VEcare service can be availed from landline or mobile by simply dialing 1904. To a registered mobile user, it will provide automated voice guidance for medical emergency assistance including immediate dispatch of an ambulance, queries related to medical facilities and appointments at ECHS/ Command Hospital, CSD related value addition services and facilitate connectivity to Army telephone numbers. The helpline facility is being seen as a major initiative towards veterans’ welfare.
Swachh Yug : Gram Panchayats along the Ganga to be made Open Defecation Free
The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, in partnership with Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, is intensifying support to the five States of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, to make all villages along the banks of the Ganga Open Defecation Free (ODF). There are 5,169 villages along the river Ganga.
The campaign, being a collaborative effort between the Swachh Bharat Mission, local youth leaders (युवा) and the Namami Gange project (गंगा) – is being called ‘Swachh यु–ग’, which translates into ‘the age of Swachh’.
World Environment Day, 2016 was celebrated across ministries and nation on 5 June
Odisha wages a literary struggle to claim rasagulla as its own
The bitter contest over the Intellectual Property Rights to an iconic sweet, the ‘rasagulla’ has moved into a new phase with Odisha citing ‘literary evidence’ to buttress its claim over West Bengal.
Odisha’s Department of Science and Technology has been poring over literary evidence and has decided to study it in depth, to reinforce the State’s demand for a Geographical Indication for the famous cottage cheese balls in sugary gravy. Odia litterateurs say the sweet is found in many works well before 1868.
A bitter-war broke out last year over the origins of the Rasgulla. The fight is between Odisha and West Bengal, with each one claiming ownership of rasagolla.
Odisha has staked claim to have ‘invented’ years ago, the sweet associating it with a centuries old ritual of Lord Jagannath. West Bengal always thought of rasagolla as its own.
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.
Darknet, also known as dark web or darknet market, refers to the part of the internet that is not indexed or accessible through traditional search engines. It is a network of private and encrypted websites that cannot be accessed through regular web browsers and requires special software and configuration to access.
The darknet is often associated with illegal activities such as drug trafficking, weapon sales, and hacking services, although not all sites on the darknet are illegal.
Examples of darknet markets include Silk Road, AlphaBay, and Dream Market, which were all shut down by law enforcement agencies in recent years.
These marketplaces operate similarly to e-commerce websites, with vendors selling various illegal goods and services, such as drugs, counterfeit documents, and hacking tools, and buyers paying with cryptocurrency for their purchases.
Anonymity: Darknet allows users to communicate and transact with each other anonymously. Users can maintain their privacy and avoid being tracked by law enforcement agencies or other entities.
Access to Information: The darknet provides access to information and resources that may be otherwise unavailable or censored on the regular internet. This can include political or sensitive information that is not allowed to be disseminated through other channels.
Freedom of Speech: The darknet can be a platform for free speech, as users are able to express their opinions and ideas without fear of censorship or retribution.
Secure Communication: Darknet sites are encrypted, which means that communication between users is secure and cannot be intercepted by third parties.
Illegal Activities: Many darknet sites are associated with illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, weapon sales, and hacking services. Such activities can attract criminals and expose users to serious legal risks.
Scams: The darknet is a hotbed for scams, with many fake vendors and websites that aim to steal users’ personal information and cryptocurrency. The lack of regulation and oversight on the darknet means that users must be cautious when conducting transactions.
Security Risks: The use of the darknet can expose users to malware and other security risks, as many sites are not properly secured or monitored. Users may also be vulnerable to hacking or phishing attacks.
Stigma: The association of the darknet with illegal activities has created a stigma that may deter some users from using it for legitimate purposes.
AI, or artificial intelligence, refers to the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence, such as recognizing speech, making decisions, and understanding natural language.
Virtual assistants: Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are examples of virtual assistants that use natural language processing to understand and respond to users’ queries.
Recommendation systems: Companies like Netflix and Amazon use AI to recommend movies and products to their users based on their browsing and purchase history.
Efficiency: AI systems can work continuously without getting tired or making errors, which can save time and resources.
Personalization: AI can help provide personalized recommendations and experiences for users.
Automation: AI can automate repetitive and tedious tasks, freeing up time for humans to focus on more complex tasks.
Job loss: AI has the potential to automate jobs previously performed by humans, leading to job loss and economic disruption.
Bias: AI systems can be biased due to the data they are trained on, leading to unfair or discriminatory outcomes.
Safety and privacy concerns: AI systems can pose safety risks if they malfunction or are used maliciously, and can also raise privacy concerns if they collect and use personal data without consent.