Nod for amendments in WTO TRIPS pact

New Delhi, Jan 18 | Updated: Jan 19 2007, 05:30am hrs
India on Thursday approved amendments in the WTO agreement on TRIPS permitting governments to break the monopoly of manufacturers of patented drugs by giving compulsory licences in emergency situations.

The decision to approve amendment in Article 31 of the TRIPS agreement was taken by the Cabinet Committee on WTO, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee said after the meeting.

World Trade Organisation members had at its Doha ministerial in 2001 decided to amend Article 31 of TRIPS to provide compulsory licences.

Mukherjee said most of the least developed countries, the main beneficiaries of the TRIPS amendment, have already approved the new patent regime. India has also approved it, he added.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) also increased the target under the Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks to 30 during the 10th Plan. The enhanced target includes the 26 projects sanctioned so far, as against the 25 approved. It has been decided that there would be no changes in the existing funding pattern and other parameters, information and broadcasting minister PR Dasmunsi told reporters here.

Development of additional parks will facilitate additional investment, employment generation and increase in textile production, he said. The minister said all the parks would be sanctioned by March 2007 and the projects would be completed by 2008-09.

The CCEA also gave a go-ahead to foreign direct investment of up to Rs 3,000 crore by Independent Mobile Infrastructure Mauritius Ltd (IMIML) in India.

IMIML would be making the investment over a five-year period, Dasmunsi said after the meeting of the CCEA.

The approval is subject to licensing and security requirement of the Department of Telecom (DoT)and subject to the condition that the company would divest 26% equity in favour of Indian public in five years if it is listed in other parts of the world, Dasmunsi said.

The FDI inflow by the telecom infrastructure provider will begin by acquisition of 10,000 equity shares of Rs 10 each from promoters S Venkateswarlu and Chandra Padmasri, representing 100% shareholding of the company.

The balance would be invested by way of further issue of shares over a period of 1-5 years, depending on the capital requirement of the company, Dasmunsi said.