PIB – 28th Oct 2020

India hosts meeting of SCO Ministers handling economy and foreign trade

  • India hosted the 19th Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Ministers responsible for Foreign Economy and Foreign Trade Activities. 
  • The virtual meeting was attended by the Secretary General of SCO and Ministers from,  Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan,  Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
  • In the meeting four documents were adopted.  These were:-
  1. Statement on the response to Covid-19.  It reinforces the need for greater cooperation for access to medicines and facilitation of trade.
  2. Statement on the Multilateral Trading System of Ministers of SCO Countries who are WTO Members.  This statement highlights the importance of the rules based multilateral negotiations.
  3. Statement on SCO Cooperation on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).  It relates to cooperation of intellectual property and includes sharing information/experience on legislation and enforcement, cooperation in international organisations and other areas.
  4. Action Plan for Implementation of MOU to stimulate cooperation within the framework of SCO in the field of MSMEs.  It looks at a number of areas of cooperation among MSMEs, including exchange of information, organisation of events and collaboration on research and capacity building.

Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2020- streamlining of the requirements related to filing of Form 27 and submission of verified English translation of priority documents

  • Consequent to Delhi High Court’s Order dated 23-04-2018 in writ petition in the matter of Shamnad Basheer Vs UOI and others, stakeholder consultation was undertaken in order to streamline the requirements related to submission of statement regarding the working of a patented invention on a commercial scale in India (Form 27).
  • The Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2020, which came into effect on 19 October 2020, have further streamlined the requirements related to filing of Form 27 and submission of verified English translation of priority documents, which is not in English language.
  • Important changes with reference to Form-27 and Rule 131(2) are as follows:
  • Patentee would get flexibility to file a single Form-27 in respect of a single or multiple related patents
  • Where a patent is granted to two or more persons, such persons may file a joint Form-27
  • The patentee would be required to provide ‘approximate revenue / value accrued’
  • Authorized agents would be able to submit Form-27 on behalf of patentees
  • For filing Form-27, patentees would get six months, instead of current three months, from expiry of financial year
  • Patentee will not be required to file Form-27 in respect of a part or fraction of the financial year
  • While on one hand the requirements in Form-27 regarding submission of information by patentees have been eased, it may be noted that Section 146(1) of the Patents Act, 1970 empowers the Controller to seek information from the patentee, as may be deemed appropriate.
  • Important changes with reference to Rule 21 are as follows:
  • If the priority document is available in WIPO’s digital library, the applicant would not be required to submit the same in the Indian Patent Office
  • Applicants would be required to submit verified English translation of a priority document, where the validity of the priority claim is relevant to the determination of whether the invention concerned is patentable or not.
  • These changes will streamline the requirements related to submission of statements regarding the working of a patented invention on a commercial scale in India (Form 27) and the submission of verified English translation of priority documents.

NITI Aayog, QCI Launch National Program and Project Management Policy Framework Initiative to Transform Infrastructure Sector in India

  • India will require an investment of around $4.5 trillion by 2040 to develop the infrastructure for sustaining its economic growth. However, the challenges in infrastructure development that often obstruct the smooth execution of projects can be a detriment. 
  • Therefore, along with numerous initiatives by the Government and guidelines advocated by NITI Aayog towards improving performance of infrastructure projects, a task force was also constituted to lay down a national program and project management policy framework.
  • This framework aims to formulate radical reforms in the way large and mega infrastructure projects are managed in India, with an action plan to: 
  1. Adopt a program and project management approach to infra development
  2. Institutionalize and promote the profession of program and project management and build a workforce of such professionals,
  3. Enhance institutional capacity and capability of professionals

NITI Aayog, Rockefeller Foundation & Smart Power India Launch Electricity Access & Utility Benchmarking Report

  • NITI Aayog, Ministry of Power, Rockefeller Foundation, and Smart Power India launched the ‘Electricity Access in India and Benchmarking Distribution Utilities’ report.
  • The report underlines some best practices adopted by the better-performing electricity distribution utilities in India and provides key recommendations to enhance sustainable electricity access. The data from the survey provides evidence that the infrastructure of providing electricity across sectors has improved over time. It also shows that reforms undertaken by the Government have been appreciated by the stakeholders.
  • Based on a primary survey conducted across 10 states––representing about 65% of the total rural population of India and with a sample size of more than 25,000, including households, commercial enterprises and institutions––the report assesses 25 distribution utilities.
  • Aimed at capturing insights from both the demand (electricity customers) as well as supply side (electricity distribution utilities), the report seeks to:
  • Evaluate the status of electricity access in India across these states and distribution utilities along all dimensions that constitute meaningful access
  • Benchmark utilities’ capacity to provide electricity access and identify the drivers of sustainable access
  • Develop recommendations for enhancing sustainable electricity access.
  • Key findings of the report:
  • As much as 92% of customers reported the overall availability of electricity infrastructure within 50 metres of their premises; however, not all have connections, the primary reason being the distance of households from the nearest pole.
  • Overall, 87% of the surveyed customers have access to grid-based electricity. The remaining 13% either use non-grid sources or don’t use any electricity at all.
  • The hours of supply have improved significantly across the customer categories to nearly 17 hours per day.
  • Nearly 85% of customers reported to have a metered electricity connection.
  • Access to electricity is observed in 83% of household customers.
  • A satisfaction index was created to assess the overall satisfaction level of customers with utility services. The study suggested that a total of 66% of those surveyed were satisfied––74% of customers in urban areas and 60% in rural areas. 
  • NITI Aayog Vice Chairman said, ‘The report highlights the benefits of government-led schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, which have been well received in rural as well as urban areas.’ 
  • He advised Rockefeller foundation to focus on solving issues highlighted in the report in close partnership with the Ministry of Power, and highlighted three key areas: learnings from DBT schemes in Punjab; tariff simplification and rationalization; and best practices from high-performing Indian discoms.
  • He emphasized that the key recommendations provided in the report in the areas of policy and regulation, process improvement, infrastructure and capacity-building of utilities would be gainfully utilized for improving the power distribution sector.