Naitonal Current Affairs - 2020

20 nations sign framework agreement of International Solar Alliance

Over 20 countries, including India, Brazil and France have signed the framework agreement of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).

The framework agreement of ISA was opened for signatures on the sidelines of CoP22 to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at Marrakech, in Morocco.

The signing of the framework agreement has to be followed by ratifications by countries.  The agreement will become operational after at least 15 countries have ratified it.

About International Solar Alliance (ISA)

  • ISA was jointly launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande at CoP21 in Paris in November 2015.
  • The initiative is brainchild of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is India’s first international and inter-governmental organization comprising 121 Countries.
  • ISA is an alliance of 121 solar resource-rich tropical countries lying fully or partially between two tropics and who are also UN members.
  • The institutional structure of ISA consists of an Assembly, a Council and a Secretariat. The secretariat of the ISA is to be located in India.
  • Its members will take coordinated actions through programmes and activities that will aggregate demands for solar finance, solar technologies, innovation, R&D and capacity building.

What are objectives of ISA?

  • Boost global demands which will result in further reduction in prices of solar energy deployment.
  • Boost R&D, particularly in areas of efficient storage systems.
  • Promote standardisation in the use of equipments and processes for generating electricity. Standardisation will make the manufacturing of equipments and other hardware cheaper.

What is purpose of ISA?

  • More than 120 countries are geographically located in the tropics i.e. between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, either fully or partially.
  • These places get ample sunlight throughout the year, making solar energy easily available resources.
  • These countries also happen to be ones where maximum growth in energy demand in the coming years, but their current production is woefully short of requirement.
  • Thus, the ISA will ensure that as these countries rapidly ramp up their electricity production, predominantly by using clean solar energy and avoid fossil fuels.
  • It is also an attempt to accelerate the global demand for solar energy and gives India an opportunity to take global leadership in the fight against climate change.

272 products registered as geographical indication so far

As many as 272 products have been registered as geographical indications since September 2003, according to data of Office of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks.

During this fiscal (2016-17), 11 products  have been registered so far as GI from states across India. 26 items had received GI status in the 2015-16 fiscal .

11 GI products added this  year are

Sangli Raisins (Maharashtra), Parmigiano Reggiano (Italy), Banaras Metal Repouse Craft (Uttar Pradesh), Beed Custard Apple (Maharashtra), Jalna Sweet Orange (Maharashtra), Uttarakhand Tejpat (Uttarakhand), Waigaon Turmeric (Maharashtra), Purandar Fig (Maharashtra), Jalgaon Brinjal (Maharashtra), Solapur Pomegranate (Maharashtra) and Kashmiri Hand Knotted Carpet (Jammu & Kashmir)

What is Geographical Indication (GI)?

Geographical Indication is an insignia on products having a unique geographical origin and evolution over centuries with regards to its special quality or reputation attributes. The status to the products marks its authenticity and ensures that registered authorised users are allowed to use the popular product name.

What are benefits of Geographical Indication Status?

The GI registration confers: (i) Legal protection to the products (ii) Prevents unauthorised use of a GI tag products by others (iii) Helps consumers to get quality products of desired traits (iv) Promotes economic prosperity of producers of GI tag goods by enhancing their demand in national and international markets.

Which are legal Authorities associated with GI?

Geographical Indications are covered as an element of intellectual property rights (IPRs) under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. At international level, GI is governed by World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In India, GI registration is governed by the Geographical Indications of goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. This had come into force from September 2003. Darjeeling tea was the first product in India accorded with GI tag.