Government Schemes & Policies
- making rules for us without us: transgenders
- Ward, village volunteer system launched in Andhra Pradesh
- Indian Origin youth visiting India under ‘Know India Programme’
- Odisha government’s scheme for farmers runs into rough weather
Issues related to Health & Education
- Vice-President inaugurates renovated building at Visva-Bharati University
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Minister to launch drive against single-use plastic
Bilateral & International Relations
- India contributes $1 million to UN fund
Defence & Security Issues
- PM announces creation of Chief of Defence Staff
Art & Culture
- President Awards the Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman for 2019
- Parsi New Year 2019
- “Aadi Mahotsav” Begins at Leh-Ladakh
Key Facts for Prelims
- GI tags for 4 new products from 3 states
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Government Schemes & Policies
Govt. making rules for us without us: transgenders
Recently, the Lok Sabha passed the Transgender Persons (Protection Of Rights) Bill, however, transgender found that barely any of their demands had been included.
- The provisions against discrimination in the Bill have no enforceability.
- The Bill has also criticised for only providing separate definitions for intersex persons but no provisions for transgenders. The Bill also incorrectly assumes that all persons with intersex variations are transgender
- Although the revised definition of transgender is better than what was stipulated in 2016 bill, current definition of transgender is prone to ambiguous and illiberal interpretation.
- There is no provision for the reservation of trans genders even after National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) said that the trans people should be considered socially and economically backward.
- The 2014 NALSA judgement stated that transgender persons had the right to gender self-identification and that a trans person could choose to identify as a male, female or third gender. However, to be identified as male or female, one will have to undergo surgery and then get a certificate identifying one’s gender.
Highlights of the bill:
Definition of a transgender person:
- The Bill defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth. It includes trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as kinnar, hijra, aravani, and jogta.
- Intersex variations is defined to mean a person who at birth shows variation in his or her primary sexual characteristics, external genitalia or hormones from the normative standard of male or female body.
Prohibition against discrimination:
- The Bill prohibits the discrimination against a transgender person, including denial of service or unfair treatment in relation to education, employment, to reside, rent, or otherwise occupy property, opportunity to hold public or private office etc.
Right to choose:
- Going by the bill, a person would have the right to choose to be identified as a man, woman or transgender, irrespective of sex reassignment surgery and hormonal therapy.
Right of residence:
- Every transgender person shall have a right to reside and be included in his household.
- If the immediate family is unable to care for the transgender person, the person may be placed in a rehabilitation centre, on the orders of a competent court.
- The government must take steps to provide health facilities to transgender persons including separate HIV surveillance centres, and sex reassignment surgeries.
- The government shall review medical curriculum to address health issues of transgender persons, and provide comprehensive medical insurance schemes for them.
Certificate of identity for a transgender person:
- A transgender person may make an application to the District Magistrate for a certificate of identity, indicating the gender as ‘transgender’.
- A revised certificate may be obtained only if the individual undergoes surgery to change their gender either as a male or a female.
Welfare measures by the government:
- The Bill states that the relevant government will take measures to ensure the full inclusion and participation of transgender persons in society.
- It must also take steps for their rescue and rehabilitation, vocational training etc.
National Council for Transgender persons (NCT):
- It also proposes to Set up a National Council for Transgender persons to advise the central government on policies and legislation related to transgender persons as well as redress the grievances of transgender persons.
District Screening Committee:
- The Bill also requires transgender persons to go through a district magistrate and “district screening committee” to get certified as a transperson.
- The committee would comprise a medical officer, a psychologist or psychiatrist, a district welfare officer, a government official, and a transgender person.
Ward, village volunteer system launched in Andhra Pradesh
The system of appointing grama (village) volunteers to ensure better delivery of various benefits to the public under welfare schemes will begin from Independence Day in Andhra Pradesh.
About the ward and village volunteer system
- It is the programme of Andhra Pradesh
- The objective of the programme id to provide efficient and corruption-free delivery of the government’s welfare schemes to households.
