Current Affairs April 2013 - Current Affairs Today

Current Affairs April 2013

Lucknow zardozi gets GI (Geographical Indication) registration

ZarThe Geographical Indication Registry (GIR) has accorded the Geographical Indication (GI) registration to the Lucknow Zardozi - the world renowned textile embroidery.

The Zardozi products manufactured in areas in Lucknow and surrounding districts have now become a BRAND and will carry a registered logo to confirm their authenticity.

Zardozi

  • Zardozi or Zar-douzi work is a type of embroidery in Iran, India and Pakistan.
  • Zardozi is a Persian word that means “Sewing with gold string”.
  • Zardozi style of embroidery has been in existence in India from the time of the Rig Veda.
  • Zardozi style of embroidery flourished during the Mugal Emperor, Akbar
  • Later a loss of royal patronage and industrialization led to its decline.
  • Zardozi style is at present very popular in the Indian cities of Lucknow, Farrukhabad and Chennai.

Geographical Indications Registry

Geographical Indications Registry is responsible for the administration of laws relating to Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. Geographical Indications of Goods are defined as that aspect of industrial property which refer to the geographical indication referring to a country or to a place situated therein as being the country or place of origin of that product. Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to the fact of its origin in that defined geographical locality, region or country.

  • Under Articles 1 (2) and 10 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, geographical indications are covered as an element of IPRs.
  • They are also covered under Articles 22 to 24 of the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, which was part of the Agreements concluding the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations.
  • India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection)Act, 1999 has come into force with effect from 15th September 2003.

What is a Geographical Indication?

  • It is an indication
  • It originates from a definite geographical territory.
  • It is used to identify agricultural, natural or manufactured goods
  • The manufactured goods should be produced or processed or prepared in that territory.
  • It should have a special quality or reputation or other characteristics

Jurisdiction:

  1. A Geographical Indications Registry with all India jurisdiction operates in Chennai, as per the Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999.
  2. Under the Act, agricultural, natural or manufactured goods originating or manufactured in the territory of a country, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of such goods is essentially attributable to its geographical origin and in cases where such goods are manufactured goods, one of the activities of either production or of processing or preparation of the goods concerned takes place in such territory, region or locality, are registrable as Geographical Indications. Whether a particular product is registrable or not is determined by the Registrar of Geographical Indications, on receipt of the application.

Benefits of Geographical Indication

  • It confers legal protection to Geographical Indications in India
  • Prevents unauthorised use of a Registered Geographical Indication by others
  • It provides legal protection to Indian Geographical Indications which in turn boost exports.
  • It promotes economic prosperity of producers of goods produced in a geographical territory.

Who can apply for the registration of a geographical indication?

  • Any association of persons, producers, organisation or authority established by or under the law can apply:
  • The applicant must represent the interest of the producers
  • The application should be in writing in the prescribed form
  • The application should be addressed to the Registrar of Geographical Indications alongwith prescribed fee.

Registered proprietor

  • Any association of persons, producers, organisation or authority established by or under the law can be a registered proprietor.
  • Their name should be entered in the Register of Geographical Indication as registered proprietor for the Geographical Indication applied for.

Authorised user

  • A producer of goods can apply for registration as an authorised user
  • It must be in respect of a registered geographical indication
  • He should apply in writing in the prescribed form along with prescribed fee
  • An authorised user has the exclusive rights to the use of geographical indication in relation to goods in respect of which it is registered.

Who is a producer in relation to a Geographical Indication?

The persons dealing with three categories of goods are covered under the term Producer:

  • Agricultural Goods includes the production, processing, trading or dealing
  • Natural Goods includes exploiting, trading or dealing
  • Handicrafts or Industrial goods includes making, manufacturing, trading or dealing.

How long the registration of Geographical Indication is valid?

  • The registration of a geographical indication is valid for a period of 10 years

Can a Geographical Indication be renewed?

  • It can be renewed from time to time for further period of 10 years each.

What is the effect if a Geographical Indication if it is not renewed?

  • If a registered geographical indication is not renewed it is liable to be removed from the register.

Infringement of the registered Geographical Indication

In following conditions, the GI is deemed to be infringed.

  • When an unauthorised user uses a geographical indication that indicates or suggests that such goods originate in a geographical area other than the true place of origin of such goods in a manner which mislead the public as to the geographical origin of such goods.
  • When the use of geographical indication result in an unfair competition including passing off in respect of registered geographical indication.
  • When the use of another geographical indication results in false representation to the public that goods originate in a territory in respect of which a registered geographical indication relates.

Infringement action

  • The registered proprietor or authorised users of a registered geographical indication can initiate an infringement action.

Can a registered geographical indication be assigned, transmitted, etc?

