Lucknow, June 13 (IANS) It is now mandatory for tobacco sellers in Uttar Pradesh to take a license. The government has taken this decision keeping in mind the growing problem of tobacco and the danger it poses to public health and also ensure effective enforcement of the rules and policies applicable for tobacco control.According to the government spokesman, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had sent an advisory letter to all the state governments recommending the licensing of tobacco vendors to the municipal corporation. In view of this, this system has been implemented in UP.According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey conducted by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, 35.5 per cent of adults (15 years and above) in Uttar Pradesh use tobacco in some form or the other.The total direct and indirect cost of disease caused by tobacco use is Rs 182,000 crore, which is about 1.8 per cent of the country's GDP.It has also been decided that under the new system, shopkeepers selling tobacco products will not be able to sell non-tobacco products like toffee, candy, chips, biscuits, soft drinks. This has been done to prevent children from getting attracted towards tobacco products.--IANS amita/skp/
Thiruvananthapuram, June 12 (IANS) New Kerala Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal on Saturday expressed happiness in the way things went about at the GST Council meeting, saying even though he raised the issue of reducing GST rates to zero on Covid related products, it did not happen.Amid calls for lower levies on items and medicines required in Covid-19 treatment, the GST Council on Saturday decided to slash rates of several Covid-relief items to 5 per cent from the existing 12-18 per cent levels, although it kept the much talked-about tax rate on vaccines unchanged at 5 per cent.Speaking to IANS soon after the meeting, Balagopal said that Kerala was one of the first states to approach the Centre with the demand to reduce GST rates on products associated with dealing with the Covid pandemic."Though the demand for zero GST rate (on Covid items) was not met, we were able to prevail upon the need for reduction of rates which has happened. Pulse oximetre carried 12 per GST and it has been reduced to 5 per cent. Similarly, the GST on sanitisers has been slashed to 5 per cent from 18 per cent, while the rate for oxygen concentrators has been reduced from 18 per cent to 12 per cent. Also, the GST on ambulance has been reduced to 12 per cent from 28 per cent," Balagopal told IANS.However, the minister said that the GST on vaccines has not been reduced as it was said that 75 per cent of the vaccines are being provided by the Centre."What happened today is the result of the recent meeting of the group of ministers on GST. Overall, the efforts appear to have paid off," added the 57-year-old first-time legislator.--IANSsg/arm
Panaji, May 31 (IANS) Additional cess can be levied on tobacco products by governments in order to raise revenue to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, the National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication said on Monday on the occasion of 'World No Tobacco Day'.In a statement issued on Monday, secretary of the Organisation, Goa-based oncologist Dr. Shekhar Salkar also said that there is growing evidence that tobacco use increases the risk of a severe Covid-19 infection."Public health groups along with doctors are urging the GST Council to increase compensation cess on all tobacco products to generate additional revenue for the government. In their appeals to the GST council they are urging it to consider an extra-ordinary measure of levying compensation cess on all tobacco products to get additional revenues," Salkar said. "This tax revenue from tobacco could significantly contribute to the increased need for resources during the pandemic including vaccinations and augmenting the health infrastructure to prepare for a possible third wave," he also said, calling it a "win-win" policy, which will address the economic shock from Covid-19 pandemic and directly reduce Covid-19 related co-morbidities."There is growing evidence that smoking and smokeless tobacco increases risk for severe Covid 19 infection. Smoking worsens lung function and reduces immunity. Tobacco users who develop Covid infection have more complications and greater risk of fatality," he also said.--IANSmaya/ash
New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) Ministry of Science & Technology DST has invited applications from startups and companies for developing new technologies and innovative products to tackle second Covid-19 wave."Supporting development of devices like Oxygen Concentrators also brings with it huge opportunities in the development and manufacturing of several critical components that are being imported such as specialised valves, zeolite materials, oil-less and noiseless miniaturised compressors, gas sensors, which have wider applications in several sectors," said Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST.Development and manufacturing (import substitution) of the products parts currently being imported for the devices like Oxygen Concentrators and so on would also be considered for Seed Support through DST supported network of TBIs.Promising startups will be provided with financial and mentoring support for scaling up their products/technologies to the next level and speeding