- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme expanded in additional 61 districts
- India near bottom of intellectual property index
- sanctions fund for Agartala-Akhaura railway link
- NATO, EU sign agreement on cyber defence cooperation
Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme expanded in additional 61 districts
The Ministry of Women and Child Development has expanded Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao scheme in additional 61 district (covering 11 states).
- This expansion was recommended after seeing the overwhelming response by stakeholders in the form of various initiatives and innovations at the local level to the scheme.
About the BBBP scheme:
- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme was launched on 22ndJanuary, 2015 at Panipat in Haryana.
- It is a tri-ministerial effort of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development.
- The scheme aims at improving the trend of declining child sex ratio (CSR) in the country—which, according to Census 2011 data, has plummeted from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001 and 918 in 2011—and promoting gender equality.
- In the first phase, 100 districts with low CSR were selected for BBBP Scheme implementation for creating awareness and advocacy about the issue.
During the last one year, the BBBP Scheme is being implemented under the overall guidance and supervision of concerned District Magistrate/Deputy Commissioners.
[Ref: PIB, LM]
India near bottom of intellectual property index
India has ranked 37th out of 38 countries for its intellectual property rights environment in the annual IP index released by the United States Chamber of Commerce (USCC).
- The U.S. was ranked first, followed by the UK, Germany, France and Sweden.
- India’s peers in the BRICS grouping were all ranked ahead with Russia ranked 20th, China (22nd), South Africa (26th) and Brazil (29th).
- India was ranked 37 out of 38 countries in the International Intellectual Property Index.
- The index painted a grim picture of India, which scored 7.05, lower than last year’s 7.23.
- India remains at the bottom of the Index for the fourth year in a row.
The report comes at a time when the government is close to finalising a National Intellectual Property policy to improve the IP regime, increase IP awareness and strengthen enforcement of rules.
Reasons for India’s dismal picture:
- According to the report, the patent protection in India remains outside of international best practices.
- Indian law does not provide adequate enforcement mechanisms to effectively combat online piracy.
- Among India’s key areas of weakness was the use of compulsory licensing (CL) for commercial and non-emergency situations, and the expanded use of CL being considered by the Indian government. [CL relates to the government allowing entities to manufacture, use, sell or import a patented invention without the permission of the patent-owner.]
- Another area of weakness was “poor application and enforcement of civil remedies and criminal penalties.”
According to the report, India’s score would have increased if the government had not suspended implementation of Final Guidelines for Computer Related Inventions (CRI).
About IP index:
- The annual IP index is prepared by USCC’s Global Intellectual Property Chamber.
- The 38 economies benchmarked in the 2016 Index accounts for nearly 85 per cent of the global GDP.
- The Index is based on 30 criteria critical to innovation including patent, copyright and trademark protections, enforcement, and engagement in international treaties.
Govt. sanctions fund for Agartala-Akhaura railway link
The Union ministry of development of northeast region (DoNER) has sanctioned Rs 580 crore for the construction of the long-awaited railway corridor connecting Agartala (capital of Tripura state) with Akhaura (in Bangladesh).
Key facts of the project:
- The 15-km-long Agartala-Akhaura railway route would connect West Bengal and Tripura through Bangladesh.
- Of the 15 km track, five km would be on Indian side and the rest ten km would be in Bangladesh.
- The entire project cost would be borne by the Indian government and it is expected to finish the project by 2017.
Significance of the project:
- The 1,700 km distance between Agartala and Kolkata through chicken neck near Siliguri would be reduced to 350 km if passengers from here could move through Bangladesh.
- The rail link would improve connectivity and boost trade between the two countries.
- The linking of Akhaura and Agartala by rail was suggested in 1974 with the signing of a protocol between Bangladesh and India for cross-traffic movement.
- During Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New Delhi in 2010, India and Bangladesh had agreed to lay the tracks between Akhaura and Agartala.
However, the project was stalled for the last few months because of indecision on funding.
NATO, EU sign agreement on cyber defence cooperation
NATO and the European Union have signed an agreement to improve cooperation in cyber defence.
- A technical agreement was signed at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium between both organisations which have 22 member countries in common.
- The agreement establishes a framework for emergency response teams from NATO and the EU to exchange information and share best practices.
- The new agreement will facilitate information-sharing to improve cyber incident prevention, detection and response at both the EU and NATO.
Since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, NATO and the EU, which have 22 member countries in common, have accelerated cooperation in a number of defence-related fields.