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21.5.21 The Hindu and Business standard

Wielding power at the Centre comes with great responsibility. A major responsibility in a federal country with strong centralising features is to maintain the balance, as well as mutual respect, between political structures at the central and State levels. In particular, it is an obligation of the Centre to refrain from bypassing the elected leadership while dealing with States. Two recent developments have raised concern that the Centre wants to give instructions to officials functioning under elected State regimes. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has held two virtual meetings with district magistrates and State officials to review the COVID-19 situation. Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal held a virtual meeting to discuss the National Education Policy, and related matters such as the conduct of Class XII examinations with State Secretaries in charge of education. While such meetings may help the Prime Minister or any Union Minister get some feedback from the field across India, it is quite unusual for leaders in the central political executive to bypass their counterparts in the States. The Tamil Nadu Minister for School Education, Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi, took the right stand by not deputing any official to represent the State in Mr. Pokhriyal’s virtual interaction. The idea was not to boycott the meeting, but to say the Minister ought to have been included in a discussion on the NEP.

The Prime Minister addressing district magistrates, or collectors, does have a precedent. Rajiv Gandhi addressed the heads of the district administration in Uttar Pradesh, when it was under Congress rule, on the issue of Panchayati Raj. The defence then was that such direct interactions were permissible under the Constitution, citing Articles 256 and 257. These provisions stipulate that the States are obliged to comply with laws made by Parliament and also allow some directions from the Union government. If the Prime Minister belongs to one party, and the officials addressed are from a State run by another, there is bound to be resentment that the elected representatives of the State are being bypassed. In the present case, it is true that the Centre has a major role in the pandemic response. The Disaster Management Act has been invoked to specify guidelines on lockdowns, restrictions and relaxations and to ensure smooth medical supplies. However, it would be in the larger interest of the country if events and discussions are held in such a way that the political structures at the State are not seen to be undermined. There ought to be no scope for complaints, such as the one made by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, that Chief Ministers felt humiliated when all of them were not allowed to speak to the PM in a virtual interaction.


1.Wielding (V)-to exercise (power, authority, influence, etc.), as in ruling or dominating. सँभालना

2.Obligation (N)-a legal or moral duty to do something. कर्तव्य

3.Refrain (V)-stop oneself from doing something.

4.Bypass (V)-avoid or circumvent (an obstacle or problem).

5.Stipulate (V)-to specify (something) as a condition of an agreement.

6.Resentment (N)-a feeling of extreme annoyance or displeasure. नाराजगी

7.Humiliated (V)-to make someone feel very embarrassed and ashamed.


🛑India's female innerwear market to double to $11 bn by 2025: RedSeer

Neha Alawadhi | 21/05/2021 |

The female innerwear market in India will nearly double to $11-12 billion by 2025 as incomes rise, more young women join the workforce and people become aware of better brands, said a report by consulting firm RedSeer.

The category comprises lingerie, athleisure (loungewear and active wear) and ancillaries such as shapewear and swimwear. It is among the fastest growing category in apparel, according to the report called "Female innerwear’s USD $12 billion opportunity".

The online female innerwear market will be around $1-1.2 billion by 2025: a rise of nearly six times from 2020.

The domestic market now has four types of online players. There are offline-focused brands like Amante, Enamor and Triumph. E-commerce players like Flipkart and Amazon have many offerings but may not have a sharp, specific focus on female innerwear. Online fashion marketplaces like Myntra and Ajio, which have an array of fashion-related offerings with multiple categories and brands. Then there are digital-first omni-channel players focused on innerwear, such as Clovia and Zivame.

“There have been clear shifts in consumer behaviour favouring the use of casual or leisure wear. This was further enhanced by the pandemic, as consumers spent time indoors, working from home, they opted for more comfortable wear, spent more for better quality and explored online options," said Anil Kumar, co-founder and chief executive officer of RedSeer.

"Having experienced the convenience and quality of online products in the category, a significant number of customers are likely to stick - which is further validated by our consumer research. Overall, online purchase sentiment has increased by 5-10 per cent across categories, which means that Direct-to-Consumer brands have a significant opportunity going forward,” he said.

