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Insights Daily Current Events, 28 April 2016

Insights Daily Current Events, 28 April 2016


Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

‘Make in India’ not at cost of IPR: U.S.

The US Trade Representative’s annual Special 301 report, that identifies trade barriers to U.S. companies and products due to a foreign government’s intellectual property regime, has placed India on the Priority Watch List, the same as last year.

About the Report:

The report ranks countries depending on the inadequacy of IP protection and enforcement into two categories — priority foreign country (PFC) and priority watch list (PWL). While a PFC grading obligates the US Trade Representative (USTR) to initiate unilateral measures like suspension of trade concessions in case of failure of negotiation, the PWL increases “bilateral attention concerning the problem areas.”

Details:

  • According to the report, India stays on the highest priority watch list due to lack of measurable improvements to its intellectual property legal framework, despite stepped up enforcement efforts.
  • The report has identified many measures taken by the government as encouraging in terms of providing a better IP protection regime, but raised multiple concerns, particularly related to the potential erosion in IP standards due to its push for promoting domestic manufacturing.
  • The U.S remains concerned particularly about actions and policies in India that appear to favour local manufacturing or Indian IPR owners.

Criticisms:

The government of India, however, does not engage with this process as it considers it an infringement on the country’s sovereignty. India feels the categorisation is arbitrary and mostly a political decision, in order to reward or punish a target country.

Overall, the agency has 11 countries on the “Priority Watch List”: Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine, and Venezuela. These countries will be the subject of particularly intense bilateral engagement during the coming year.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Joint parliament standing committee clears bankruptcy law

The joint parliament standing committee has cleared the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Code and is likely to be discussed in the current budget session of parliament. The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in December 2015.

  • Also, to make the recovery process more efficient and expedient, the SARFAESI (Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest) Act and Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) Act have been amended.

About the Bankruptcy Bill:

The proposed Bill aims for a complete renovation of the current insolvency and bankruptcy system in India, which will help streamline the procedure of revival of companies facing financial distress.

  • It also aims to improve the ease of doing business and attract more investment in the country.
  • The Code will help Indian firms to exit an ailing business while banks stand to gain as they can recover their dues in time.
  • The Bill proposes adherence to strict deadlines to decide whether to liquidate a sick company or not, wherein the decision to liquidate a company will have to be reached within 180 days.
  • The Bill proposes the setting up of an Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India to regulate insolvency professionals and agencies. It also proposes the setting up of a fund dubbed the ‘Insolvency and Bankruptcy Fund of India’.

Significance of this Bill:

As of now, there is no single law that deals with insolvency and bankruptcy in India. A number of provisions spread across various statutes have rendered the insolvency and bankruptcy-related process a legal quagmire significantly hindering the ease of doing business in the country. The new Bill seeks to consolidate all of this into a single Code.

Background:

The Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his Budget Speech 2015-16, had identified Bankruptcy Law Reform as a key priority for improving the ease of doing business and had announced that a comprehensive Bankruptcy Code, meeting global standards and providing necessary judicial capacity, will be brought in fiscal 2015-16.

Accordingly, the Government had constituted the Bankruptcy Law Reform Committee to look into various Bankruptcy related issues and give its report along with a draft Bill on the subject to the Government.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

Govt. to set up sex offenders registry

The government is planning to set up a sex offenders registry in the country, on the lines of those maintained in western countries including the U.S. and the U.K.

About the Registry:

It will be an online database of charge-sheeted sexual offenders in the entire country, which people can access through a Citizen Portal in the upcoming Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) project.

  • Details of sexual offenders even below 18 years of age would be included in the database, which will be put up on the website of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
  • The names and details of sexual offenders, both below and above 18 years of age would be put up only after they have been convicted and completed their sentence in jail. The details will not be included if the case are under trial and are in appeal in a higher court.
  • According to the draft guidelines proposed, extensive information on the offender will be collected. This will include, inter-alia name and aliases, registration of primary or given name, nicknames, pseudonyms, telephone numbers, addresses including temporary lodging information, travel and immigration documents.
  • Besides, the information on offenders to be collected for the Registry include those related to their jobs, professional licences, information of school, college, institute with which they have been associated, vehicle information, date of birth, criminal history, current photograph, fingerprints and palm prints, DNA sample, driver’s licence, identification card, PAN card number, Aadhaar card number and Voter ID number.

Benefits:

  • It would be a handy tool for the law enforcement agencies as well.
  • It will instill fear in the minds of repeat sexual offenders and the public would be benefited from it.

Way ahead:

Draft guidelines on the proposal to set up Sex Offenders Registry in India are under preparation in consultation with relevant Ministries/organisations, before they are put out for wider consultation with the State governments and the public.

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims:

  • The Cabinet has approved a proposal to provide 400 hectares of barren land at Central State Farm (CSF), Jetsar in Rajasthan for setting up of more than 200 mw solar power plant.

 

  • The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Papua New Guinea on cooperation in the field of Healthcare and Medical Science. The bilateral MoU will encourage cooperation between the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare of India and the Ministry of Health and HIV/AIDS of the Papua New Guinea through joint initiatives in the health sector. It will strengthen bilateral ties between India and Papua New Guinea.

 

  • The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) and the Insurance Authority of United Arab Emirates. The MoU was signed in February, 2016. The MoU provides for enhanced cooperation between the two authorities in the field of insurance supervision by providing a framework for co-operation such as channels of communication. It will also result in increasing mutual understanding through the exchange of regulatory and relevant supervisory information including confidential information to enforce or ensure compliance with their respective laws and regulations.

 

  • Laser walls have been made operational along the India-Pakistan international border in Punjab to plug the porous riverine and treacherous terrain and keep an effective vigil against intruders and terrorists exploiting the frontier areas to cross over.

 

  • Nasa’s Cassini spacecraft, orbiting Saturn and its moons since 2004, has confirmed that a huge sea on Saturn’s moon Titan is composed mostly of pure liquid methane. The sea, called Ligeia Mare, has a surface area of about 126,000 sq. kms. Cassini also found that the seabed may be covered in a sludge of carbon- and nitrogen-rich material, and its shores may be surrounded by wetlands. Methane, a compound made of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms, exists as a gas on Earth. It becomes liquid only at -161.5 degrees Celsius. Saturn’s great distance from the Sun ensures that gases like methane exist as liquids there.