- Under this programme, the volunteers will conduct door-to-door visits and provide the benefits under various programmes to eligible beneficiaries.
- Also, the Andhra Pradesh government intends to operationalise its ‘Navaratnalu’ scheme by deploying ward and village volunteers.
- The programme would involve 2.8 lakh volunteers.
- Each volunteer will be paid Rs 5,000 per month and the person has to ensure that benefits reach the people in the 50 households in the village.
- In towns, ward volunteers have been appointed.
- Village secretariats would be set up in each village to deliver governance to people in 72 hours.
Eligibility of volunteers
- Age group of 18 to 35 and minimum qualification of SSC in tribal areas and Intermediate in other areas.
- The volunteers should be locals in the village.
Significance of the scheme:
- The basic idea behind implementing the scheme is to infuse confidence among the people and to see that their basic needs are met.
- The scheme would be able to reach the poorest of the poor and make villages self-sufficient.
Indian Origin youth visiting India under ‘Know India Programme’
The 54th KIP, having 40 participants from 9 countries, is scheduled from 1st to 25th August, 2019 in association with the partner sates of Punjab and Haryana.
About Know India Programme (KIP)
- Launched in 2003, Know India Programme is a flagship programme of Ministry of External Affairs.
- It is a 25 days programme during which the participant visits Delhi, Agra and a select state in India along with visits to places of historical, cultural, religious significance.
- It aims for engagement with Indian origin youth (between 18-30 years) to enhance their awareness about India, its cultural heritage, art and to familiarize them with various aspects of India.
- This programme is open to youth of Indian origin (excluding non-resident Indians) from all over the world with preference to those from Mauritius, Fiji, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad &Tobago;, South Africa, Jamaica.
- Minimum qualification is graduation or enrolled for graduation
- Ability to speak in English
- Should not have visited India through any previous Programme of Government of India
- 70% of the India’s population is below the age of 40 years.
Odisha government’s scheme for farmers runs into rough weather
The Odisha government’s Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme has gone haywire as the authorities faced a gigantic task of removing bogus beneficiaries who have already availed of the benefits.
What is the issue?
- A total of 51 lakh cultivators, loanee and non-loanee farmers, sharecroppers and landless agricultural labourers have been provided with financial assistance under the KALIA scheme so far.
- However, the authorities have now found out that all beneficiaries were not entitled to the benefits under the scheme and have asked the ineligible people to refund the money.
About KALIA scheme
- Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme was launched by the Government of Odisha.
- Under the scheme, Rs 10,180 crore will be spent over three years until 2020-21 in providing financial assistance to cultivators and landless agricultural labourers.
- The focus of the scheme is not on farming loan waiver but to support farming on a small scale, sharecropping, fishing, animal herding, which are caught in debt traps set up by local moneylenders.
- Out of a total of 75 lakh farm families to be included in the Kalia scheme, 50 lakhs will be small and marginal farmers and sharecroppers while the remaining 25 lakhs will be landless agricultural households.
- It would benefit about 92% of the farmers in the State.
- Assistance for Cultivation: Financial aid of Rs. 25,000 per farm family over five seasons to small and marginal farmers.
- Assistance for Livelihood: Financial assistance of Rs 12,500 to each landless agricultural household for agricultural allied activities such as goat rearing, small layer poultry units, duckery units etc.
- Assistance for Vulnerable Agricultural Household: Financial assistance of Rs 10,000 per family per year to the vulnerable cultivators/landless agricultural labourers and to the vulnerable cultivator/landless Agricultural Laborers who are in old age, having disability/ disease and are vulnerable for any other reason.
- Life Insurance for Cultivators & Landless Agricultural Laborers: Life insurance cover of Rs. 2.00 lakh to all savings bank account holder of age between 18-50 years.
- Interest Free Crop Loan: Vulnerable landless laborers, cultivators, share croppers and agricultural families identified by Gram Panchayats will be provided with cop loans up to Rs 50,000 made available at 0% interest.
