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Jottings: Why India Should Not Dilute IPR

Driven by technology, better understanding of the market and a passion for market disruption, several new agrotech ventures are now creating ripples in the Indian FMCG space, to attract some serious investor attention and heavy funding

Indian generic drug maker, Natco Pharma, has launched the generic version of Gilead Sciences’ new Hepatitis-C combination drug, Epclusa in India, at a fraction of the cost at which Gilead has been selling it internationally. Gilead is selling this patented drug at $890 per pill internationally. Natco’s generic drug, which costs Rs 18,500 for 28 pills (for a course) or Rs 660 a pill, will be a huge relief to millions of patients in India and other developing countries, where Natco Pharma will sell the chronic hepatitis C medicines.

Getting this treatment at such an affordable cost was the outcome of a generic licensing agreement that Gilead was forced to sign with Indian drug makers after strong negotiations and campaigns that many healthcare groups initiated against Gilead’s exorbitant price globally.

Negotiations for generic licences of patented drugs have helped bring down prices of costly treatments. These negotiations were successfully initiated with the help of tight IPR and competition policies introduced by various governments. India has utilised such policies for the advantage of poor patients earlier too, which should be a good reason for it not to dilute its strongly drafted IPR policy.
— C. H. Unnikrishnan

Stir In FMCG
The Indian FMCG market, which is expected to grow to $200 billion by 2020, is in for exciting times. A clutch of startups have dared to take on the established players. Over the last few years, the industry has remained relatively unaffected by the startup revolution. Analysts and industry experts say that entrepreneurs and investors were hesitant about FMCG, primarily because the market was dominated by several large brands and also because of the low-profit margins in the sector. Driven by technology, better understanding of the market and a passion for market disruption, several new agrotech ventures are now creating ripples in the Indian FMCG space, to attract some serious investor attention and heavy funding.
— Monica Behura

Royal Enfield On The Racing Track
Eicher Motors, manufacturer of Royal Enfield bikes, reportedly plans to buy out Italian superbike brand, Ducati. Considering the deep pockets that the Siddhartha Lal-led Eicher Motors has, the Indian company may soon own something as magnificent as the Ducati brand. The real big deal would be to make Royal Enfield a global name in the premium motorcycle market.

Lal has already said that the company was eyeing market leadership in the mid weight (250-750cc) category. The acquisition of Ducati, which boasts of bikes with engine capacity between 800cc and 1,200cc, will enhance Eicher’s presence in the developed market where it has begun operations, of late. The deal could also improve the brand’s global image, the way Tata Motors’ did after it acquired Jaguar Land Rover.

The Ducati brand, which is controlled by German auto giant, the VW group, is in a financial turmoil post the diesel emissions scandal. The group has tasked investment banking boutique, Evercore, to evaluate possible options for a sale of Ducati.
— Arshad Khan

Swachh And Incredible

Earlier this month, India was ranked 40th among the 136 economies across the world in the 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) released by the World Economic Forum (WEF). This year India has jumped 12 places from an earlier 52nd position in 2015. It makes India only the third country around the globe to improve its rank in double digits in a single year.

The key reason for India’s advancement in the index were some steps taken by the Union Ministry of Tourism, like the e-visa facilities launched for tourists. Tourists who arrive with e-visas get free SIM cards with 50 MB data and Rs 50 worth of talk time.

But surely, the prime impetus came from the Prime Minister’s Swachh Bharat Mission. The cleanliness drive across the country, in which every citizen plays a part, has worked for the tourism industry. The key focus of the drive was to improve cleanliness around tourist spots. Last year all 3,686 monuments under the Archaeological Survey of India were declared polythene-free zones. Apparently, simply cleaning up “Incredible India” is the zest it needs to draw visitors from distant climes. How soon now, before India figures in the top ten rankings as a tourist destination?
— Abid Hasan

Why Markets Leaped When Macron Won
Prime minister Narendra Modi congratulated 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron, who will now lead France as President, having trounced the Far Right Marine Le Pen, by a huge margin. The Euro jumped to a six-month high, as the markets celebrated too. Le Pen had promised a referendum on France’s membership of the European Union (EU), portending another parting of ways of a founder member of the economic and political union. She had pledged liberation from the EU and ‘France-first’ policies, to free it from the “tyrannies” of globalisation, apart from Islamic fundamentalism.

With the EU’s oldest founding member’s commitment to the union intact, exporters in India have some cause for cheer too. The EU accounted for 13.5 per cent of India’s overall trade with the world in 2015-16, followed by China (10.8 per cent), the United States (9.3 per cent) the UAE (7.7 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (4.3 per cent).

Incidentally, Macron has now set out plans in his manifesto to introduce a “Buy European Act”, which would effectively, restrict companies operating outside of the bloc from accessing public procurement deals. Will an inward looking EU be better than a disintegrating one?
— Prateek Shukla

Auto Biggies Bet Big On India
Automobile majors seem to be betting big on the Indian market. Many have put their investments on a fast track. Many global biggies, such as SAIC Motor, Peugeot, Daihatsu, Lexus and Kia, plan to foray into the world’s fifth largest auto market over the next three years, with collective investments of at least Rs 10,000 crore.

The automotive sector, comprising passenger cars, multi-utility vehicles, sports utility vehicles, commercial vehicles, three-wheelers and two-wheelers, car parts and ancillaries — have received $15.065 billion in foreign direct investment between 2000 and 2016.

These numbers could double (or even triple) as auto component makers line up multibillion-dollar investments for products and solutions for future emission, End of Life Vehicle (ELV) and safety norms. India is tipped to be the third biggest passenger vehicle market by the turn of the decade. Let us assume that when GST is implemented and the rural economy really turns around and the band of the burgeoning middle class widens, India will have more cars on its roads and global manufacturers will want to be here.
— Avishek Banerjee

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magazine 27 may 2017

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