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Don’t restrict us in defence manufacturing space, private players say

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New Delhi: Replacing the usual bidding and tender system in the defense manufacturing space, the Indian government has identified six private companies for bidding under the Make in India drive.The stakeholders are unhappy because their participation has been limited to only one sector.

Punj Lloyd spokesperson for defence Ashok Wadhawan, President – Manufacturing, echoed the general feeling in the industry when he said: “Our recommendation to the task force (constituted to identify the private players) is that instead of identifying a few companies per sector, the government should form consortiums and award them orders.”

The six sectors identified are aircraft and their major systems; warships of stated displacements, submarines and their major systems; armored fighting vehicles and their major systems: complex weapons that rely on guidance systems; Command and Control System and critical materials (special alloys and composites).

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said in early September that a task force had been constituted under former Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief VK Aatre to identify the private players to be permitted into the defence sector. He said it was expected to give its report by month-end.

Parrikar also said there would not be any repetition of players in the six areas.

“There won’t be repetition. If X group has been taken in as a strategic partner in one segment, it will not be considered for another segment. It can participate in partnership for other products,” Parrikar had said.

The deadline for submitting the report has passed and enquiries reveal that it is nowhere near completion. And, it is on the basis of this report that the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), which will detail the nuts and bolts of the methodology to be adopted for involving the private sector, was to be drawn up.

“This is not likely to happen before the first quarter of 2016, which means the earliest the private sector can get involved is mid-to-late 2016,” a defence ministry source told after speaking on condition of anonymity, given the sensitive nature of the subject.

Even so, all does not appear to be lost as the coming together of 60 of the best-known defence companies operating in India, both domestic and foreign, could signal the end in its present form of the DRDO, whose roots go back nearly six decades but which has little of substance to show by way of original products.

With defence offsets obligations of Rs. 25,000 crore ($4 billion) expected to accrue over the next seven to eight years, the formation of the Association of Defence Companies in India will see a broad-basing of the country’s manufacturing base, a process that is already underway in the small and medium industries sector

The alliance includes Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Bell Helicopter, Punj Llyod, AgustaWestland, Reliance Defence, the Tatas, Rolls Royce, Saab, Northrop Gruman, Rolta, BAE Systems, Dassault, Honeywell, Thales, Finmeccanica, Hindustan Aerosystems and Merlinkhawk Aerospace.

At a meeting earlier this month, the stakeholders felt the alliance would serve as a representative platform, with a unified voice, on policy matters pertaining to the government, armed forces and state-run enterprises that affect their operations.

This apart, the forum could also promote collaborations, support improved understanding among the members, pursue India’s strategic needs and deal appropriately with the interests of all the stakeholders.

This also means there would be greater interaction between the armed forces and defence manufacturers, something that is sorely lacking now.

This lack of interaction is because the DRDO, defence manufacturers like Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the armed forces (barring the Indian Navy) are functioning in silos, each charting their own course.

Just two instances would suffice here: The Arjun main battle tank (MBT) and the Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) are still not fully operational after more than four decades of development as their specifications continue to change due to the designers, manufacturers and the users not being on the same page.

The Indian Navy managed to buck the trend because it established its own design organisaiton more than five decades ago and today has under construction not only a 45,000-tonne aircraft carrier – the largest vessel to be built in the country – but also two more nuclear-powered submarines in addition to one that is undergoing sea trials.

Thus, in a situation where the DRDO was established to reduce dependence on imports, India still imports 70 percent of its military hardware.

With the entry of private players, competitiveness will be the new mantra and the DRDO will have to quickly play catch-up or totally lose its relevance.

(Vishnu Makhijani, IANS)

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DRDO Develops Ayurvedic Medicine For Vitiligo

DRDO's Lukoskin is said to be the most effective Vitiligo medicine found yet

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DRDO developed Ayurvedic medicine for Vitiligo. Vitiligo has lots of social stigma attached to it. Wikimedia Commons
DRDO developed Ayurvedic medicine for Vitiligo. Vitiligo has lots of social stigma attached to it. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma

  • DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) has developed an Ayurvedic drug for Vitiligo treatment
  • The ayurvedic medicine will ease the symptoms of vitiligo
  • DRDO started developing this medicine in 2012

DRDO, the Defence Research and Development Organisation of India, has developed an Ayurvedic medicine called the ‘Lukoskin’ which is bringing new hopes into the lives of people suffering from the disease, vitiligo.

DRDO developed a drug for vitiligo.
DRDO developed a drug for vitiligo.

The medicine is now commercially available for the patients of vitiligo. Although, Vitiligo is not harmful there is a social stigma attached to it due to its effects on a person’s appearance. There are many treatments available for vitiligo, however, none is too effective. DRDO’s Lukoskin, however, is said to have great effects. Before discussing the drug further, it is important to know about vitiligo.

What is Vitiligo and what is the cause? 

Vitiligo is a skin disease that causes loss of skin colour in a way that it creates blotches. The extent of colour loss from vitiligo cannot be predicted. It can affect any body part, even hair.

Vitiligo is caused by the absence or dysfunctioning of melanin in the cells. Melanin is pigment by which the colour of hair and skin is determined. Vitiligo can affect people of all skin types, but it is more noticeable in people with darker skin. It can be caused by severe exposure to sun and sunburns as well.

Vitiligo can be caused in hair as well. Wikimedia Commons
Vitiligo can be caused by the hair as well. Wikimedia Commons

Symptoms of Vitiligo 

The main symptom of vitiligo is a loss of skin colour. Usually, the discolouration first shows on body parts like the hands, feet, arms, face and lips.

Other symptoms of vitiligo also include premature whitening or greying of the hair, be it on head or face; loss of colour inside your mouth or near your nose; change in the colour of retina, etc. Vitiligo can happen at any age, however, it mostly occurs before the age of 20, mostly during childhood or at the time of birth.

Vitiligo causes more psychological harm than physical harm. Wikimedia Commons
Vitiligo causes more psychological harm than physical harm. Wikimedia Commons
DRDO’s treatment of Vitiligo – Lukoskin
Traditional vitiligo treatment includes sunlight or the other alternative used by many is, makeup. However, none of them is a permanent solution. Vitiligo cure as a whole is not available. There was no permanent treatment for vitiligo. These treatments just hide it, do not cure it.

However, DRDO’s Lukoskin is said to be the most effective Vitiligo medicine found yet. Lukoskin was first developed in 2012, it went through many comprehensive types of research and trials by scientists of the Defence Bio-Energy Research (DIBER), at Haldwani in Uttarakhand.

This vitiligo medicine comprises an ointment and an oral liquid, which the patients consume over a period of 300 to 400 days. During this time period, effective results will start showing. AIMIL Pharmaceuticals in Delhi is the manufacturer of this drug.

DRSO's medicine is a great relief for people suffering from vitiligo. Wikimedia Commons
DRSO’s medicine is a great relief for people suffering from vitiligo. Wikimedia Commons

Since the medicine is Ayurvedic, it is said to have no harmful side effects. With people going for Ayurvedic medicines nowadays, it will help more and more people suffering from vitiligo.

The medicine doesn’t completely cure Vitiligo, it, however, is most effective in easing its symptoms.