up their processes, helping them reach the product deployment stage as fast as possible.As a rapid response to support startup-driven solutions for tackling the current challenge, second wave of Covid-19 in the country, Indian startups and companies have been invited to apply for developing new technologies and innovative products that can enable our country to fight the crisis.NIDHI4COVID2.0, a new initiative under which the companies can apply, will fund eligible startups & companies registered in India offering promising solutions in the thrust areas of oxygen innovation, portable solution, relevant medical accessories, diagnostic, informatics, or any other solution that mitigate various challenges faced by country or society due to the severe impact of Covid-19.The initiative is a special drive of the National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India (GoI) for supporting indigenous solutions and innovative products to combat the crisis that the country is currently facing due to the pandemic.This initiative has been built based on NSTEDB's past experience of implementing Centre for Augmenting WAR with Covid-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH) and also through special calls through National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations - Seed Support System (NIDHI - SSS) from Technology Business Incubators (TBI) to support Startups in 2020.In the current situation, startups can play a major role in bringing new technologies and products in the market, thus making our country stronger at various fronts against the ongoing war on Covid. Some of the startups already have promising technologies but need mentoring, financial, and marketing support to go to the next level. Thus, DST's attempt through this new initiative is to scout and support deserving startups with much-needed support to scale up their technologies, helping them reach the product deployment stage as fast as possible.--IANSmiz/rs
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addressed the fourth Global Ayurveda Festival through virtual mode.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister noted the growing global interest in Ayurveda and appreciated the efforts of all those working on Ayurveda across the world. He said “Ayurveda could rightly be described as a holistic human science. From the plants to your plate, from matters of physical strength to mental well-being, the impact and influence of Ayurveda and traditional medicine is immense.”
In the context of COVID-19 pandemic, the Prime Minister said that the demand for ayurvedic products is steadily rising. “The current situation presents a right time for Ayurveda and traditional medicines to become even more popular globally. There is growing interest towards them. The world is seeing how modern and traditional medicines both are important to further wellness. People are realising the benefits of Ayurveda and its role in boosting immunity,” said the Prime Minister.
Talking about the potential for wellness tourism in India, he said that at the core of wellness tourism is the principle of - treat illness, further wellness. Therefore, the strongest pillar of the wellness tourism is Ayurveda and traditional medicine. He called upon the audience to tap into the timeless culture of India to de-stress and healing.“Whether you want to treat your body, or a retreat for your mind, come to India”, The Prime Minister invited.
The Prime Minister called for taking advantage of Ayurveda’s popularity and opportunities arising out of combining traditional with the modern. Citing situations like youngsters using a wide range of Ayurveda products and a growing consciousness to integrate Ayurveda with evidence-based medical sciences, Shri Modi called upon the academicians to deepen research on Ayurveda and traditional forms of medicine. He urged vibrant start-up community to specially look at Ayurveda products. He also appreciated the youth for presenting our traditional forms of healing in a language that is globally understood.
On behalf of the Government, the Prime Minister assured full support to the world of Ayurveda. He informed that the National AYUSH Mission has been started to promote AYUSH medical systems through cost effective AYUSH services. It is also working to strengthen educational systems and facilitating the enforcement of quality control of Ayurveda, Siddha Unani & Homoeopathy drugs and ensuring sustainable availability of raw-materials. He informed that the Government is undertaking various quality control measures as well. “Our policy regarding Ayurveda and other Indian systems of medicine is already aligned with the Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023 of World Health Organisation. The WHO has also announced the setting up of the Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in India”, The Prime Minister said.
Noting that students from various countries are coming to India to study about Ayurveda and traditional medicines, The Prime Minister commented that this is the ideal time to think about worldwide wellness. He suggested that perhaps a global Summit could be organised on this theme.
The Prime Minister emphasized the need to promote food items relating to Ayurveda and food items that further good health. He mentioned the United Nations declaring 2023 to be the International Year of Millets. The Prime Minister called to spread awareness on the benefits of millets.