- Small and Marginal Farmers
- Landless agricultural households
- Vulnerable agricultural household covering vulnerable cultivators/landless agricultural labourers
Who is a small and marginal farmer?
- A small farmer is a cultivator who owns 2.5 acres to 5 acres of arable land. A marginal farmer is one who owns less than 2,5 acres of arable land.
What is a Farm Family?
- A farm family constitutes a farmer and his/her spouse along with their dependent children.
- Any farmer wanting to get information on KALIA scheme can register for ‘Kalia Barta’
- Odisha offers free healthcare to elderly under the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana.
KALIA scheme Vs. loan waiver:
- Unlike a loan waiver, (through which) banks appease a few farmers, KALIA’s main targets are rural activities as a whole.
- It will support farming on a small scale, sharecropping, fishing, animal herding, which are not covered under bank loans, but are caught in debt traps set up by local moneylenders.
- A farm loan waiver will reduce credit available to farmers in the long term, while income support can be used to make a repayment or at least activate a bank account which can then receive a loan.”
Issues related to Health & Education
Vice-President inaugurates renovated building at Visva-Bharati University
Vice-President visited the campus of the Visva-Bharati University here to inaugurate the renovated ‘Shyamali’ building – a mud house often used by Rabindranath Tagore as his summer retreat.
About Visva-Bharati University
- It was founded by the Rabindranath Tagore in 1921.
- In May 1951, Visva-Bharati was declared to be a Central University and “An Institution of National Importance” by an Act of Parliament.
- The President of India is the Paridarsaka (Visitor) of the University, the Governor of West Bengal is the Pradhana (Rector), and the Prime Minister of India acts as the Acharya (Chancellor).
- The President of India appoints the Upacharya (Vice-chancellor) of the University.
Key facts on Rabindranath Tagore
- He was a Bengali poet and a Brahmo Samaj philosopher.
- He is the first non-European to win a Nobel Prize for Literature and was Asia’s first Nobel laureate. He was awarded the prize after the publication of his acclaimed collection of poems
- He laid the foundation stone of Visva-Bharati University in 1918 and funded it using his Nobel Prize money.
- He is the only person to have composed the national anthems of three countries –India, Bangladesh (Amar Sonar Bangla) and Sri Lanka (based on a Bengali song written by Tagore).
- Tagore conferred the title of Mahatma on Gandhi. However, there were known disagreements between the two on a variety of issues including nationalism, cultural exchange, patriotism, economy, etc.
Famous Literature works
- Short stories – Kabuliwala, Kshudita Pashan, Atottju, Haimanti, Musalmanir Golpo
- Novels – Noukadubi, Gora, Chaturanga, Ghare Baire, Jogajog
- Poems – Balaka, Purobi, Sonar Tori and Gitanjali
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Minister to launch drive against single-use plastic
Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change announced that a massive campaign will be launched to make India free of single-use plastic.
Definition of single use plastics:
- There is no central and comprehensive definition for single-use plastic, crucial for any ban to be successful. Governments currently use various definitions.
- Some states like Telangana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh banned plastic bottles and Tetra packs, single-use straws, plastic/styrofoam tea cups/containers, etc. But many like Bihar banned only polythene bags.
India’s Efforts towards ban on single-use plastics:
- In 2018, India, which was the host for the World Environment Day celebrated annually, attracted the world attention with the theme of ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’, under which it pledged to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022.
- So far, 22 States and Union Territories have announced a ban on single-use plastics such as carry bags, cups, plates, cutlery, straws and thermocol products.
- Waste plastic from packaging of everything from food, cosmetics and groceries to goods delivered by online platforms have not been yet addressed.
- The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 provides that producers, importers and brand owners must adopt a collect-back system for the plastic they introduce into the environment. However, not much has been done to take the process forward.
- Delaying the counter- measure created the unexpected situation of small producers of plastics facing the ban, while more organised entities covered by the ‘Extended Producer Responsibility’ clause continue with business as usual.
