13 , March 2018

1.National Conference on Counterfeiting & Role of Enforcement Agencies
Source: PIB

The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM), a professional body under the aegis of the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India, is organizing a National Conference on Counterfeiting and Role of Enforcement Agencies in collaboration with European Union (EU).

The conference intends to bring together national and international experts on the same platform to have a dialogue and exchange best practices for the benefit of enforcement agencies, attorneys and industry representatives and provide fresh ideas for further strengthening the IPR protection ecosystem.

  • Counterfeiting has grown considerably to a point where it has become a widespread phenomenon with a global impact.
  • Counterfeiting, other than causing an erosion on the brand value, reputation and goodwill of the manufacturers and owners of IP, leads to social and economic consequences resulting in huge economic losses in terms of lost taxes and revenues.
  • It leads to diversion of funds earned there from to other illegal activities; counterfeit products put a threat to consumers’ health and safety as well.
  • Enforcement agencies like police, customs, also the prosecution wing, have a major role to play in effective enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in the country.
  • Creating awareness about IPRs and the menace of counterfeiting amongst officials of these agencies will strengthen the enforcement regime, as also assist them in handling cases relating to counterfeit products in their day to day activities.

About CIPAM:

Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) has been created as a professional body under the aegis of DIPP to take forward the implementation of the National IPR Policy that was approved by the Government in May 2016, with the slogan – “Creative India; Innovative India”.

Functions: CIPAM is working towards creating public awareness about IPRs in the country, promoting the filing of IPRs through facilitation, providing inventors with a platform to commercialize their IP assets and coordinating the implementation of the National IPR Policy in collaboration with Government Ministries/Departments and other stakeholders.

2.Maharashtra CM bows to demands of farmers
Source: The Hindu

The Maharashtra government offered a six-month road map to address agrarian distress, bowing to the demands of aggrieved farmers.

Fifteen thousand farmers and tribal people, led by the All India Kisan Sabha, had marched nearly 200 km to the State capital, before assembling less than two km from the Vidhan Bhawan.

The people from the villages marching to South Mumbai’s Azad Maidan to avoid inconveniencing the average Mumbaikar received a warm reception from their urban peers.

The plan to gherao the Assembly was dropped. After hectic parleys between their representatives and government emissaries led to a firm assurance on their demands, several farmers were on their way home on special trains.

The demands conceded are:

  • An unconditional loan waiver programme to include categories of farmers earlier excluded
  • Implementation of the Swaminathan Commission Report which includes a higher compensation for land acquisition
  • 50,000 compense for farmers affected by natural calamities
  • Giving land to those who have received title area lesser than their eligibility
  • Sensitive approach to land acquisition for the bullet train and property corridor projects
  • Implement the Forest Rights Act of 2006, including settling of all claims of ownership to the landless tribals.
  • Providing ration cards quickly for those who have lost or damaged them. In the meanwhile, farmers have been assured that they won’t be denied rations and complaints regarding this will be personally overseen by the Chief Secretary

3.India’s arms imports from U.S. up by 550%: report
Source: The Hindu

According to the latest report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

  • The U.S. recorded a blazing growth in its arms exports to India, recording over 550% growth in 2013-17 compared with the previous five years. As a result, the U.S. has become India’s second largest supplier.
  • Pakistan’s imports from the U.S. dropped by 76% in 2013-17 compared with 2008-12, while it emerged as the largest recipient of Chinese arms exports,
  • Russia continued to be India’s largest arms supplier, accounting for 62% of India’s arms imports between 2013 and 2017.
  • “India was the world’s largest importer of major arms in 2013-17 and accounted for 12% of the global total. Its imports increased by 24% between 2008-12 and 2013-17,

“The tensions between India, on the one side, and Pakistan and China, on the other, are fuelling India’s growing demand for major weapons, which it remains unable to produce itself,”

 Chinese arms:

China’s arms imports fell by 19 per cent between 2008-12 and 2013-17. While it was the world’s fifth largest arms importer in 2013-17, China has also emerged as the fifth largest arms exporter, with exports rising by 38% between 2008-12 and 2013-17. A majority of these weapons have been procured by countries in India’s neighbourhood.