  • No. A geographical indication is a public property belonging to the producers of the concerned goods.
  • It shall not be the subject matter of assignment, transmission, licensing, pledge, mortgage or such other agreement
  • However, when an authorised user dies, his right devolves on his successor in title.

Can a registered geographical indication or a registered authorised user be removed from the register?

  • Yes. The Appellate Board or the Registrar of Geographical Indications has the power to remove the geographical indication or an authorised user from the register. Further, on application by an aggrieved person action can be taken.

How a geographical indication is different from a trade mark?

  • A trade mark is a sign which is used in the course of trade and it distinguishes goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises. Whereas a geographical indication is an indication used to identify goods having special characteristics originating from a definite geographical territory.
Some products with GI Tag (List includes products from 2003-2008)

Tea:

  1. Darjeeling Tea (Name and Logo).
  2. Kangra Tea – Himachal Pradesh
  3. Assam Tea (Application of Assam Tea under process (November 2009)

Agricultural Products:

  1. Navara Rice:Kerala
  2. Palakkadan Matta Rice:Kerala
  3. Malabar Pepper :Kerala
  4. Alleppey Green Cardamom:Kerala
  5. Coorg Green Cardamom:Karnataka
  6. Allahabad Surkha – Uttar Pradesh (Guava)

Coffee:

  1. Monsooned Malabar Arabica Coffee:Karnataka
  2. Monsooned Malabar Robusta Coffee:Karnataka

Coir Products:

  1. Alleppy Coir : Kerala

Leather :

  1. E I Leather : Tamilnadu

Embroidary:

  1. Kasuti Embroidery : Karnataka

Essential Oils:

  1. Mysore Sandalwood Oil : Karnataka

Handicrafts:

  1. Aranmula Kannadi : Kerala
  2. Bidriware : Karnataka
  3. Channapatna Toys & Dolls : Karnataka
  4. Mysore Rosewood Inlay : Karnataka
  5. Kondapalli Bommallu : Andhra Pradesh
  6. Silver Filigree of Karimnagar : Andhra Pradesh
  7. Temple Jewellery of Nagercoil : Tamil Nadu
  8. Thanjavur Art Plate : Tamil Nadu
  9. Applique – Khatwa Patch Work of Bihar : Bihar
  10. Sujini Embroidery Work of Bihar : Bihar
  11. Sikki Grass Work of Bihar : Bihar
  12. Ganjifa cards of Mysore (Karnataka) : Karnataka
  13. Karnataka Bronze Ware : Karnataka

Horticulture:

  1. Mysore Jasmine : Karnataka
  2. Udupi Jasmine : Karnataka
  3. Hadagali Jasmine : Karnataka
  4. Coorg Orange : Karnataka
  5. Mysore Betel leaf : Karnataka
  6. Nanjanagud Banana : Karnataka

Incense Sticks:

  1. Mysore Agarbathi

Paintings:

  1. Mysore Traditional Paintings : Karnataka
  2. Madhubani Paintings : Bihar
  3. Thanjavur Paintings : Tamil Nadu

Soap :

  1. Mysore Sandal Soap – Karnataka

Textiles & Textile Goods:

  1. Pochampalli Ikat : Andhra Pradesh
  2. Salem Fabric : Tamil Nadu
  3. Chanderi Fabric : Madhya Pradesh
  4. Solapur Chaddar : Maharashtra
  5. Solapur Terry Towel : Maharashtra
  6. Kotpad Handloom fabric : Orrissa
  7. Mysore Silk : Karnataka
  8. Kota Doria : Rajasthan
  9. Kancheepuram Silk : Tamil Nadu
  10. Kullu Shawl : Himachal Pradesh
  11. Madurai Sungudi : Tamil Nadu
  12. Orissa Ikat : Orissa
  13. Srikalahasthi Kalamkari : Andhra Pradesh
  14. Muga Silk : Assam
  15. Ilkal Sarees : Karnataka
  16. Nakshi Kantha : New Delhi
  17. Navalgund Durries : Karnataka
  18. Molakalmuru Sarees : Karnataka
  19. Salem Silk : Tamil Nadu
  20. Kovai Cora Cotton : Tamil Nadu
  21. Arani Silk : Tamil Nadu
  22. Bhavani Jamakkalam (carpet ) : Tamil Nadu

Wet Grinder:

  1. Coimbatore Wet Grinder

India expresses concerns to Saudi Arabia over ‘Nitaqat’

India has expressed its concerns to Saudi Arabia over the possibility of job losses of a large number of Indian workers in the kingdom because of a new labour law (Nitaqat).

Both the nations have set up a Joint Working Group (JWG) which will deliberate on framing a Memorandum of Understanding, which is to be a comprehensive document guiding all aspects of India-Saudi labour relations.