The Prime Minister gave a call to keep building on our achievements in Ayurveda. “Let Ayurveda be a drawing force, which brings the world to our land. May it also create prosperity for our youth” he concluded.
Text of PM's address at Global Ayurveda Festival
Greetings to everyone.
My colleagues in the Ministry, Kiren Rijiju ji, Muralitharan ji, Global Ayurveda Festival Secretary General Dr. Gangadharan ji, FICCI President Uday Shankar ji, Dr. Sangeeta Reddy ji.
I am glad to be speaking at the fourth Global Ayurveda Festival. It is wonderful to note that many experts are going to be sharing their views and experiences. The number of countries being represented is above 25. These are great signs. It shows a growing interest towards Ayurveda and traditional forms of medicine. From this forum I would like to appreciate the efforts of all those working on Ayurveda across the world. Their passion and persistence will benefit the entire humanity.
Ayurveda is closely linked to the respect Indian culture gives to Nature and the environment. Our texts have described Ayurveda brilliantly when it was said: हिता-हितम् सुखम् दुखम्, आयुः तस्य हिता-हितम्। मानम् च तच्च यत्र उक्तम्, आयुर्वेद स उच्यते॥ Ayurveda takes care of many aspects. It ensures good health and a long life. Ayurveda could rightly be described as a holistic human science. From the plants to your plate, From matters of physical strength to mental well-being, The impact and influence of Ayurveda and traditional medicine is immense.
It is said: 'स्वस्थस्य स्वास्थ्य रक्षणं, आतुरस्य विकार प्रशमनं'। It means: Apart from curing existing ailments, Ayurveda also protects the overall health of the body. No wonder, that more than Rog, Ayurveda talks about Nirog. Back in the day, if someone went to a Vaidya, he or she not only got a medicine but also a few Mantras like: भोजन करें आराम से, सब चिंता को मार। चबा-चबा कर खाइए, वैद्य न आवे द्वार॥ It means: Enjoy your food, without any tension. Relish every bite of the food, chew it patiently… this way you will never have to call a Vaidyaraj home again.
In June 2020, I came across an article in the Financial Times. The headline was - Coronavirus gives 'health halo' products a boost. The piece referred to turmeric, ginger and other such spices whose demand is steadily rising in the context of the COVID-19 global pandemic. The current situation presents a right time for Ayurveda and traditional medicines to become even more popular globally. There is growing interest towards them. The world is seeing how modern and traditional medicines both are important to further wellness. People are realizing the benefits of Ayurveda and its role in boosting immunity. People are making Kaadha, Basil, black pepper integral parts of their lives.
There are many flavours of tourism today. But, what India specially offers you is Wellness Tourism, I repeat again Wellness Tourism. At the core of wellness tourism is the principle of - treat illness, further wellness. And, when I talk about Wellness Tourism, its strongest pillar is Ayurveda and traditional medicine. Imagine yourself getting a detox in lush green surroundings in the beautiful state of Kerala. Imagine yourself performing Yoga by a gushing river, by the mountain winds in Uttarakhand. Imagine yourself in the middle of the lush green forests of the Northeast. If your life's deadlines and timelines are stressing you out, it is time to tap into the timeless culture of India. Whether you want to treat your body, or a retreat for your mind, come to India.
Thanks to Ayurveda's popularity a strong opportunity awaits us. We must not lose that opportunity. There have been many gains by combining the traditional with the modern. Youngsters are using a wide range of Ayurveda products. There is a growing consciousness to integrate Ayurveda with evidence based medical sciences. Likewise, other things getting popular are: Ayurveda supplements. Personal care products centred around Ayurveda. The Packaging of products has been greatly enhanced. I would call upon our academicians to deepen research on Ayurveda and traditional forms of medicine. I would urge our vibrant start-up community to specially look at Ayurveda products. One thing for which I want to specially appreciate the youth is that they have taken the lead to present our traditional forms of healing in a language that is globally understood. No wonder I strongly feel that the ethos of our land and the enterprise spirit of our youth can do wonders.
