16 and 17 Mar 2016 (GI, Happiness Index Analysis, Female Foeticide,Few Facts)


Geographical Indication and India :-

What is GI :-

“Darjeeling”, “Ceylon”, “Assam”, “Kolhapuri”, “Banarasi”, “Champagne”, “Roquefort”, “Chianti”, “Sheffield”, “Camember”, “Havana” are some well-known examples for names which are associated throughout the world with products of a certain nature and quality. One common feature of all these names is their geographical connotation, that is to say, their function of designating existing places ,towns, regions or countries. However,  when we hear these names we think of products rather than the places they designate.

There are various conventions and agreements addressing the issues of protection geographical indications. These include Paris Convention for protection of industrial property, TRIPS Agreement, Madrid Agreement for the repression of false or deceptive indications of source on goods and Lisbon Agreement for the protection appellation of origin and their international registration.

The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property does not use the term geographical indication. Article 1 paragraph (2) defines as subjects of industrial property, inter alia, indications of source and appellations of origin. This is the terminology traditionally applied and still officially used in the conventions and agreements administered by WIPO. According to this terminology, the following distinction is made between indication of source and appellation of origin:

Indication of Source means any expression or sign used to indicate that a product or service originates in a country, a region or a specific place. For example, Made in India is an indication of source. The Appellation of Origin means the geographical name of a country, region or specific place which serves to designate a product originating therein, whose characteristic qualities are exclusively or essentially due to the geographical environment, including natural and human factors. For e.g. -“Darjeeling Tea” or “Champagne Wine” represents Appellation of Origin

Make in India and GI:- 

One of the objectives of the “Make in India” programme is to improve and protect the Indian intellectual property (IP) regime. The steps envisaged to achieve this objective include increased posts in IP offices, e-filing facilities, major fee reduction for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, holding awareness programmes etc.

A less discussed IP right in this context is ‘geographical indications’ (GIs), a right aptly described as “sleeping beauty” (as it was in slumber till the advent of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement) in the mid-1990s by Florent Gevers, a renowned European IP lawyer. GIs indicate goods as originating in a specific geographical region, the characteristics, qualities or reputation thereof essentially attributable to such region. GI-branded goods possess a recall value amongst consumers who essentially attribute these characteristics, qualities or reputation to such geographical origin. Scotch whisky, produced only in certain regions of Scotland in accordance with regulations, is an example.

Europe has been protecting GIs since the 1800s.

The GI ripple effect

GIs support and protect local production (as opposed to global production), generate local employment and are mostly untouched by industrialisation, originating in villages or small towns. Since consistent quality is a must in GI-branded goods, and often cements itself as a consumer recollection point, producers are expected to diligently follow specific production methods.

Champagne, cognac  etc are some European names that started humble lives decades ago and became the icons that they are today owing to such quality control and perseverance. Many European GIs have also successfully built up ancillary industries like tourism and lodging in the respective regions, enabling visitors to get a first-hand experience of the manufacturing process and absorb the history thereof. Such ancillary industries also create local employment and aid in the socio-economic development of the region in the long run.

Complying with World Trade Organisation obligations, India enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 (GI Act) and has set up a registry in Chennai to register such names. Covering agricultural goods, manufactured and natural goods, textiles, handicrafts and foodstuffs, the GI Registry’s website lists 238 registered names as of March 2016. While the list has popular GIs like Basmati rice, Darjeeling tea and Pashmina shawls, many names on the list are lesser known or never heard of, despite being in existence for decades.

With emphasis laid on innovation, new initiatives and robust infrastructure, IP rights like patents, designs and trademarks can prima facie find a place in the Make in India programme.

Despite the gradual rise in GI registrations, the role and scope of GIs in the Make in India programme has perhaps remained unnoticed in discussions. Considering that GI-branded goods can be made 100 per cent in India without the need for any foreign direct investment (FDI) and that they can promote socio-economic development of the respective regions (like their European counterparts), GIs are perhaps the most ideal IP rights to foster and realise a programme like Make in India.

Quality issues in India

So why haven’t GIs naturally shown themselves up as a potential tool to aid the programme? One of the foundations of this initiative is the making of quality products. So, does the legal framework for the protection of GIs in India emphasise the importance of quality products? Europe has always recognised the need to preserve and maintain high quality in such origin-specific goods. The European law on the protection of names relating to agricultural goods and foodstuffs (ECR 1151/2012) recognises that GIs give a competitive advantage to producers and enable consumers to make more informed choices by providing clear information on origin-specific products and their characteristics. To preserve this consumer trust, the European law mandates: (i) effective verification and controls at multiple levels in the supply chain, ensuring compliance with product specification before placing it in the market and (ii) market monitoring of the use of the names to ensure legal compliance.