Within branded segments, there are a few "breakout categories" that are likely to witness highest growth to become an over $2.5 billion opportunity by 2025. These are- branded mid-premium lingerie, branded athleisure (includes loungewear and activewear), and branded ancillaries (includes swimwear and shapewear), according to RedSeer.

Innerwear is evolving into ‘casuals at home’ or 'at-home smart clothing’. Athleisure and active wear are benefiting from people becoming fitness conscious, joining gyms and taking up activities like cycling.

International brands like Reebok, Nike or Puma, which have in India for more than decades, have invested in awareness about the category. Their brands are widely distributed and alternatively used as casualwear.

The report said the female innerwear market will grow in smaller cities will grow 1.5 times than in metropolises. In these cities, the major growth factors will be digital penetration and brand awareness. It is gaining from social media influence and online shopping.

Thanks to the original source

🛑US Treasury proposes 15% minimum tax on global corporate profits

AP | 21/05/2021 |

The US Treasury Department said Thursday that it supports a global minimum corporate tax rate of at least 15 per cent below the 21 per cent minimum it has been seeking to impose on the foreign profits of US-based companies.

The offer comes as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Group of 20 major economies seek an agreement on a minimum corporate tax rate.

It is part of an effort to end what Treasury calls a race to the bottom'' as countries compete with each other to cut corporate tax rates and lure multinational companies.

The OECD estimates that governments lose up to USD 240 billion a year to companies that shift earnings among countries to lower their tax bills.

Competition to cut corporate tax rates has been undermining the United States' and other countries' ability to raise the revenue needed to make critical investments,'' Treasury said in a statement, adding that its proposal had been received positively by other countries.

Treasury emphasized that the proposed 15 per cent is a floor and said that discussions should continue to be ambitious and push that rate higher.'' Seeking to finance his USD 2.3 trillion public works plan, President Joe Biden has proposed raising the US corporate rate from 21 per cent to 28 per cent and imposing a minimum tax of 21 per cent on companies' overseas earnings.

🛑Five pharmaceutical companies get approval to make black fungus drug

Aneesh Phadnis & Vinay Umarji | 21/05/2021 |

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has cleared applications from five pharmaceutical companies to manufacture anti-fungal drug Amphotericin B, used to treat mucormycosis or black fungus.

The subject expert committee (SEC) of the health ministry on Wednesday had given its nod to proposals from drug makers to boost the availability of Amphotericin B.

These developments come amid fast spread of the disease in various states and shortage of drugs to treat them. The government, however, hopes the fresh approvals and imports will help end the drug shortage soon.

Rajasthan has already declared mucormycosis or black fungus an epidemic with over 100 cases reported in the state. The central government has also declared mucormycosis as a notifiable disease under the provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act while the Delhi government has formed a committee to oversee the distribution of this drug. Amphotericin B, an injection, is currently sold by Abbott, Bharat Serums, Cipla, Sun Pharma and Viatris. Drug makers, including Alembic, Emcure and Natco had sought nod to manufacture the drug.

“Amphotericin B injection is manufactured using liposomal technology. The production cycle of this injection is 25-28 days. Sterility tests need to be carried out and then only can the finished product be sent for distribution. While existing manufacturers are ramping up their production, new approvals will increase availability further. The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation is fast tracking the processes of all the drugs used for Covid-19 to ensure adequate supplies,” said a pharma industry expert.

R K Baheti, chief financial officer (CFO) of Alembic Pharmaceuticals, confirmed the SEC nod and said the company is now coordinating with third party manufacturers for supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients and packaging materials, among other things. Baheti, however, refused to divulge any timeline for production and supply of the injectable.

“We have ramped up production of Lambin B injection (Liposomal Amphotericin B) to meet the additional demand. We are confident of increasing our production rapidly because of the use of advanced technology in manufacturing,” Sun Pharma said.

Minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers, Mansukh Mandaviya, on Thursday said the fresh approvals along with the ramp up of production by existing six manufacturers and imports will help to end shortage of the drug soon.

“As a leading health care firm, we are committed to doing our part to support the public health needs amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Viatris and Gilead are closely working with the government to accelerate supplies of AmBisome to help meet the evolving patient needs in India,” said Rakesh Bamzai, president, India, emerging Asia and access markets, Viatris.

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