Recently we have seen an unprecedented agitation over the new proposed Electricity (Amendment) bill, from the opposition and trade union which was proposed by the Government in the parliament. The bill was introduced by the Union power ministry. After such uproar bill has been referred to the Energy Standing committee for further consultation and scrutiny. We have seen in the past as well bills of such public importance have been referred to the parliament committees. It is worth mentioning here that under the Purview of Article 118(1) of the Indian Constitution Act, 1950 the provisions related to Parliamentary Standing Committees have been provided. This provision has been adopted from the British Parliament functioning, further the said articles talk about two types of Committees I.e.
Standing Committee & Ad Hoc Committee. These committees have great importance in matters related to policy-making, unanimity, and critique.
The main agitation from the opposition was that Union Government is breaching its promise given to SKM that this bill will not be introduced as it is claimed that if this bill gets passed it will end subsidies given to Farmers. The opposition further claimed that said bill is unconstitutional as it defeats the provision of federalism enshrined in the constitution.
Electricity is governed under the concurrent list of the 7 th Schedule of the constitution and for matters given under the concurrent list, every State government should be consulted before introducing any new policy. Currently, we have The Electricity Act 2003 which governs the generation, transmission, distribution, trading, and use of electricity in India. It should be highlighted here that the generation of electricity (except hydro) is an activity that doesn’t require a license, further the distribution, trading & transmission of electricity are licensed activities under the act. Currently, Central Electricity Authority is the regulatory body under the act, the said body advises the Government of India regarding the policies & safety
requirements for smooth functioning. The Act was first amended in the year of 2007 and introduced the concept of cross-subsidy with the aim of providing electricity to the poor section of society. Further 2014 bill couldn’t be passed in the parliament.
India is the third largest producer of electricity in the world and for the same reason, any change in policy making has an enormous impact not only on traders but on consumers as well.
The major highlights of the 2022 amendment are, that it aims to increase the competition in the market, by allowing more than one power distributor in an area to distribute the power and giving the discretion to the consumers to avail of the power supply from the distributor of their choice, additionally, it allows the power distributor to use the infrastructure of other suppliers as well. We have seen this approach in the telecom sector as well, where consumers have choices to avail themselves of the services from different service providers.
The second provision of the amendment deals with Rationalize power rates under which regulators would have to fix a minimum tariff ceiling and it would protect the interests of consumers. The bill provides a stipulated time of a maximum of 90 days for the grant of a power distribution license and it would ultimately end the red tapism.
The last major proposed amendment is aimed to improve compliance by providing regulators power to execute the orders as a decree of a Civil court. The bill further aimed to improve the functioning of the regulators, increase efficiency, and more accountability.
With these proposed amendments the private companies would be empowered for the distribution of power. It is claimed by the opposition that only Government distribution companies will have the universal power supply obligations the private companies may prefer to supply the electricity in only profit-making areas i.e. industrial and commercial consumers. it is further claimed by the opposition that power supply workers under the Government may lose their jobs in case of monetary losses to the Government Distribution companies.
It can be concluded that with such amendments a much more competitive market would prevail and the consumers would get the maximum benefit at the same time the onus is on the government to ensure the accountability of the private sectors in power distribution. A robust compliance mechanism is required in case of any dispute between the private distributors and consumers. Additionally, Government should also consider the fact that after the privatization of electricity in the United Kingdom the consumers have to pay more price for the electricity and it may happen in India as well. In a democratic country like India, it is essential that every policy-making and reform should take place after a healthy parliamentary debate on the floor of the house, It is worth mentioning here that each minute of parliament in sessions costs approx. 2.5 Lakh and this taxpayer money should not be wasted just for the sake of criticism with no logic and acumen behind that criticism.
The major highlights of the 2022 amendment are that it aims to increase the competition in the market by allowing more than one power distributor in an area to distribute power and giving the discretion to the consumers to avail of the power supply from the distributor of their choice. Additionally, it allows the power distributor to use the infrastructure of other suppliers as well. We have seen this approach in the telecom sector as well, where consumers have choices to avail of the services from different service providers.