4. EIB cautions India against levy of import duties on solar parts
Source: The Hindu

  • European Investment Bank (EIB) President Werner Hoyer cautioned India against slapping import and safeguard duties on solar components, saying the country’s best interests still remained in multilateralism and free trade.
  • In January this year, the Directorate General of Safeguards had recommended the implementation of a 70% safeguard duty on solar cells imported from China and Malaysia for a period of 200 days.
  • The government had not taken a decision on this yet, but the issue had come under considerable debate in the domestic solar sector.
  • Over the last 10 years, Europe has lost ground in terms of R&D and innovation by at least 1% of GDP per year in comparison to East Asia, South East Asia and North America.

5.Artefacts of ‘pre-Iron Age’ excavated in Odisha
Source: The Hindu

Archaeological Survey of India, which has been excavating a mound at Jalalpur village of Odisha’s Cuttack district, has now come across stone and bone tools believed to be of early Iron Age.

  • The discovery includes faunal remains, carbonised grains and stone and bone tools of early iron age to prehistoric period
  • Yellow and dark grey colour soil noticed during the excavation signifies the rural settlement flourished in different eras
  • Circular wall, semi-circular wall, crescent shape wall and mud platforms of different size and shape have been discovered

Other items retrieved:

  • Among the artefacts retrieved from the site include red ware, red slipped ware, grey and black wares, pots of different shapes, bowls, bowl-on-stand, ring based bowls, miniature pots, storage jars, pots.
  • Similarly, other antiquities retrieved from the site are polished stone axes and adzes, terracotta sling balls.

6. SC admits plea on lawmaker-lawyers
Source: The Hindu

  • The Supreme Court admitted a PIL petition to ban MPs and MLAs from doubling up as lawyers.
  • A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, directed the Bar Council of India (BCI) to respond by April 23, the next date of hearing.
  • The writ petition filed by Supreme Court advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay said the practice was in violation of Rule 49 of the Bar Council of India Act, which forbade an advocate to be “full-time salaried employee of any person, government, firm, corporation or concern, so long as he continues to practice”.
  • The lawmakers draw their salaries and pensions from the exchequer.
  • Mr. Upadhyay has contended that MPs and MLAs drew their salaries from the Consolidated Fund of India, and hence were “employees of the State”.
  • Under Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 2(c) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, MLAs and MPs were public servants.
  • Hence, allowing them to practice as an advocate and restricting other public servants was arbitrary, irrational and violation of Articles 14-15 of the Constitution, Mr. Upadhyay said.
  • He said it amounted to “professional misconduct” that MLAs and MPs who got salary and other benefits from the public fund, appeared against the government.

7.Banks need better governance: IMF
Source: The Hindu

The recent instance of fraud in the banking sector has brought to the fore the issue related to governance in banks, especially public sector entities that need to put in place tighter controls and improve their balance sheets, according to a top official of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

While the asset size is increasing in India, there is a deteriorating trend in terms of asset quality. Even while India had been a leader in terms of growth rates, financial inclusion was a challenge as access to finance had been low compared with other developing countries

FSAP:

  • The Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) is a joint program of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank
  • Launched in 1999 in the wake of the Asian financial crisis, the program brings together Bank and Fund expertise to help countries reduce the likelihood and severity of financial sector crises
  • The FSAP provides a comprehensive framework through which assessors and authorities in participating countries can identify financial system vulnerabilities and develop appropriate policy responses

The FSAP follows a three-pronged approach when looking at the country’s financial sector:

  • The soundness of a financial system versus its vulnerabilities and risks that increase the likelihood or potential severity of financial sector crises.
  • A country’s developmental needs in terms of infrastructure, institutions and markets.
  • A country’s compliance with the observance of selected financial sector standards and code

8. Produce data on child sex abuses: SC
Source: The Hindu

As an eight-month-old rape survivor from Delhi battles for her life at the AIIMS, the Supreme Court ordered a nationwide inquiry into how many child sex abusers had actually been punished.