In contrast, India’s GI Act does not lay much emphasis on inspection and monitoring mechanisms for GI protection. The only two references thereto appear in the enabling rules in Rule 32(6)(g) and Form GI-1. While Rule 32(6)(g) requires an applicant to list particulars of the inspection structure, “if any”, to regulate the use of the GI, Form GI-1 perfunctorily asks for the details of an “Inspection Body”. Quality associated with geographical origin is the hallmark of a GI and the current legal framework evidently lacks teeth to ensure it. This perhaps explains why one has not heard of many GI success stories in India.

The current Indian legal framework for GIs needs to be strengthened to address quality control and consumer expectations by insisting on multi-layered quality control systems as a precondition for registration. Other important issues faced by GI producer bodies are market access and funding for enforcement and marketing. Still a greenhorn in GI protection, India must hand-hold producer bodies, look at successful models elsewhere and mould these to suit the ground realities of protection and enforcement in a developing country.

Every region in India boasts of many locally produced unique goods and this law, with a few amendments to fill the serious missing gaps described above, coupled with diligent implementation can turn into a magic wand for the Make in India programme.

It it also imperative to realize that most of the local industries who are engaged in production of such GI products are invariably still in the MSME sector. Therefore before they can achieve economies of scale and contribute significantly to the Make in India program, we must ensure that proper training, skill development and an overall favorable environment (in terms of labour laws etc.) is provided. Laying greater emphasis on inspection, monitoring etc is of no use unless these producers are enabled to become more competent and produce world class products.


Female Foeticide:-

As per  National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), NCRB has started collecting data on female foeticide since 2014. A total of 50 cases were reported under female foeticide in 2014.

State-wise data:-

MADHYA PRADESH 15
RAJASTHAN 11
PUNJAB 7
HARYANA and Uttar Pradesh 4  Each
CHHATTISGARH & TELENGANA 2 Each

Uttarakhand – 1 and rest of the state is zero..

Analysis :-

The above data is related to cases registered under female foeticide. From an initial reading one may think that in a particular state (as in this case MP ) the practice is widespread. However ,  it is only part of the grim reality. Case of this nature usually never come to the fore and registering a case of female foeticide  has been very rare. The simple fact is that in a country of  billion plus population and given the prevailing societal inclination for male child , Only 50 cases a year is far from truth.Hence states with zero or lower number of registered cases throws two parables  – either the states have genuinely low female foeticide or the cases does not reach the authority for one reason or another  – if this is the case then the authorities  have 2 issues and  not one to deal with –  Prevention of female foeticide through different means and Ensuring a conducive environment to uphold the law and order in the state that usually ignore the subtleties of this case.

 


Thorium based Reactor:-

Research & Development on Thorium utilisation continues to be a high priority area of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).

On account of physics characteristics of Thorium, it is however not possible to build a nuclear reactor using Thorium alone. It has to be converted to Uranium-233 in a reactor before it can be used as fuel.

With this in view, a three-stage nuclear power programme, based on a closed nuclear fuel cycle has been chalked out to use thorium as a viable and sustainable option, right at the inception of India’s nuclear power programme.

The three stage nuclear power programme aims to multiply the domestically available fissile resource through the use of natural uranium in Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors, followed by use of plutonium obtained from the spent fuel of Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors in Fast Breeder Reactors.

Large scale use of Thorium will subsequently follow making use of the Uranium-233 that will be bred in Fast Breeder Reactors, when adequate capacity has been built in the country. The third stage of Indian nuclear power programme which contemplates making use of Uranium-233 to fuel Thorium Uranium-233 based reactors can provide energy independence to the country for several centuries. All efforts towards technology development and demonstration are being made now, so that a mature technology is available in time.

India has abundant quantity of thorium resources contained in the mineral monazite occurring in the beach sand placer deposits along the eastern and western coasts of the country as well as the inland placers in parts of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) through its Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration & Research (AMD) has carried out exploration activities over the past six decades, which have resulted in establishing in situ resources of 11.93 million tonnes of monazite as on February 2016 in the country. Indian Monazite contains about 9-10% of Thorium oxide (ThO2) which in turn results in about 1.07 million tonnes of Thorium oxide (ThO2).

A three stage nuclear power programme has been devised to efficiently utilise this large reserve of thorium. The energy potential of this thorium reserve is estimated to be more than 155,500 GWe-years.


India ranked 118th in UN’s world happiness index; behind Pak, China

India has been placed at 118th position out of 156 countries in a global list of the happiest nations. This was revealed by The World Happiness Report 2016, published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative for the United Nations.

Quantifying Happiness:-

The report takes into account GDP per capita, life expectancy, social support and freedom to make life choices,generosity, perceptions of corruption, and dystopia  as indicators of happiness.