- Such enforcement failure is not an argument in favour of relaxing the prohibition on flimsy plastics that are typically used for few minutes, but to recover thousands of tonnes of waste that end up in dumping sites.
- There is little doubt that plastics play a major role in several industries such as in the automotive, pharmaceutical etc. But it is the consumer goods sector that uses large volumes of packaging, posing a higher order challenge.
- Governments must start charging the producers for their waste and collect it diligently which will lead to recovery and recycling. However, the government is unwilling to upgrade their waste management systems, which is necessary to even measure the true scale of packaging waste.
- Local bodies should consult manufacturers or importers to assess the problem.
- Cities and towns need competent municipal systems to provide fair system to both small and large industries.
- Extended producer responsibility (EPR) is a strategy to add all of the environmental costs associated with a product throughout the product life cycle to the market price of that product.
- The government had initially notified the Recycled Plastic Manufacture and Usage Rules in 1999, which was mainly on manufacturing and usage of Plastic carry bags.
- It is specified that the minimum thickness of plastic bags should be of 20 microns.
- The Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011 laid down certain conditions for manufacturing, stocking, sale and use of plastic carry bags and sachets, which
- specified that the minimum thickness of plastic bags should be of 40 microns to facilitate its collection and recycle.
- However, the implementation of these rules was not so effective because the ambit of these rules was limited to notified municipal areas whereas today, the plastic has reached to rural areas also.
- There were no provisions on responsibility of waste generators. The rules did not address the promotion of conversion of waste to useful resources.
- Though, it provided for Extended Producers Responsibility for the establishment of waste management system, pricing of carry bags etc. those were not exercised by the local authorities as it was simply left at the discretion of municipal authorities.
- To implement these rules more effectively, the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 were formulated.
Bilateral & International Relations
India contributes $1 million to UN fund
India has contributed $1 million to the UN Special Purpose Trust Fund for the Resident Coordinator System.
About Special Purpose Trust Fund (SPTF)
- The Special Purpose Trust Fund (SPTF) is a specific fund, housed within the UN Secretariat, established to receive, consolidate, manage and account for all contributions and financial transactions of the Resident Coordinator system.
- It was launched by the UN Sustainable Development Group in February 2019 to support UN Resident Coordinators in coordinating assets at the country level.
- The SPTF web portal, displays in real time all contributions recorded for the fund.
Funding sources of SPTF
- Voluntary contributions from Member States
- The doubling of cost-sharing amounts from UN entities who are members of the United Nations development system
- 1 percent levy applied to contributions for UN development-related activities earmarked to a single agency/programme.
UN Resident Coordinator (RC) system
- The UN Resident Coordinator (RC) system encompasses all organizations of the United Nations system dealing with operational activities for development, regardless of their formal presence in the country.
- The Resident Coordinator (RC) system aims to bring together the different UN agencies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of operational activities at the country level.
- Resident Coordinators, who are funded and managed by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), lead UN country teams and are the designated representatives of the Secretary-General for development operations.
Defence & Security Issues
PM announces creation of Chief of Defence Staff
Prime Minister announced that India will now have a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) who will head the three defence forces.
About the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)
- CDS is the most senior military officer and military adviser to the President, and his remit extends to the National Security Council and the Defence Secretary.
- CDS oversees and coordinates the working of the three Services: Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force.
- A single-point military advisor to the government on long-term defence planning and management, including manpower, equipment and strategy.
- Act as the military advisor to the Prime Minister on nuclear issues.
Which other countries have CDS?
- All major countries, especially the nuclear weapon countries, have a CDS.
- The U.K. from which the Indian armed forces and the Defence Ministry are modelled on has a Permanent Secretary, equivalent to the Defence Secretary, and also a CDS.
What was before the CDS?
- Before CDS, India had an equivalent of CDS known as the Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC), which was recommended by the Naresh Chandra Task Force in 2012.
- It comprises chiefs of the Army, Navy and the Air Force and the senior-most among them acts as its chairman.
Need for CDS
- As the senior most among the three Service Chiefs is appointed as the head of the CoSC, CoSC office lapses with the incumbent’s retirement.