A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, ordered data from the High Courts on the number of pending cases of child abuse booked under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

  • Public interest litigation petitioner and advocate AlokAlakhShrivastava said there was a 95% pendency rate, as per the statistics of the National Crime Records Bureau.
  • Chief Justice Misra said the court wanted fresh and independent data collected by a team constituted under the supervision of the Chief Justices of the High Courts.
  • The Bench said it wanted to know the status so as to set a deadline for the completion of trials in special courts.
  • The court gave the High Courts four weeks to submit the data to the Supreme Court Registry.

9. IIP quickens to 7.5%, inflation softens
Source: The Hindu

According to data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), India’s factory output, measured by Index of Industrial Production (IIP) recorded overall 7.5% growth in January2018, indicating early signs of industrial revival

Factory output grew at 7.1% in December 2017, before hitting 25-month high of 8.4% in November 2017. The cumulative IIP growth for period of April-January over corresponding period of previous year was 4.1%.

  • The manufacturing sector saw growth quickening marginally to 8.7% in January from 8.4% in the previous month
  • Electricity also saw growth accelerating to 7.6% from 4.43% in December
  • Primary goods saw growth accelerating to 5.8% in January from 3.73% in December
  • The capital goods sector continued to witness strong growth of 14.6% in January, although this was lower than the 16.44% seen in the previous month
  • Growth in infrastructure and construction quickened slightly to 6.8% in January from 6.68% in the previous month
  • The consumer durables sector saw growth accelerating sharply to 8% from 0.86% over the same period
  • Consumer non-durables production: It recorded 10.5% growth in January 2018 from 16.5% in December 2017.

The only concern is that the Purchasing Managers’ Index data for February showed a weakening. PMI actually reflect the investor sentiment in an economy’s manufacturing sector

Index of Industrial Production (IIP):

  • The IIP is composite indicator that measures short-term changes in volume of production of basket of industrial products during given period with respect to chosen base period.
  • It is compiled and published monthly by Central Statistical Organization (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
  • Base year: The CSO had revised the base year of the IIP from 2004-05 to 2011-12 in May 2017 to capture structural changes in the economy and improves the quality and representativeness of the indices.
  • The revised IIP (2011-12) reflects the changes in the industrial sector and also aligns it with base year of other macroeconomic indicators like the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) and Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
  • Sector wise items and weightages: It covers 407 item groups. Sector wise, the items included falls into 3 categories viz. Manufacturing (405 items), Mining (1 items) & Electricity (1 item). The weights of the three sectors are 77.63%, 14.37%, 7.9% respectively.
  • The revised 8 core Industries have combined weightage of 40.27% in IIP.

Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI):

  • It is an indicator of the economic health and investor sentiments about the manufacturing sector (there is services PMI as well)
  • Variables used in PMI’s construction: The variables used to construct India’s PMI are: Output, New Orders, Employment, Input Costs, Output Prices, Backlogs of Work, Export Orders, Quantity of Purchases, Suppliers Delivery Times, Stocks of Purchases and Stocks of Finished Goods. Similar variables (but less in number) are used for the construction of services PMI
  • Published by: For India, the PMI Data is published by Japanese firm Nikkei
  • Compiled and constructed by: Markit Economics

10.RBI fixes cap of 1 year for trade finance instruments
Source: The Hindu

  • The Reserve Bank of India tightened the guidelines for hedging commodity price risks and freight risks in overseas markets, which will come into effect next financial year, by limiting the tenor of all bank instruments in trade finance areas.
  • Accordingly, a central bank circular said, “banks can issue standby letters of credit (SBLCs)/guarantees, for a maximum period of one year, in lieu of making a remittance of margin money for commodity hedging transactions. Banks should ensure that these SBLCs/guarantees are used by their clients for the intended purposes only.”
  • The guidelines come within a month of the nation’s largest banking fraud coming out in the open involving such instruments issued by a Punjab National Bank branch in the megapolis to diamond trader Nirav Mod and his uncle Mehul Choksi and their companies during the past many years by getting letters of undertaking without proper records or guarantees.



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