What is Nitaqat?

  • The Nitaqat  is a new policy being placed by the Saudi government in order to reduce the unemployment rate among Saudi citizens.
  • This policy makes it mandatory for Saudi Companies to reserve 10 percent of jobs for Saudi nationals.

Why Saudi Arabia is implementing such a policy?

  • Saudi Arabia’s economy depends heavily on the existence of a large proportion of expatriates working for various establishments in the private and public sector.
  • However, unlike the other states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Saudi Arabia has large number of unemployed citizens, which creates a state of resentment among those citizens.
  • As per estimates, the unemployment rate among Saudi nationals has reached 12%. More than 6.5 million non-Saudis are working in the private sector of the Kingdom compared to 7,00,000 Saudis.

Is this type of policy a new concept?

No. This is not a new concept. Initially in 1994, the Saudi government had started a system called Saudization with the same purpose of reducing unemployment of its citizens. The programme required the appointment of Saudi citizens of the total workforce of all the establishments existing in the Kingdom. However, due to several reasons, the system could not be implemented. This percentage varied in accordance to the activity of the establishment. However, due to several reasons, the system did not achieve the desired objectives.

How will Nitaqat work?

  • ‘Nitaqat’ which means ‘Ranges’, divides the Saudi labor market into 41 activities and each activity into 5 sizes (Giant, Large, Medium, Small and Very Small) to have in total 205 categories.

It classifies establishments into following ranges:

  • Excellent : establishments which have highest localization ratio in their workforce
  • Green: establishments which have high localization ratio
  • Yellow : low localization ratio
  • Red : lowest localization ratio

Effects of classification on different ranges:

  • Those establishments which will be in Excellent and Green ranges will have advantages and rewards while those in Yellow and Red will be on the receiving end.

Some key advantages to Excellent or Green ranges:

  • Eligibility to issue work visas for the development of new business
  • Ability to contract with non-Saudi workers from the establishments of the Red and the Yellow ranges in the Saudi market.
  • This will result in granting the establishments that have achieved high rates of localization the opportunity to appoint non-Saudi workers with no need to issue new work visas, which helps to rationalization the recruitment and employment of additional non-Saudi labor.

Main disadvantages to Red and Yellow ranges:

They will be forced to expedite the localization of the jobs within the establishments to upgrade their range to the Green or the Excellent range to maintain the expats they have. Otherwise, the establishments located in these ranges – Red and Yellow ranges – will be denied from obtaining new or alternative visas, lose control over the non-Saudi workers in the establishment as they will have the freedom of contract with a new employer and will not be allowed to obtain new work visas to appoint new-non-Saudis workers or to set up a new subsidiary or branch.

Recent addition in Nitaqat law:

  • Expatriate worker should work only under his sponsor and the worker is not meant to perform any job other than the one mentioned on his job card have raised much panic among the expatriate workers.

What are India’s concerns over this policy?

  • At present over 2 million Indian nationals are working in Saudi Arabia. Implementation of this law will lead to job losses and reduced job opportunities for Indians too.

NABARD opens first Farmers’ Club in Kargil

Kargil got its first Farmers’Club, as NABARD inaugurated Trespone Farmer’s Club at Trespone TSG Block in the district.

What is Farmers’ Club (FCs) ?

  • Farmers’ Clubs (FCs) are grassroot level informal forums of farmers.
  • Such Clubs are organized by rural branches of banks with the support and financial assistance of NABARD for the mutual benefit of the banks concerned and the village farming community/rural people.
  • With the enhancement of the programme, other agencies like NGO, VAs, KVKs, SAUs etc. are also now included as agencies included in the formation and promotions of FCs.

Background:

  • The Farmers’ Clubs programme which was earlier known as “Vikas Volunteer Vahini (VVV) Programme” was launched by NABARD in 1982.
  • The programme was directed towards development in rural areas through credit, technology transfer, awareness and capacity building.
  • The “VVV Programme” was renamed as “Farmers’ Club Programme” in 2005 by revisiting its earlier mission.

What is the need of Farmers’ Clubs?

Around 60% of country’s population depends on agriculture which contributes18% to India’s GDP. The Tenth Five Year Plan and National Agriculture Policy documents envisage a growth level of 4% in Agriculture. However the growth of the sector has not been satisfactory with less than 2% growth in the last 50 years. To meet the targeted growth it is imperative improve productivity and reduce costs by improving efficiency. Keeping that in mind NABARD devised FCs strategy to provide package of initiatives for transfer of technology, improving input use efficiency, promoting investments in agriculture both in private and in public sectors and creating a favourable and conducive economic environment. The emerging needs in agriculture sector now are adoption of location specific skill and knowledge based technologies, promote greater value addition to agriculture produce, forge new partnerships between public institutions, technology users and the corporate sector, harness IT more effectively to realize financial sustainability and compete in the international market.