- The CoSC system is a leftover from the colonial era, with only minor changes being carried out over the years.
- In 2015, then Defence Minister described the CoSC arrangement as unsatisfactory and said that it did not further tri-service integration, resulting in inefficiency and an expensive duplication of assets.
- The CDS is seen as being vital to the creation of theatre commands (all the various arms of the military participate in a single format during wars), integrating tri-service assets and personnel like in the US military.
- Unlike the United States and other western militaries, the Indian Services are not an expeditionary force, for which a CDS is a necessity.
- The appointment of a CDS would also lead to theatre commands leading to diminution of individual arm of Indian army’s operational role.
- India’s political establishment is seen as being largely ignorant of security matters and hence incapable of ensuring that a CDS works.
- Militaries by nature tend to resist transformation such as creation of CDS post.
- In 2000, a high-level committee, namely Kargil Review Committee (KRC), set up to examine the gaps in the country’s security system in the wake of the Kargil War in 1999 had called for the appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff as a single-point military adviser to the Defence Minister.
- As a result, the government created the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) in 2002, which serve as the CDS’s Secretariat. However, over the past 17 years, this has remained insignificant department within the military establishment.
- Yet, the proposal of CDS was not accepted due to the fear of concentrating too much military power in the CDS’s post.
- In 2011, the government set up the 14-member Naresh Chandra Committee on defence and security. The Committee suggested that the Chairman CoSC in the rank of a four-star officer would have a fixed tenure of two years. He would have more powers than the Chairman CoSC.
- The CDS is also one of the recommendations made by the Lt General B. Shekatkar (retd) Committee which submitted its report in December 2016 which had 34 recommendations pertaining to the tri-services.
Art & Culture
President Awards the Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman for 2019
The President awarded the Certificate of Honour to the scholars of Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, Pali, Prakrit, Classical Kannada, Classical Telugu, Classical Malayalam and Classical Odiyafor the year 2019.
- It is conferred in recognition of substantial contribution in the field of Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, Pali, Prakrit, Classical Oriya, Classical Kannada, Classical Telugu and Classical Malayalam.
- Introduced in 2002, It is given once a year on the Independence Day.
- It is given to selected young scholars in the age group of 30 to 45 years.
- He is regarded as having written the basic text of the Vedanta system, the Vedāntasūtrak.a. Brahmasūtra. He is thus considered the founder of the Vedānta system of philosophy.
- Brahma Sutras is also known by Vedanta Sutra, Uttara-mimamsa Sutra, Shariraka Sutra and the Bhikshu Sutra.
- The Brahma sutras consists of 555 aphoristic verses (sutras) in four chapters.
- These verses are primarily about the nature of human existence and universe, and ideas about the metaphysical concept of Ultimate Reality called Brahman.
- It was written by Indian Philosopher Badarayana or Krishna Dvaipayana or Sri Vyasa. He was the guru of the Jaimini who wrote the Purva Mimamsa of Vendata.
- The Brahma Sutras is a Sanskrit text believed to date from around 450 to 200 B.C.E.
- It summarizes the philosophical and spiritual concepts discussed in the
- It is said to be one of the three most influential texts of Vedanta, alongside the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita.
It has 4 chapters,
- Samanvaya (harmony): Explains all the Vedantic texts talk of Brahman, the ultimate reality, which is the goal of life. It discusses the metaphysics of Absolute Reality
- Avirodha (non-conflict): Discusses and refutes the possible objections against Vedanta philosophy. It reviews and addresses the objections raised by the ideas of competing orthodox schools of Hindu philosophies as well as heterodox schools such as Buddhism and Jainism.
- The Sadhana (the means): Describes the process by which ultimate emancipation can be achieved. It discusses epistemology and path to gaining spiritually liberating knowledge.
- Phala (the fruit) Discuss talks of the state that is achieved in final emancipation. It states why such a knowledge is an important human need.