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Intellectual Property Protection to Certain Brands : An Analysis
The use of trademarks has been used more frequently on non-competing goods in recent years. Domino’s Pizza v. domino, Finland Vodka v. Finland Cheese, Dove beauty bar v. Dove chocolate. Instead of being deemed a trademark violation, it is treated as usual & expected activity. The legislation allows enterprises to use the same name if they sell in different markets and have unique ” products. ” In his article, the author tries to exemplify the enterprises that can use a similar brand name to sell different products generally referred to as “brand twins”. As decided by the recent order, there are certain exceptional brands that have been given special privileges in light of IP Protection which otherwise will be treated as infringement of trademark and the same has been discussed in this article. Keywords: Trademark Infringement, IP Law, Brand, Amul, Dominos
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion’s Office of CGPDTM in India investigates the filing of various intellectual property rights. In the year 2021, around 256 thousand industrial trademarks were registered in India. With the globalization and development of technology around the globe, IP-intensive companies and industries are emerging each day and understanding the importance of IP protection.
Think of the purple-colored Cadbury chocolate – that particular shade of purple is trademarked. Think of the golden arches design associated with McDonald’s packaging; that specific symbol is trademarked. Both the distinctive purple color and the familiar McD logo instantly create brand and product glory in consumers’ minds.
In general, a trademark is the legal recognition of the brand, which distinguishes your identity and makes it unique. It is a word, phrase, logo, or configuration that recognizes and distinguishes the sources of goods of one enterprise from another. India is a signatory to 2 major international treaties: (i) Paris Convention for Protection of Industry Property, 1883 and (ii) TRIPS Agreement (Trade-related aspects of IP Rights), 1994. With globalization, trademarks have attained immense value and require uniform standard protection as recognized in TRIPS. This led to the annulment of the old Indian Trade & Merchandise Marks Act, 1958, and the enactment of the new Trade Marks Act, 1999. This Act provides for trademark registration, protection, and penalties for infringement.
CAN COMPETITIVE BUSINESSES CHOOSE SIMILAR BRAND
Think of Pominick as a company that sells dark chocolates, and then imagine Pominick as a company that sells pizza. As a consumer, how would you distinguish Domino’s pizza selling brand from Pominick’s? Can Pominick sell pizza with a similar brand name as Dominoes?
This question has two facets:
1- NON-COMPETING BUSINESS
The use of overlapping trademarks is not considered infringing if the products or services of the companies are not competing and are not distributed in the same markets. There are many brands in the market that use the same brand name for different types of business or product categories, which are called “brand twins. & quot; Is Dove Beauty Bar and Dove Chocolate owned by the same company? No, although two different businesses possess the same registered name, it has different product. Unilever, based in the United Kingdom, owns soap, and Mars, based in the United States, owns Dove chocolate.
There are many detriments of using the same brand name as it tarnishes individuality and affects brand recognition. But it is not possible to own a “word”. Even companies like Unilever or Apple didn’t make their investment by trademarking their brand name in all categories of products. So, to maintain genuineness and uniqueness, one must do the proper research in the niche product area before finalizing its brand name.
2- COMPETING BUSINESS
Generally, businesses that are competitive in nature are restrained from opting for trademarks that are similar to any businesses that are already in existence. One of the primary purposes of trademarks is to dissuade consumer confusion. The ice cream parlor with mouthwatering flavors might lose business to an identically named parlor that sells lousy ice- cream.
In the case of Dominos IP holder LLC & Anr v. Ms Dominick Pizza & Anr, 1 the Court ordered to give Domino’s protection of its mark “Dominos Pizza” and restrained Dominick Pizza from selling, advertising, or marketing under the marks “Cheese Burst” and “Pasta Italiano.” The Court further suspended the domain names of “Dominick Pizza”. Using an identical name with similar flavors is deceptive and creates disarray in consumers’ minds.
If a business uses a trademark that is identical or confusingly similar to that of a competitor, and there is a chance that customers may mistake the source of the goods or services, then that business has committed trademark infringement.