Who can form FCs?

  • All Institutional Agencies (Commercial Banks, Cooperative Banks and Regional Rural Banks) and all grassroot level organisations (NGOs, PRIs, State Agricultural Universities, KVKs, ATMA, Post Offices etc.) are eligible to form Farmers’ Clubs.

What are the functions of FCs?

The broad functions of the Farmers’ Clubs are:

  • Coordinate with banks to ensure credit flow among its members and forge better bank borrower relationship,
  • Organise minimum one meeting per month and depending upon the need, there would be 2-3 meetings per month. Non-members can also be invited to attend the meetings,
  • Interface with subject matter specialists in the various fields of agriculture and allied activities etc., extension personnel of Agriculture Universities, Development Departments and other related agencies for technical know how upgradation. For guest lectures, even experienced farmers who are non members from the village/ neighbouring villages could be invited,
  • Liaison with Corporate input suppliers to purchase bulk inputs on behalf of members,
  • Organise/facilitate joint activities like value addition, processing, collective purchase of inputs and farm produce marketing, etc.; for the benefit of members. They can also sponsor / organise SHGs,
  • Undertake socio-economic developmental activities like community works, education, health, environment and natural resource management etc.
  • Market rural produce and products

How a bank is benefitted by opening FCs?

FCs concept is a win-win situation for both the banker and the borrower. As per a study, the following benefits were accrued to a bank branch operating FCs:

  • Increase in deposits.
  • Increase in the credit flow and diversification of lending.
  • Generation of new business avenues.
  • Increase in the recoveries and decline in the non-performing assets.
  • Reduction in the transaction costs of financial institutions/ Banks.
  • Socio economic development of the village.
  • Besides these benefits to the banks, the Farmers’ Club has also been instrumental in certain social welfare measures like free eye check-up camp, Animal Health Care Camp, Mass vaccination camp, community works like road, check-dams, afforestation, etc.
  • Enhancement in bargaining power for bulk purchase of inputs and marketing of their produce.

How NABARD supports FCs?

NABARD’s policy support for Farmers’ Club Programme lays stress on linking technologies with farmers’ club members and also facilitating market access through the following mechanism:

  • Capacity building of members of Farmers’ Clubs including leadership training.
  • Linkage with technology/markets
  • Self Help Groups (SHGs)/Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) formation
  • Forming Federations of Farmers’ Clubs/Producers’ Groups/Companies

Financial Support from NABARD

  • NABARD also provides financial assistance of Rs.10,000/- per club per annum for a period of 3 years to all agencies irrespective of whether they are institutional or other agencies and also the region concerned.

What is the current status of FCs?

  • During 2009-10, 16,590 Farmers’ Clubs have been formed taking the cumulative number of farmers’ Clubs to 54,805 as on 31st March 2010.

Government sets up Inter-ministerial Committee to boost exports from MSMEs

Govt sets up Inter-ministerial Committee for promoting exports of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector.

Why need for the Inter-Ministrial Committee?

  • Revival of exports which were affected by global economic slowdown ( exports decline to USD 300 billion as against projected USD 360 billion)
  • Overcoming the widening trade deficit gap as it resulted into increase in current account deficit (CAD crossed 6.7% of GDP in Q3 of fiscal year 2012-13).
  • Suggest Long and short term measures to enhance exports.

Committee Members:

Chairman: R S Gujral (Finance Secretary)

Other Members-

  • S R Rao (Commerce Secretary)
  • Sumit Bose (Revenue Secretary)
  • Madhav Lal (MSME Secretary)
  • Rajiv Takru (Financial Services Secretary )
  • Raghuram Rajan (Chief Economic Adviser)

Classification of MSMEs:-

MSME sector are classified into 2 classes with the following criteria:

1. Manufacturing or production enterprises

Enterprises Investment in plant & machinery
Micro Enterprises  < Rs.25 lacs
Small Enterprises  > Rs.25 lacs and < Rs.5 crores
Medium Enterprises  > Rs.5 crores and < Rs.10 crores

2. Service enterprises

Enterprises Investment in equipments
Micro Enterprises < Rs.10 lacs
Small Enterprises  > Rs.10 lacs and < Rs.2 Crores
Medium Enterprises  > Rs.2 Crores and < Rs.5 Crores

Contribution of MSME sector to Indian Economy

  • Around 40% of total exports.
  • Over 8% to gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Contributes around 45% of India’s manufacturing output.
  • Provides employment to about 60 million persons through 26 million enterprises.