Monday, May 2, 2011


The government on Tuesday set up a four-member seventh central pay commission headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice Ashok Kumar Mathur. While the pay panel was announced in September, the government said its composition was now cleared by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Apart from Justice Mathur, the other members include petroleum secretary Vivek Rae, who is due to retire later this month, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) director Rathin Roy and Meena Agarwal, who is currently in the finance ministry. SOURCE:TOI

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sixth Pay Commission arrears in instalments.

Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council wants the government to pay its employees in phased manner and deposit part of the estimated arrear of 18,000 crore in their Provident Fund while implementing the Sixth Pay panel report to minimise its impact on inflation.

"Since the payment of arrears in cash could result in marginal rise in inflation rate due to spurt in demand for various products, EAC has said that government should consider depositing part of the arrears due to employees in provident fund and pay the remaining amount in a phased manner," official sources said.

The council headed by noted economist and former Reserve Bank Governor C Rangarajan, is of the opinion that the payment of arrears in one go could result in further rise in prices, especially of manufactured goods and consumer products.

"The government had paid the arrears in a phased manner while implementing the report of previous Pay Commissions, so it can consider it again," Rangarajan had earlier said.

The council, which advises Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on important economic matters, had earlier said the inflation rate could come down to 5 to 5.5 per cent after about four months following good monsoon and measures taken by the government.

Inflation, however, has already crossed 8 per cent mark, and the analysts fear that it could soon touch 10 per cent mark if the hike in international crude oil prices is partly passed on to the consumers.

The Sixth Pay Commission headed by Justice B N Srikrishna, which submitted its report in March, has recommended an average 28 per cent hike in salaries of about 40 lakh central government employees with effect from January 1, 2006.

It estimated that hike in salaries would cost about Rs 12,000 crore annually, while the payment of arrears would put an additional one time burden of Rs 18,060 crore to the exchequer.

The Union Cabinet, which considered the pay panel report last month, forwarded it to a committee of Secretaries headed by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandershekhar, following protest by sections of government employees who are not happy with the recommendations.

Monday, May 19, 2008

6th pay scale is likely to come into force on June 1, 2008 in Goa

Finance Minister of Goa Dayanand Narvekar told TOI, "the government is not in a position to raise the pay scales of the government employees to bring about parity. We have to make provision for the 6th pay commission which is likely to come into force on June 1, 2008."

Goa is facing trouble for Rs 800 crore for sixth pay commission recommended pay scale implementation.

The government has assured to finalise the "parity issue" with the employees association positively by May 25. "Based on their assurance, we have suspended our agitation. Or else, we will strike," Shetkar said.

We are expecting around Rs 100-crore from the mining cess. For the additional amount, government might have to take loans or raise taxes or even divest money from other portfolios, which means cutting down on developmental works."Narvekar said.
see the full report here:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sixth Pay Commission-The Long Wait

Central Govt employees have been waiting patiently for the 6th CPC to submit its report. Now that the report has been submitted, they are in a confusion as to when and how it will be implemented. Armed forces and IPS have objected strongly to the recommendation which they say is favourable for IAS while discriminating other services. Somehow the commission has got the idea that by rewarding few IAS officers the entire govt machinery is going to be revitalised. Far from that, such a move is going to demoralise other officers and lead to more attrition and corruption among those remaining in service. The Govt cannot hope to compete with the private sector in terms of salaries and benefits and considering the fact that the remuneration of Govt employees is going to remain the same for the next decade until the 7th pay commission is implemented, its a very delicate situation. While living standards of those working in the private sector is improving day by day, Govt employees find that they are being pushed into a corner. With such a huge population, our country may not find it difficult to fill up vacant posts in Govt offices, but this would be at the expense of talent, merit and performance.
Now that inflation has reared its ugly head, and Left parties pressurising the Govt on many issues, it would be left with no other option than to placate Govt employees before the next elections. The trend in Karnataka and other states indicate that the Congress is losing ground. Hence it can be expected from the ruling party to implement the 6th CPC in August-September 2008.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Job opportunities in Patents

This is the first of a series on jobs related to Patents in India.