EXTENDED PROTECTION TO THESE BUSINESSES: EXCEPTION
TO NON-COMPETING BUSINESS
Some businesses in the market have a powerful history and emotion attached to them, and these businesses should be shielded more comprehensively to protect their cordiality and maintain their authenticity. The same has been done in a recent matter of “Amul”. AMUL – The Taste of India
In a recent case of Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Ltd. vs Maa Tara Trading Co. 2 The Calcutta High Court said that the “Amul” brand symbolizes an Indian brand that has become a household name and they should be given extensive protection against unauthorized use even with respect to non-competing goods and services as it represents the progress towards wealth in India’s rural areas. Therefore, the court restrained Maa Tara, a local candle distributing company from using the trademark “Amul Candles” as it violates the statutory rights as well as the common rights of Amul which has resulted in the loss of revenue.
1 Dominick severely tarnishing Business & Trademark, available at: https://www.livelaw.in/news-updates/delhi- high-court-dominos-trademark-infringement-dominick-izza-reputation-208033 (Visited on September 4, 2022)
2 Trademark ‘Amul’ deserves broad protection against non-competing goods, available at: https://www.barandbench.com/amp/story/news/litigation/trademark-amul-deserves-broad-protection-against- non-competing-goods-services-calcutta-high-court (Visited on September 5, 2022)
Despite numerous court cases, many companies still make crores from the “Amul” trademark tarnishing the brand image and being deceptive to the general populace. Amul Macho, for instance, has sold innerwear for years without being ordered for injunction by the Court. The rights of these brands, which contribute significantly to the Indian economy and the revolution, must be fiercely protected.
The use of technology dictates almost everything from techniques and methodologies to IP conflicts. Refinement in Technology will lead to an increase in crimes and trademark infringement, making it simpler for inferior businesses to defame products from renowned enterprises. It is a well-known legal norm that a business can acquire exclusive rights to use a specific phrase within certain bounds. The word must have been used to the point where it has become distinctive and has lost its original meaning. There are certain brands that need special protection because of the heritage and unique identity they harbor and these brands can be safeguarded by passing special laws that specify the requirements to qualify as “exceptions to non-competing business”.
An attempt to unite Imams and Pandits
RSS’ meetings with Muslim intellectuals are being held since the time of the fifth chief of the RSS, K S Sudarshan
Everybody was in the dark about RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s outreach meeting with prominent Muslim intellectuals in Delhi’s Jhandewalan area last month until it became known recently. Prominent among those who attended that meeting were former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi, former lieutenant governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung, former vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University and former army officer Zameer Uddin Shah, former parliamentarian and journalist Shahid Siddiqui and businessman Saeed Shervani.
Interestingly, the day the news of that meeting became public through the media after one month, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat visited a mosque off Kasturba Gandhi Marg near India Gate. He had gone there at the invitation of Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, the head of the All India Imam Organisation and the two talked in private for about 40 minutes.
Subsequently, the RSS chief visited Tajweedul Quran Madarsa and interacted with the children there. According to some reports, Imam Ilyasi described the RSS chief as the ‘Rashtrapita’ or the father of the nation and ‘Rashtrarishi’ i.e. the sage of the nation in presence of the children. However, later he said that people have not understood his point properly. In reply, Bhagwatji said with humility that we are all children of the nation. Mohan Bhagwatji is indeed a person with liberal views. His thinking is progressive. He has also brought about several changes within the RSS organisation.
Naturally, politics was bound to heat up. Different views started being expressed. Somebody said why the RSS is missing the Muslims. A section of Muslims also got angry with Imam Ilyasi. Surely, Mohan Bhagwatji is the first RSS chief to enter a mosque or pay a visit to a madarsa and talk to the children, but the RSS has been interacting with Muslims for a long time. This process started at the time of the fifth chief of the RSS, K S Sudarshan.
In 2004, a meeting was also held at the India International Centre in Delhi. RSS has been in constant dialogue with Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind. In 2019, Maulana Arshad Madani and Rashtriya Mohan Bhagwat also met each other. Not only this, the RSS had given shape to an organisation named Muslim Rashtriya Manch around two decades back and it is mentored by Indresh Kumar. He also played a stellar role in arranging meetings with Muslim intellectuals last month and now doing so while visiting mosques and madarsas.
