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Beating the Dragon by innovation: Tiger needs a strong IPR regime

India consistently tops in innovation drivers such as ICT service exports, the quality of universities particularly in science and technology cluster. This science and technology cluster is an interesting parameter, these clusters are identified based on the locations of the inventors, authors appearing in the scientific journal articles.

Vijay Kumar Singh & Charu Srivastava

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A nation needs to have a strong and sustainable economy that does not wither away due to unknown circumstances. Given the current situation at the LAC with China, the common man is pompously advocating ‘ban Chinese products’ without knowing the fact that Chinese products particularly ‘technology’ constitutes a high percentage of the Indian market, for instance, almost 70% of the Indian smartphone market is constituted by Chines Brands namely Vivo, OPPO, Xiaomi etc, mobile chips, TV screen, hardware, fixtures, electronics and everything that we use in our daily life comes from China. The giant Chinese tech companies namely Alibaba, Tencent, ByteDance have invested enormously in Indian startups including PayTM, Swiggy, Policy Bazar, Oyo, Ola, Snapdeal, Udaan and many more. According to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade, China imports to India is worth $18.85B US Dollars.

While there is a movement on ‘banning chines products’, it appears more of a sentimental call rather than a well thought of strategy. It is important to realize the success factors behing the Chinese markets, to learn from the strategy that China is focusing on to become a superpower and dominate the global markets. One thing which stands out prominently is the focus of China on technology, innovation and R&D. Investment in technology-driven industries will lead us to become ‘Aatmanirbhar’.

The innovation and technology are a quintessential mechanism to boost the GDP of a nation which is in turn is dependent upon the modern intellectual property system in establishing an enabling environment for knowledge as well as technology-based economic development. Intellectual Property regime has immensely affected the socio-economic condition of a nation by propelling cultural, technological, and economic development. IPRs play a dual role, earlier they were recognized to reward the creator/inventor however in the modern time, they came to be recognized as a tool to spur economic growth of the countries.

Several reports across the globe reveal that the IPR intensive industries result in higher revenue, massive job creation, increase of international competitiveness, quality services, and higher wages. A study in 2019 [IPR-Intensive Industries and Economic Performace in the European Union] documented that almost 45% of the economic output and 30% of the jobs were generated by the IP intensive industires. In Ireland, 65% of the total GDP comes from the IP intensive Industries.

The contrast between the developing and developed countries can be studied in the light of their IP mechanism. The statistical analysis shows that the number of registered patents along with increased technology and innovation capacity, lead to greater FDI inflows. A study by OECD (2003) concluded that the IP rights particularly patents have a positive correlation with FDI and trade.

 Reference to a few significant and exhaustive reports can be made to understand the importance of innovation and technology for an economy. The US Chamber released the 2020 International IP Index report which assessed the IP framework of 53 global economies that contributes 90% to the global GDP. The Index shows cross country analysis based on 50 unique indicators including education, innovation, infrastructure, R&D etc. which reflect the effectiveness of the IP regime in an economy. Few countries like Switzerland, Sweden, the US remain to be the most innovative whereas the intriguing thing is to look at the performance of China.

As per the report, China has been increasingly becoming technology and innovation dependent and focusing on higher valueadded knowledge and high tech advanced manufacturing. For over the past 15 years, China has increased its service sector by 25%, growing from 41.18% of GDP in 2004 to 52.16% of GDP in 2018 and decreased its industrial production and manufacturing.

 Similarly, there is a massive increase in the number of patent applications from China [Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)] which is almost equal to the number of applications filed from the US in 2018., i.e. 53,345. China has the largest number of science and engineering graduates in the world and as a percentage of GDP, China invested 2.13% in R&D in 2017. However, China fails at several important indicators such as failure to address trade disputes and lack of adequate IP enforcement. Both China and India come under Asia but China features in Upper Middle-Income economies whereas India comes in Lower Middle-Income economies. The index score of both countries has increased with time. China ranks 28 on the index and India ranks 40 out of 53 economies. Another interesting report comes from the WIPO annually, known as Global Innovation Index [GII] which ranks the innovation performance of 130 economies. As per the 2019 report, China tops in the Upper Middle economy.

India’s rank has improved significantly from 81 in 2015 to 52 in 2019 and continues to be the most innovative economy in Central & Southern Asia. India consistently tops in innovation drivers such as ICT service exports, the quality of Universities particularly in science and technology cluster. This science and technology cluster [S&T] is an interesting parameter, these clusters are identified based on the locations of the inventors, authors appearing in the scientific journal articles. The data is taken from the Patent applications. The United States hosts the maximum no. of clusters [46] followed by China [18], Germany [10], France[5] and so on. Compared to last year all the Chinese clusters moved up in ranks. This reflects the improvement and development in innovation sector and scientific publications by Chinese entities.

 Looking at the overall performance of the economies the report states that there is a shift in the gloral R&D trend, now it is not only the high-income economies carrying out R&D. In 2017, the share of high-income economies accounted for only 64% of global R& D whereas in 1996 they contributes 87% of global R & D.

