4th December 2020

Intellectual Property Cooperation

Recently, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Intellectual Property Cooperation was signed between India and USA.

Objectives of MoU on Intellectual Property Cooperation

  • The MoU aims at increasing IP co-operation between the two countries by way of:
    • Facilitating exchange and dissemination of best practices, experiences and knowledge on IP among the public, and between and among the industry, universities, research and development (R & D) organizations, and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises through participation in programs and events organized singly or jointly by the Participants;
    • Collaboration in training programs, exchange of experts, technical exchanges and outreach activities;
    • Exchange of information and best practices on processes for registration and examination of applications for patents, trademarks, copyrights, geographical indications, and industrial designs, as well as the protection, enforcement and use of IP rights;
    • Exchange of information on the development and implementation of automation and modernization projects, new documentation and information systems in IP and procedures for management of IP Office services; and
    • Cooperation to understand various issues related to traditional knowledge, and the exchange of best practices, including those related to traditional knowledge databases and awareness raising on the use of existing IP systems for the protection of traditional knowledge;

Significance of Intellectual Property Cooperation

  • The two sides will draw up Biennial Work Plan to implement the MoU which will include the detailed planning for carrying out of the co-operation activities including the scope of action.
  • The MoU will go a long way in fostering the cooperation between India and USA, and provide opportunities to both countries to learn from the experience of each other.
  • It will be a landmark step forward in India’s journey towards becoming a major player in global innovation and will further the objectives of National IPR Policy, 2016.


Representation of Women in Indian Judiciary

Recently, the Attorney General K. K. Venugopal has said that improving the representation of women in the judiciary could go a long way towards a more balanced and empathetic approach in cases involving sexual violence.

Current Scenario of Women in Indian Judiciary

  • The Supreme Court has only 2 women judges as against a sanctioned strength of 34 judges and there has never been a female Chief Justice of India.
  • There are only 80 women judges out of the total sanctioned strength of 1,113 judges in the High Courts and the Supreme Court across India.
  • Of the 26 courts whose data was accessed, including the Supreme Court, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has the maximum strength of women judges in the country.
  • There are six High Courts, which consist of Manipur, Meghalaya, Patna, Tripura, Telangana, and Uttarakhand, where no sitting judges include any woman judge.
  • Currently, no data is centrally maintained on the number of women in tribunals or lower courts.

Concerns associated with Judiciary

  • The judiciary will not be trusted if it is viewed as a bastion of entrenched elitism, exclusivity, and privilege, oblivious to changes in society and to the needs of the most vulnerable.
  • The citizens will find it hard to accept the judiciary as the guarantor of law and human rights if judges themselves act in a discriminatory manner.

Importance of Women in Judiciary

  • The achievement of equality for women judges, in terms of representation at all levels of the judiciary and on policy-making judicial councils, should be the goal because it is right for the achievement of a more just rule of law.
  • The entry of women judges into spaces from which they had historically been excluded has been a positive step in the direction of judiciaries being perceived as being more transparent, inclusive, and representative of the people.
  • The women judges enhance the legitimacy of courts, sending a powerful signal that they are open and accessible to those who seek recourse to justice.
  • The women judges contribute far more to justice than improving its appearance because they contribute significantly to the quality of decision-making, and thus to the quality of justice itself.
  • The judges, who belong to the “old school” and may be “patriarchal” in outlook, should be sensitised so that they do not pass orders objectifying women in cases of sexual violence.


SCO Young Scientist Conclave

Recently, the SCO Young Scientist Conclave was concluded by the Union Minister of for Science and Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare.

SCO Young Scientist Conclave

  • The first SCO-Young Scientists Conclave is being held in India in 2020, as an integral part of SCO Young Scientists Forum (SCO YSF).
  • The SCO YSF with the objective of providing a unique opportunity to the youth in their Member States to interact, network and collaborate with their counterparts to address pertinent challenges in emerging areas of science and technology.
    • It has accepted the proposal of India to host and organize the 1st SCO-Young Scientists Conclave in India.
  • It is aimed at harnessing the intrinsic ability of unconventional and lateral thinking, ideology and innovative caliber of the young minds and make their scientific and technological presence felt in today’s world.
  • The Conclave proposes to bring together the innovative young minds from SCO Member States on to a common platform in virtual mode to discuss issues like ways and means to bring in transformative changes to address the societal challenges.
  • The areas included agriculture and food processing; sustainable energy and energy storage; biotechnology and bioengineering; combating COVID-19 and emerging pandemics through research and innovation; environmental protection and natural resource management.