Highlights of the report:

  • Denmark takes the top spot followed by Switzerland(2nd) ,Iceland (3), Norway (4) and Finland (5).
  • India ranked 118th, down from 117th in 2015.
  • India was among the group of 10 countries witnessing the largest happiness declines along with Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen and Botswana.
  • India comes below nations like Somalia (76), China (83), Pakistan (92), Iran (105), Palestinian Territories (108) and Bangladesh (110).
  • The US is ranked 13th, standing behind Australia (9) and Israel (11).
  • The report notes that Rwanda, Benin, Afghanistan, Togo, Syria and Burundi are the least happiest countries.

This report for the first time gives a special role to the measurement and consequences of inequality in the distribution of well-being among countries and regions.

  • This reflects a new worldwide demand for more attention to happiness as a criteria for government policy and can also be used effectively to assess the progress of nations.
  • Previous reports have argued that happiness provides a better indicator of human welfare than income, poverty, education, health and good government measured separately but now experts also point out that the inequality of well-being provides a broader measure of inequality.

Few thoughtful questions and Analysis :- 

  1. One of the key indicator is GDP per capita – Does it mean richest are the happiest ?If so , then how Bhutan is regarded as a happy country.
  2. Life expectancy indicator – Does it mean if a person has a high life expectancy will lead a happy life or on the contrary a short life is a miserable life.
  3. Countries with least democratic freedom , more social inequality are ranked higher than India – How it could be a possibility ?
  4. Freedom to make life choices – For the citizenry who really can not have a say to chose their leader – does they really have freedom to make life choices.For the countries that are ranked at the top , one of the life choices is to have a home – but unfortunately to get a permission to have a house of your own takes more than a decade in NORDICS.
  5. Perception of Corruption :- Does  the perception matters or the ground reality has a say ?Above all how to quantify perception.
  6. The general trend in all the report is that it is always topped by geographically small countries for obvious reasons and they will continue to do so as long as the reports are crafted on the basis of very little sampling of data and perception.This does not mean they should not top or their ranking is assigned arbitrarily. What is missing is the parity factor between geographically large and socially diverse countries with that of the small and mostly socially uniform countries. It makes no sense to compare  the life of a bird with a tiger (metaphorically) and to state that a bird is happier because it can fly and tiger is unhappy because he can not .Hence the report has to go beyond simple generalization if it has to reflect the reality as it is  .For that a large survey which includes multiple factors should be taken in to account and weightage to each factor should be assigned appropriately.One solution is to compare countries with similar geographical, political and social attributes and produce different reports for each category of countries.
  7. Happiness is not only a economic or health or social factor , it is also very individualistic and psychology has a major role in it.That is the reason why , a person who is unhappy today can be happy tomorrow (For eg- success in civil services) and of course in a day the happiness has changed but the person’s economic, social or life expectancy has not changed (it is the hope of good future that made the person happy). One can see a poor but happy person in one side of the road and an unhappy but rich person on the other side.Hence the rich are as much happy/unhappy as much as the poor .What make one happy is unpredictable and multiple factor comes in to play , to predict the subjective  subject of happiness in objective terms of index for a society and for that matter for a country is a humongous task and only economic, social or political factors are just not enough to paint the full picture with utmost clarity.

Note :- The analysis is exclusive to UPSCTREE.At any given point of time, no one really knows everything and if you have any concern or feedback with regards to our analysis , please do engage with us and enlighten us.Views are always subject to change and reasoning can change with the discovery of new information and hence  we strongly believe in debate and discussion.

 


 

Reservation for Dalit Christians

An individual belonging to Scheduled Tribes may profess any religion and the Castes/ Tribes included in the list of Scheduled Tribes under Article 342 of the Constitution, are entitled for getting the benefits of reservation in services of the Central Government.

The Scheduled Castes converted to Christianity are included in the Central List of Other Backward Classes of some of the States and are entitled to the benefit of the reservation in services of the Central Government. However, the issue of extension of Scheduled Caste status to Scheduled Caste converts to Christianity is presently subjudice in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.


Depot Online System:-

  1. It is an online System to automate all the operations of FCI depots to make it leak-proof
  2. “Depot Online” is an important project under Digital India initiative of Government
  3. It will digitally manage and automate almost all FCI function such as – godown operation, dumping management, stack management, spillage management, stack suggestion, storage loss calculation

 


Facts:-

  1. Iron Fist 2016:-Exercise Iron Fist is a biennial event that showcases the firepower capacity of the Indian Air Force. The exercise will include combat manoeuvres and live firing of Air-to-Ground and Air-to-Air precision weapons by Fighters, Transport Aircraft and Helicopters.
  2. SIDBI STARTUP MITRA :- A national portal for start-up entrepreneurs developed by SIDBI
  3. World Sufi Forum :- The Forum has been convened by the All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board, to discuss the role of Sufism in countering rising global terror hosted in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.
  4. Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan appointed as chairperson of the 21st Law Commission of India(fora period of 3 years)

 

 

 

 

 

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By | 2017-02-13T21:35:52+00:00 March 17th, 2016|Daily Current Events, editorials, Society|0 Comments