Government Sector:

In India, The Patent Office employs Science and Engineering graduates as Examiners of Patents & Designs who are required to do a thorough patent search to determine whether a patent application fulfills the requirements of novelty,inventive step and industrial applicability and also other conditions laid down by the Indian Patent Act. Salaries offered are the best in the Government sector. But recruitment is rare and a long drawn process.The rate of attrition is also high since candidates with such experience are highly sought after in the private sector with lucrative compensation. Lack of avenues for promotion also contributes to higher levels of attrition. At present candidates with qualification in Biotechnology,Microbiology, Biochemistry,Chemistry and almost all branches of Engineering are selected as Examiners of Patents & Designs after a rigorous selection procedure.

Private Sector:
The counterparts of Examiners are called Patent agents.These people are required to interact with the Patent Office and set right whatever deficiencies exist in a patent application. This highly exacting job requires very high levels of competence in English,and knowledge of a foreign language would be advantageous. A patent agent with a law degree is called a Patent Attorney. Having a law degree would be helpful in prosecuting cases in a Court of Law. To become a patent agent in India, a person has to be registered with the Indian Patent Office. A qualifying examination is conducted twice every year in all four Patent offices( Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata & Chennai). An Indian citizen above 21 years if age with a degree in Science/Engineering is eligible to appear for the examination. A formal qualification in IPR is not essential although helpful. Thorough understanding of the Indian Patent Act and a strong technical background and indispensable for a patent agent. Skills in drafting patents and getting into the core of the invention are absolutely essential. This can come only with experience and like wine, a patent agent can only get better with age. Salaries are the best and are comparable to those in the IT sector and gets even better for experienced candidates. Many top-notch companies are now setting up their own IPR departments increasing opportunities for experienced candidates. Like all jobs in the corporate jungle, a patent agent should be able to tolerate high levels of stress and meet deadlines which in many cases turn into a do or die situation for them.
Another emerging field related to patents is the KPO (Knowledge Process Outsourcing) industry. Some well known companies in this field are Evalueserve, Intellevate,Patent Metrix, IPPRO,GVK bio (Hyderabad) etc.
There are also many online jobs where foreign patent applications are routed to India to be drafted and prosecuted. Few websites like offer patent related jobs where one can work from home.

Monday, May 28, 2007

I came across an interesting article bringing out the truth regarding the availability of biotech related jobs in India.
Biotech boom -- but where are the jobs?

Rashmi Bansal

Everyone wants to enter a field which is 'hot'. One such field is biotech. You would have read innumerable articles on the scope of bitechnology. The jobs opening up in the sector. And, of course, the poster pin-up company, Biocon.

As a report in The Hindu notes: Career counsellors and those engaged in educational guidance... are flooded with inquiries about biotechnology courses and their scope. Biotechnology today looks like what information technology was in the 1990s.

But are prospects really that bright? Today, an engineer from an average college can easily land an IT job. What about the biotech graduate?

First of all, there is this huge debate over whether biotech should be offered at all the undergrad level. M Radhakrishna Pillai, director of Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram, told The Hindu: 'Biotechnology cannot exist at the BSc level, where one should learn the basic science. BSc Biotechnology courses have created a confused lot in Kerala, defeating the very purpose of the subject.'

The same holds true of other states. A number of colleges and universities, especially the private and deemed variety, are offering 'BSc Biotech'. Students who were trying for a medical course but failed to get through would rather opt for a biotech course than a regular BSc. At least kisi ko kehne mein tho better lagta hai.

For the colleges also, it's a happy thing. Fees for an undergraduate biotech course are far higher than a BSc. One assumes this is because the college will provide better facilities, more qualified teachers, etc. Sadly, this is generally not the case. In most cases, biotech students actually use the same labs as the students doing microbiology/ life science!

What about PG?

At the post graduate level, the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, is the most reputed college and the toughest to get into. The combined entrance exam held by JNU can also get you into 32 other colleges offering biotech at MSc/ MTech level. Benaras Hindu University, Goa University, Anna University (Chennai) and Pune University are some of the next best choices.

Now, this is the case in every profession. Everyone can't get into the best college. However, in biotech, there are certain unique problems.

JNU has a tie-up with DBT (department of biotechnology) which makes it easy for their students to work on live projects during the course of their MSc. Others do not have it so easy. When it comes to industrial training, you may actually have to pay for it.

For example, students of PTU (Punjab Technical University), Indore, who went to IIT Delhi last year for two months training, paid Rs 15,000 (boarding and lodging extra). This money goes towards facilities (eg, kits, labs, equipment, etc) and the students get to work on a live experiment.

There is the option of doing a project with a company also -- some give you a stipend while others don't pay but don't charge you either. However, it is believed that having an IIT Delhi project on your resume will help when you go out for a job, so students don't mind paying. For IIT, this is a way to get some additional funding for projects.