I am personally a firm believer in democratic traditions and I feel that if any initiative is being taken to establish brotherhood in totality between two communities, then it must be welcomed. We are all well aware of the current situation in the country. There should be no hesitation in saying there are people on both sides for whom extremism is a weapon. As a result, the mistrust between the two is getting deeper and this divide can be bridged only by understanding each other. Communication is very important in this process. Unless we meet each other and try to open the knots that have developed in minds, the problem cannot be resolved! I would like to mention here that the common perception about former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was that she would give preference to Muslims but it was not so. She also had cordial relations with the then RSS chief Deorasji and also with Bal Thackerayji.
Who can deny that this country belongs to Muslims as much as it belongs to Hindus, as much to Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, or Parsis, or those who believe in other ideologies and faiths? We all have to live together. There can be differences of opinion but there should be no disharmony in a relationship. But today unity and harmony are replaced by distrust and discord. It is obvious that these conditions are not only bothering the common man, but also worrying the intellectually enlightened leaders. This meeting should be seen as borne out of that concern. By accepting the invitation of Imam Ilyasi and reaching the mosque, Bhagwatji has given out a message of cordiality.
According to the information that has emerged, the RSS chief asked Muslim intellectuals what is their opinion about cow slaughter and the word kafir? The intellectuals clearly said that no sensible Muslim ever uses the word kafir for any Hindu. When the issue of cow slaughter was discussed, intellectuals reminded the RSS chief that the founder of Aligarh Muslim University, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, had banned beef on the university campus. The intellectuals also said that there is no such issue that cannot be discussed!
It is to be hoped that the reconciliation process that Bhagwatji has initiated will help us to reach a peaceful conclusion. The world is in turmoil, why should we get affected by it? But for that, curbing violent thoughts is essential. In the words of Bhagwatji, why search for Shivling in every mosque? And Muslim organisations also have to think about why they should harbour in their community those misguided people who come out on the streets to protest against the action taken against terrorists. They are fringe elements and hence they can be marginalised. Not every Muslim should be treated as Pakistani! Keep in mind that it takes two hands to clap. One hand can only act as a slap. I fully agree with Imam Umer Ilyasi’s saying that if the Imam and the Pandit unite, the country will become strong.
The author is the chairman, Editorial Board of Lokmat Media and former member of Rajya Sabha.
Centre increases DA for govt workers by 4%
The Centre on Wednesday increased the dearness allowance for retirees and government workers by four percent. Anurag Thakur , an union minister, revealed that as a result, the dearness allowance is now up to 38 percent.
The revised dearness allowance will be given to government employees and pensioners in arrears starting on July 1. The Centre typically announces the DA hikes in March and September before implementing them on January 1 and July 1. Dearness allowance is essentially the portion of central government employees’ monthly salaries that is paid to offset the rise in living expenses brought on by compensation.
The dearness allowance had been raised to 34 percent by the Center in March of this year. The new DA went into effect on January 1 of this year. The Odisha government announced a 3 percent increase in daily allowance (DA) for its employees and pensioners on September 19.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik approved the proposal for increasing DA from 31 per cent to 34 per cent, effective from January 1, 2022. Four lakh employees and 3.5 lakh pensioners will be benefitted, according to an official release.
On PFI ban, Lalu Yadav says ‘RSS should be banned as well’
The national president of the Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) and a former chief minister of Bihar, Lalu Prasad Yadav, responded to the central government’s move to outlaw the Popular Front of India (PFI) by saying that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) should also be banned.
“PFI is being investigated. All organisations like PFI, including RSS, should be banned and an investigation should be done,” said Prasad after filing his nomination papers for the post of national president.
Prasad claimed that Muslim organisations were being targeted by the government.
First of all, ban the RSS. It is a worse organisation than that. If you get anything, then take action,” he said.
He attacked the Modi government, saying the situation in the country has become worse due to unemployment and inflation.
“Efforts are being made to spread bigotry. Such a government has to be overthrown,” he said.
The JD (U), a partner of the RJD alliance, also questioned the PFI ban.
Party leader Ghulam Rasool Balyawi said, “Today in the country, only one party is giving the certificate of loyalty and branding people as traitors.”
“Does anybody know the source of funding for RSS?” he asked.
