seek the GMP license for production from the Karnataka Drugs Control department. Permissions from the State Pollution Control Board and the Inspectorate of Industries have already been sought. The new unit will see Nirmed hiring 30 people to man its operations.

The market for wound care in India is estimated at around Rs 200 crore and registering a growth rate of 10-15 per cent. The competition in the sector is fierce because of the presence of both multinational companies and small units. "However, Nirmed will make a difference in the segment with its product mix of me-too and unique products," he said.

(Ref : Chronicle Pharmabiz dated December 11, 2008)

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