On behalf of the Government I assure full support to the world of Ayurveda. India has set up the National Ayush Mission. The National AYUSH Mission has been started to promote AYUSH medical systems through cost effective AYUSH services. It is also working to strengthen educational systems. It is also facilitating the enforcement of quality control of Ayurveda, Siddha Unani & Homoeopathy drugs and ensuring sustainable availability of raw materials. The Government is undertaking various quality control measures as well. Our policy regarding Ayurveda and other Indian systems of medicine is already aligned with the Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023 of World Health Organisation. The WHO has also announced the setting up of the Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in India. We welcome this step. You would be happy to know that already, students from various countries are coming to India to study about Ayurveda and traditional medicines. This is the ideal time to think about world wide wellness. Perhaps a global Summit could be organised on this theme. We should also think about Ayurveda and Aahar in the times to come. Food items relating to Ayurveda and food items that further good health. Many of you would be aware that a few days ago the United Nations declared 2023 to be the International Year of Millets. Let us spread awareness on the benefits of millets.
Let me conclude with a quotation of Mahatma Gandhi. I quote: I think highly of Ayurveda. It is one of the ancient sciences of India, which ensures the health of the millions in her thousands of villages. I advise every citizen to live life in accordance with the principles of Ayurveda. The Pharmacy, the dispensary and the Vaidyaraj, all have my blessings that they may be enabled to render the best possible service to Ayurveda. Unquote. Mahatma Gandhi said this more than a hundred years ago. But his sentiment is relatable even now. Let us keep building on our achievements in Ayurveda. Let Ayurveda be a driving force, which brings the world to our land. May it also create prosperity for our youth. I wish this conference all success. My best wishes to all participants.
Thank you very much.
New Delhi, Jan 16 (IANS) Allaying the fears associated with the Covid-19 vaccination drive, V.K. Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, emphasised on Saturday that people should accept the vaccines provided by the government and shed apprehensions associated with their safety standards.Citing Covaxin, Paul, who heads a government panel on vaccine strategy, said that people should have faith in home-grown products and technology.Paul was administered the first dose of Covaxin at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi on Saturday, the first day of the nationwide vaccination drive. "I have taken the shot, it was Covaxin. I feel great, superb. I am relieved. India has reached a point where the final battle against Covid-19 can be fought with an additional and gamechanging tool, namely the vaccine," Paul said while interacting with the media after taking the vaccine jab.He insisted that the vaccine is a great tool to ensure that the Covid-19 pandemic is extinguished. On scaling up 3,000 vaccine sites, Paul said: "It is only a matter of time. You want to begin in a short-footed way, so we are staring with 3,000 and in the next two weeks, the numbers will be raised to 5,000, then it will be raised in multiple of 5,000 in order to cover 30 crore people in seven to eight months."Paul added that this is just the beginning, and the real challenge will be to vaccinate people over 50 years of age, numbering more than 26 crore, to be covered within 5-6 months. "That will the real test of our resilience, capacity and capability. India will be able to do it smoothly using Indian products," Paul said.On the hype associated around the safety swtandards of the vaccines, Paul said that he has addressed the apprehensions associated with the vaccines by taking the Covaxin jab himself on the opening day of the vaccination drive. "People should feel proud about the indegenous vaccines. The vaccines the government is providing should be accepted by the people, as they are for the people, society and the country," added Paul.Reacting to reports that some resident doctors at the RML Hospital in Delhi have refused to take the jab, Paul said that it is a very unfortunate incident. "With folded hands, I request the doctors to have faith in the government. We must have faith in our institutions; we must have faith in our science and technology. Please embrace the vaccines, whichever is available," said Paul.He stressed that people should have faith in their own products, science, technology and also in the regulatory system and in the government.Paul added that the safety of the two vaccines have been proven without doubt on thousands of individuals. "Today, two great vaccines are available. Whatever vaccine you're allotted, please take it," he urged the people.--IANSss/arm