A win-win for both but still, it's a little strange...

And what about the job?

Okay, so now you graduate and start looking for a job. If there is such a 'boom' happening, it must be pretty easy, right?

Unfortunately, that's not the case.

Shweta Agrawal, an MSc Biotech, has been looking out for a job for last six months. "I have given 15-20 interviews. The problem is there are very few real 'biotech' jobs," she says. The company may be 'biotech', but the job expected of an MSc is database management -- not experimental.

Rajat Gurutaj, a final year student at BIT Bangalore, adds, "My sister is an MSc Biotech and she did not have a job after graduation for six months. Finally, she went to the UK. According to her, there are absolutely no jobs here in India. My friend is doing BE Biotech from a reputed college in Bangalore -- their course is not much different from BE Chemical and, again, no jobs. He is joining an IT firm after graduation".

Students say it's very hard for a fresher to get a job in QC (quality control) or R & D because most companies have small teams and there isn't much job hopping. What's more, pharmacy graduates are preferred because they can do formulation as well as QC.

A quick look at various job sites would tell you that openings for fresh MSc Biotech are few and far between. BSc Biotech ki to baat hi chhodiye. Actually from the job point of view, even MSc Chemistry may be better for you!

An exception to all the above would be the handful who complete a BTech from IIT (KGP, Delhi, Madras and Bombay) or a Masters in biology from IISc.

"If I don't get a job of my choice soon I will start preparing for MBA," says Shweta. "The fact is, by now, an MBA from even the most unknown university would have got a job for Rs 10,000-15,000 pm," she sighs.

The alternate option of course is to do a Phd -- either in India or abroad. However, even after a PhD, prospects in India remain limited. You would most likely join a government laboratory (that's where much of the challenging work is being done). At age 28, armed with a Phd, you would earn Rs 8,000-10,000 as starting salary.

So if you are planning to do biotech, keep all this in mind before making your decision. Don't be lured by the idea of a boom and the fact that it sounds cool.

Take up biotech only if you have a deep love for the subject and wish to get into research. In order to do this, however, you must be open to doing a PhD.

Otherwise, MBA aapke liye theek rahega. And oh, there is an MBA (biotech) being offered as well...

One last bit of advice. Don't fall for it, go for a more general degree!

Monday, May 21, 2007


American bio-pharmaceutical major Gilead, which has entered into generic licensing deals with 10 Indian companies to distribute its HIV drug Viread, is hoping to get a patent in India soon.
“We have made considerable progress in implementing our access programme and licensed Indian pharmas to manufacture Viread which originally announced a pricing of $1 a day for the pill,” Gregg Alton, senior vice president and general counsel of Gilead Sciences said.
“After much discussion, Gilead now believes that a larger number of manufacturers will intensify competition and drive down prices even further,” said Alton whose team was in Delhi last week.
Now, Gilead’s application for a patent is pending before the Indian Patent office as it believes that it has a right to protect its intellectual property.
Indian pharma major Cipla has filed a pre-grant opposition against the patent application for Viread before the patents office.
But Alton said: “We believe that protecting the intellectual property of companies who engage in drug research and development is a critical part of the treatment access equation. Intellectual property protection, when used responsibly, encourages research and discovery of newer and more effective molecules.
“Gilead respects Cipla’s right to oppose the issuance of a patent for Viread or any drug. But more importantly, we reaffirm our desire to work with Cipla whether or not a patent is issued,” said Alton.
Gilead has signed generic licensing deals with 10 Indian companies to distribute Viread in India and 94 other resource-limited countries.
More than 5.1mn people are believed to be infected with HIV in India, the second highest incidence of the disease after South Africa.
According to Alton, Viread (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) is on its way to becoming the frontrunner drug across Europe for HIV/Aids due to its low toxicity and resistance levels observed in patients.
The tablet-a-day dosage of the drug also helps in better regimen and compliance among the HIV/Aids patients taking it.
Alton also pointed out that he expected generic versions of Gilead’s anti-retrovirals to be available from several of its partners within the next few months.
Asked whether the drug would become unaffordable if Gilead was granted a patent for Viread in India, Alton allayed fears voiced by critics and non-governmental organisations.
“The company plans to use this patent responsibly and has made its intention clear in the act of issuing non-exclusive voluntary licenses to Indian companies,” he said.