- Vedas consist of three portions viz., the Karma Kanda (sacrifices or ceremonial rites), the Upasana Kanda (treats of worship) and Jnana Kanda (deals with knowledge of Brahman).
- Upanishads is said to be the Siras (head) of Vedas.
Parsi New Year 2019
The Parsi New Year, also known as Navroz, is celebrated to mark the beginning of the new Iranian calendar.
All about Parsi New Year:
- In Persian, ‘Nav’ means new, and ‘Roz’ stands for the day, which translates to ‘new day’.
- This tradition is believed to have begun over 3,000 years ago.
- It is observed by Iranians and the Parsi community around the world and most prominently in Maharashtra and Gujarat in India due to the sizeable Parsi population.
- Navroz celebrations begin on New Year’s eve, also known as Pateti.
- The celebrations of Parsi New Year are similar to the Nowruz spring festival which is the celebration of the first day of the spring.
Why do Indians celebrate Navroz in August?
- In Iran and other parts, Zoroastrians celebrate the Persian New Year using the Fasli/Bastnai calendar according to which this day falls on the moment of Vernal Equinox, mostly on March 21st every year.
- However, in the Indian subcontinent, the Shahenshahi Calendar is followed which does not take leap years into account, which is why Navroz is celebrated on August 17.
- Navroz is also known as Jamshed-i-Navroz after the Persian King, Jamshed, who is credited to have created the Persian Calendar known as the Shahenshahi Calendar.
- Parsis are also known as Zoroastrians as they follow Zoroastrianism, one of the oldest known monotheistic religions founded by the Prophet Zarathustra or Zoroaster (Greek) in Pre-Islam era of ancient Iran in 650 BC.
- After the invasion of Islamic armies in the 7th Century, Zoroastrians fled Persia and mainly dwelled in India.
- India is home to the largest group of Parsis from around the world.
Aadi Mahotsav” Begins at Leh-Ladakh
Aadi Mahotsav (National Tribal Festival) begins at Leh-Ladakh.
About Aadi Mahotsav
- Aadi Mahotsav is a National Tribal Festival organized by Ministry of Tribal Affairs in association with Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED) and Ministry of Culture.
- TRIFED act as the Service provider & Market Developer.
- The theme of the festival is: “A celebration of the spirit of Tribal Craft, Culture and Commerce”.
- The event will have two reputed local cultural troupes presenting Ladakhi folk dances. The troupes will perform Jabro Dance – a nomadic dance and song of people inhabiting eastern Ladakh and Spawo dance, a heroic song and dance associated with a legendary hero of Himalayan region called K’sar.
- Government also plans for the other dance performances like Flower Dance, Abex Dance/song, Ghazal Dance, Aleyyatoo.
- It is first of its kind event in Leh-Ladakh that will see several Tribal artisans with their products such as Tribal Paintings like Gond art from Madhya Pradesh, Warli art from Maharashtra; Metal craft from Chhattisgarh; Black pottery from Manipur
- To scale up the livelihood and income generating opportunity for tribals by giving them the opportunity to interact and sell their goods directly to the customers.
- To identify Food and Forest Produces, which can be marketed under the Van Dhan Scheme of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs
- To identify Artisans and master craftsmen and women of Ladakh for empanelling them as suppliers of TRIBES India.
Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED):
- The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) came into existence in 1987.
- It is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) functioning under the administrative control of Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India.
- TRIFED opened its first showroom by the name of ‘Tribes India’during April 1999.
- TRIFED also organises National Tribal Craft Expo called “AADISHILP”, painting exhibition called “Aadi Chitra”, “OCTAVE” for North Eastern Artisans and Tribal Artisan Melasto facilitate the sale of their products.
Objective of TRIFED:
- The TRIFED is aimed in marketing development of tribal products and provides marketing support to the products made by tribals through a network of retail outlets.
- The total tribes of India constitute over 8% of the country’s population (nearly 10 crore).
- More than 70% population of Ladakh region are tribes.
Key Facts for Prelims
GI tags for 4 new products from 3 states
The government allotted Geographical Indication (GI) tags to four new products from the states of Tamil Nadu, Mizoram and Kerala.
