Published: Friday 31 July 1998

aids prevention: The government of India plans to launch the second phase of its nationwide AIDS control and prevention programme. The government has received Rs 750 crore from the World Bank for this programme. For the first phase (1992-99), the government had allocated around Rs 320 crore. Half of the total budget will be demarcated for 'intervention programmes' carried out by non-governmental organisations in the country, say government officials. Plans are afoot to set up an AIDS society in Mumbai that will receive funds directly from the Centre. As AIDS is prevalent in Mumbai, the second phase will focus on preventing the disease.

producing drugs: The Bangalore-based biotechnology company, Biocon India Ltd, plans to diversify into bulk activities in pharmaceuticals. For this, the company will form a subsidiary company, Helix Biotech Private Ltd, with a total investment of Rs 40 crore. Biocon has recently expanded its fermentation facility. This expanded facility will be merged with Helix Biotech. According to Kiran Majumdar, chairperson of Biocon India, the company plans to set up a chemical conversion unit in Bomsandra industrial area in Bangalore.

checking mad cows: India has banned imports of products from the UK, Switzerland and the European Union that are prone to Bovine Spongioform Encephalopathy (BSE), also known as the 'mad cow' disease. The decision has been taken in view of the reported incidences of BSE in the UK, Switzerland and certain other countries. These products/items will have to carry a health certificate from the government or the health authority of the exporting country, certifying that the products have originated only from health animals, free from BSE.

power proposals: The Haryana government has received 18 proposals, involving an investment of Rs 200 crore, for setting up projects to generate power from non-conventional sources of energy such as biomass cogeneration, micro hydel and municipal solid waste. Attar Singh Saini, minister of state for non-conventional energy sources, says that the state government has received eight proposals for generating power from municipal solid wastes, seven for micro hydel projects and three for biomass cogeneration. The Haryana State Energy Development Agency will implement these schemes.

project for prosperity: A multi-crore sericulture project funded by the Japan government has been started in Imphal, Manipur. Hiroshi Hirabayashi, Japanese ambassador to India, says that the project will have several advantages for a state like Manipur where there are no big industries. According to Manipur state sericulture directorate, each unit will produce silk yarn worth Rs 1.5 lakh and the entire project will generate employment for 34,800 people. About 90 per cent of the equipment and other inputs necessary for rearing silk worms and mulberry trees will be supplied under the project.

fake pills: Brazil's health ministry is investigating a case into the production of an anti-prostrate cancer drug by the subsidiary of Schering, the German pharmaceuticals group, after inspectors found fake pills in the market. The government has already fined Schering US $2.5 million after it was confirmed that tablets made from flour were sold in Brazil as contraceptive pills. Under Brazil's consumer defence code, the fine is the maximum possible penalty.

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