Scope of SCO Young Scientist Conclave

  • The conclave facilitates:
    • Creation of connectivity and networking among the SCO youth to harness their knowledge for addressing common societal challenges through research and innovation and strengthen advancement of complementary skills.
    • Creation of consortia of young scientists, professionals, innovators and entrepreneurs to conduct joint R&D activities.
    • Preparation of next generation scientific leadership in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) and future readiness among Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Professionals.
    • Building SCO scientific identity in STI through creative youth.
    • Provide access to large scale research infrastructure and unique analytical facilities.
    • Create internship and training opportunities for young researchers.

Participants and Eligibility of SCO Young Scientist Conclave

  • 22 participants were expected to participate at the Conclave from each of the SCO Member States.
    • 15 young scientists – three for each thematic area
    • Five Mentors – one for each thematic area
    • One Head of Delegation-representative of the STI Ministry
    • One liaison officer from each SCO nation
  • Eligibility: Young bright academicians/ scientists/ engineers/ technologists/ innovators/ technoentrepreneurial start-up professionals working in the above mentioned thematic areas with age not exceeding 35 years as on 1st November 2020.


Dedicated Export Promotion Council for Technical Textiles

Recently, the Ministry of Textiles has invited proposals for constitution of a Dedicated Export Promotion Council (EPC) for Technical Textiles.

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its approval to set up a National Technical Textiles Mission in February 2020.
  • The Mission would have a four year implementation period from FY 2020-21 to 2023-24.
  • The constitution of an Export Promotion Council for Technical Textiles is part of one of the components of the National Technical Textiles Mission.
  • The Exporter Association and Trade bodies registered under Companies Act or Society Registration Act have been asked to submit proposal for constitution of a dedicated EPC for Technical Textiles.
  • The Council shall abide by all directions of the Central Government in respect of promotion and development of international trade.
  • The Council would be responsible to promote ITC (HS) lines identified and Notified by Directorate General of Foreign Trade from time to time.

Technical Textiles

  • Technical textiles are textiles materials and products manufactured primarily for technical performance and functional properties rather than aesthetic characteristics.
  • Technical Textiles products are divided into 12 broad categories (Agrotech, Buildtech, Clothtech, Geotech, Hometech, Indutech, Mobiltech, Meditech, Protech, Sportstech, Oekotech, Packtech) depending upon their application areas.
  • India shares nearly 6% of world market size of 250 Billion USD and the annual average growth of the segment is 12%, as compared to 4% world average growth.
  • Technical Textiles are futuristic and nice segment of textiles, which are used for various applications ranging from agriculture, roads, railway tracks, sportswear, health on one end to bullet proof jackets, fire proof jackets, high altitude combat gear and space applications.


NRIs to vote by post

Recently, the Election Commission (EC) approached the Law Ministry to permit NRIs to cast their votes from overseas through postal ballots.

  • The EC began to look for options to enable NRIs to vote from overseas after it received several requests from the Ministry of External Affairs.
  • The 12-member committee appointed by the EC had consulted national political parties and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on the options being considered for NRIs to cast their vote abroad.

Viewpoint of ECI on Postal Ballots for NRIs

  • The EC told the government it had received representations from the Indian diaspora about facilitating voting through postal votes since travelling to India only for this purpose is a “costly affair”.
  • The NRIs cannot leave the country of their residence owing to specific compulsions of employment, education or other engagements.
  • The Commission informed the government that it is “technically and administratively ready” to extend the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) to voters abroad for elections next year in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

Current process of voting for NRIs

  • An NRI can vote in the constituency in which her place of residence, as mentioned in the passport, is located.
  • She can only vote in person and will have to produce her passport in original at the polling station for establishing identity.
  • The voting rights for NRIs were introduced in 2011 through an amendment to the Representation of the People Act 1950.
  • According to a UN report of 2015, India’s diaspora population is the largest in the world at 16 million people.
  • The registration of NRI voters is little over one lakh overseas Indians registered as voters in India.

Proposal for NRIs Postal Ballots

  • According to the EC proposal, any NRI interested in voting through the postal ballot in an election will have to inform the Returning Officer (RO) not later than five days after the notification of the election.
  • On receiving such information, the RO will dispatch the ballot paper electronically
  • The NRI voters will download the ballot paper, mark their preference on the printout and send it back along with a declaration attested by an officer appointed by the diplomatic or consular representative of India in the country where the NRI is resident.
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