GI Tag for 4 new products
Palani Panchamirtham in Palani Town of Tamil Nadu
- It is an ‘abhishega prasadam’ (food that is a religious offering), which is served in a semi-solid state having banana, jaggery, cow ghee, honey and cardamom.
- It is one of the main offerings for Lord Dhandayuthapani Swamy, the presiding deity of Arulmigu Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple, situated on Palani Hills.
- Not a single drop of water is added during the preparation of the panchamirtham, which gives it its classic semi-solid consistency.
- It is prepared under the guidance given by the CFTRI (Central Food Technological Research Institute) Mysore, a government of India undertaking.
- The geographical area for production of panchamirtham is Palani town in Dindigul district, Tamil Nadu.
Tawlhlohpuan from Mizoram
- Tawlhlohpuan is a compactly woven high quality fabric.
- It is known for warp yarns, warping, weaving & intricate designs that are made by hand.
- Tawlhloh, in Mizo language, means ‘to stand firm or not to move backward’.
- Tawlhlohpuan is produced throughout the state of Mizoram, Aizawl and Thenzawl town being the main centre of production.
Mizo Puanchei from Mizoram
- It is a shawl which is considered the most colourful textile in the northeastern state.
- It is an essential possession for every Mizo lady and an important marriage outfit in the state.
- It is also the most commonly used costume in Mizo festive dances and official ceremonies.
Tirur Betel leaf from Kerala
- Tirur betel vine, cultivated in Malappuram district of Kerala, is valued for its mild stimulant action and medicinal properties.
- Even though it is commonly used for making pan masala for chewing, it has many medicinal, industrial and cultural usages and is considered as a remedy for bad breath and digestive disorders.
What is a Geographical Indication?
- A ‘geographical indication’ (GI) is a place name used to identify the origin and quality, reputation or other characteristics of products.
- There are currently more than 340 GI in India.
- The registration of a geographical indication is valid for a period of 10 years which can be renewed from time to time.
- The Appellate Board or the Registrar of Geographical Indications has the power to remove the geographical indication or an authorised user from the register.
GI registration confers
- Legal protection to the products.
- Prevents unauthorised use of a GI by others.
- Helps consumers get quality products of desired traits.
- Promotes economic prosperity of producers of goods by enhancing demand in national and international markets.
What Indications cannot be given the status of GI tag?
- The use of which would be likely to deceive or cause confusion; or
- The use of which would be contrary to any law for the time being in force; or
- Which comprises or contains scandalous or obscene matter; or
- Which comprises or contains any matter likely to hurt the time being in force; religious susceptibilities of any class or section of the citizens of India; or
- Which would otherwise be dismantled to protection in a court; or
- Which are determined to be generic names or indications of goods and are, therefore, not or ceased to be protected in their country of origin or which have fallen into disuse in that country; or
- Which although literally true as to the territory region or locality in which the goods originate, but falsely represent to the persons that the goods originate in another territory, region or locality.
Why is it important?
- Article 22 of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement says unless a geographical indication is protected in the country of its origin, there is no obligation under the agreement for other countries to extend reciprocal protection.
- Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.
- Products sold with the GI tag get premium pricing also.
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.
GIs and international conventions
GI registration is essential to get protection in other countries.
- Under Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, geographical indications are covered as an element of Intellectual property rights (IPR).
- 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 concluded at the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations.
- India, as member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 that came into force from September 15, 2003.
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.
Registrar of Geographical Indications:
- The Controller-General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks appointed under sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999, shall be the Registrar of Geographical Indications.
- The Central Government may appoint such officers with such designations as it thinks fit for the purpose of discharging, under the superintendence and direction of the Registrar, such functions of the Registrar under this Act, as he may from time to time authorise them to discharge.
- In 1999, the Parliament had passed the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act,1999.
- This Act seeks to provide for the registration and better protection of geographical indications relating to goods in India.
[Ref: Economic Times, PIB]