Media and Entertainment sector should grow to more than 100 billion dollars by year 2030: Apurva Chandra
The Union Secretary for Information and Broadcasting Apurva Chandra has exhorted the media and entertainment industry to set a target of growing the industry to more than 100 billion dollars by the year 2030. “India will be a 10 trillion dollar economy in the next 10 years, we should target that the media and entertainment sector should grow to more than 100 billion dollars by 2030. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will do whatever it takes to support the M&E sector and help it grow.” The Secretary was addressing the inaugural session of FICCI Frames Fast Track 2022 in Mumbai today, September 27, 2022.
The Secretary announced that Invest India is going to be leveraged in order to bring in higher foreign investment into India in the film sector. “The Ministry has merged various film units under one; NFDC based in Mumbai is going to be the hub of the cinematic arm of the government. With this, we want to revamp the Film Facilitation Office. We are going to hand this over to Invest India, the main investment arm created by the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to attract industry to India. More than 100 billion dollars of FDI is coming to India this year. We want to leverage Invest India to bring in foreign investment, we will reach out to foreign filmmakers to come to India.”
The Secretary informed that the government will work with states to facilitate and promote film shooting in India. “Recently at Cannes Film Fesival, we announced Incentive Scheme for Audio-Visual Co-production and Incentive Scheme for Shooting of Foreign Films in India. With incentives given by states too, it becomes a viable and attractive package for filmmakers.”
The Secretary announced that the Government of India will work with the states and formulate a Model Theatre Policy. “Over the past 5-6 years, the number of theatres has been on a decline. We need to reverse this trend. We will assign the Film Facilitation Office to work with Invest India to come up with a single-window portal for opening theatres, so that more and more theatres can come up and the public gets more avenues to watch the magic of films in theatres. We will also work with the states to create a Model Theatre Policy, so that the states can adopt and work on the same.”
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Conference on eco-alternatives to banned single use plastics and air quality management
A Conference of startups and innovators working on eco-alternatives to banned single use plastics and air quality management was inaugurated on 27th September 2022 at Chennai Trade Centre, Chennai, by Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Consumer Affairs, Government of India in the august presence of Siva V Meyyanathan, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Youth Welfare and Sports Development, Government of Tamil Nadu. The Startup Conference has been jointly organized by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, and Government of Tamil Nadu.
Startups and innovators have been involved in developing solutions for many pressing environmental challenges including in the development of eco-alternatives to banned single use plastics and air quality management.
Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Consumer Affairs highlighted that availability of alternatives to banned single use plastic items is extremely important. The Startups and innovators have taken up this challenge and developed eco-alternatives. One Startup has made packaging material from rice stubble. The innovation not only addressed plastic pollution but will also help in reducing the pollution caused by burning of rice stubble. Another startup has developed flexible packaging material from sea weeds. He highlighted that the startups and innovators are not only providing solutions to environmental problems but also assisting in economic development of the country. The Government of India is giving focus on supporting innovators and startups through various schemes of the Government such as Startup India Mission.
Many startups and innovators from across the country working in the area alternatives to banned single use plastic items and air quality management are participating in the Startup Conference. Representatives from concerned central Ministries involved in supporting innovation, startups, and MSMEs and banks who are key in mobilizing finances for startups and manufacturers are participating in the Expo. Representatives from State Governments, State Pollution Control Boards are participating in the Startup Conference.
The Conference of Startups will provide a platform for engagement and exchange views amongst innovators and institutions, Government Departments supporting startup ecosystems in the country and banks, on steps taken for scaling up innovations and supporting startups.
The Conference will have experience sharing sessions of startups working in the field of alternatives to banned single use plastics and startups working in the area of air quality management.
A separate session on role of financial institutions in scaling up startups has also been organized representatives of Startup India Mission, banks and Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium enterprises has also been organized.
The Minister mentioned that the strategy adopted by the Government to tackle unmanaged and littered plastic waste has two pillars to ban single use plastic items which have high littering potential and low utility, and implementation of extended producer responsibility on plastic packaging. Promotion of innovation and startups for elimination of single use plastics will help us address the problem of littered and unmanaged plastic waste in the country.
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