Amongst the uppermiddle-income economies, China has increasingly contributed more in R& D as compared to other countries. In 1996, China contributed only 10% of the global R&D expenditures, whereas in 2017 it is 31%. China also continues to rise in the ranking from 17th in 2018 to 14th in 2019.

China remains the only middle-income economy in the top 30 and maintains top rank in high tech net imports and creative good imports.

The cumulative contribution of the Asian countries particularly China, Japan, Republic of Korea and India has also improved from 22% in 1996 to 40% in 2017 of the world’s R&D. Out of this 40%, China contributed the maximum which was 24% in 2017 as compared to only 2.6% in 1996.

Globally, if we look at different nation, one can easily decipher that different nations project their aspirations with different nomenclatures, such as ‘A Nation of Makers’ [USA], ‘Design in Innovation’ [UK], ‘Made in China 2025’ [China],’ Smart Nation’ [Singapore], ‘Made in India’ [India], ‘Creative Economy’ [Republic of Korea], ‘Thailand 4.0’ [Thailand] and so on, but one thing that is common across these economics is the shift towards the service and technology-based industries.

Where does a country stand in the Global IP index reveals a lot about its economy. Such as though on several parameters, India positions in the top of the raking amongst the lowerincome economies but globally we need to push ourselves a lot.

Starting with the education system, the learning has to be more outcomebased with an emphasis more on the ‘creation’ rather than just the ‘knowledge’ aspect. Every year thousands of Ph.Ds are awarded but how many of them are converted into a product or a system which can be applied industrially is the moot question. Innovation is a mindset which needs to be developed.

Although India stands third in the list of holding the largest group of scientists and technicians in the world as per the report and is predicted to be the largest supplier of the university graduate by this year, it fails to feature in the top 25 in the innovation parameter, which raises serious doubt on our entire learning and education system.

Having said that, it is also true that Indian economy is heavily supported by a skilled workforce and the government policies and initiatives such as Digital India, Atal Innovation Mission, Make in India, Skill India and Startup India, strongly strive to transform the economy to adapt to technology and innovation which propels the rise in the living standard of the citizens and to position India at par with other strong economies.

According to an update by DIPP in 2018, in pursuance to the objectives laid down in the National IPR Policy, 2016, around 40+ additional IPR initiatives have already been designed to foster IP driven systems. Since the release of the Policy, India has made remarkable efforts in spreading awareness on the negative impact of piracy and counterfeits.

The US Chamber report also appreciated that India has passed a series of reforms strengthing IP enforcement, addressed administrative inefficiencies, courts have imposed hefty fines for infringement. It also stated that India has made progress since 2012 in combating copyright piracy by issuing dynamic injunction orders, increasing penalty for IP infringement, new pilot patent p r o s e c u t i o n h i ghway [PPH] programme and increased R & D in IP based industries.

However, in September 2019, a study by Music Industry along with Delloite stated that piracy in the Indian Music industry accounts to a loss of approximately USD 250 Million a year. Another interesting research published in Quartz India in 2018 estimated that one out of three Indians received counterfeit from shopping online.

Needless to mention that stong innovation environment requires a robust IP legal framework including protection and enforcement because it incentivizes the innovators to invest in R&D.

India has a long way to go in this direction, we not only have to improve our R&D but also to have an effective IP regime. There are several serious hurdles particularly concerning copyright, piracy, patent eligibility, opposition, enforcement, compulsory licensing, data protection, transparency in search and seizures by customs and related issues which need special attention. It is high time that understanding of IPR issues shall reach masses. People should be able to realize the value of intellectual property rights and the rhetorics of ‘ban Chinese products’ shall be replaced by ‘Creative India and Innovative India’.

 Dr. Vijay Kumar Singh is Dean and Charu Srivastava is Faculty at School of Law, UPES. Views are personal.

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Policy & Politics

RESOLUTION OF PENDING ISSUES OF EXPORTERS WOULD GIVE IMPETUS TO TRADE, SAYS EEPC INDIA CHAIRMAN

Tarun Nangia

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The value of engineering goods shipments registered a year-on-year growth of 238.27% during April, 2021 owing primarily to lower base effect and strong demand from traditional markets. This shows recovery in external trade is very much on track and improved trade outlook, said EEPC India Chairman Mahesh Desai.

“As vaccine coverage rises in Europe and North America we see further increase in demand. Shipments to China have already been quite healthy and we expect the trend to continue,” he noted.

As per data released by the government, India’s overall merchandise exports in April 2021 was US$ 30.63 billion, a jump of 195.72% over US$10.36 billion in April 2020. As compared to April 2019, exports in April 2021 exhibited a positive growth of 17.62%.

Mr Desai said that the recent surge in Covid cases has some downside risks to the growth as various state governments have imposed lockdowns and curfews to contain the spread of the virus.

“This has caused a slowdown in inter-state movement of goods and shortage of manpower. In order to address this, we urge the government to classify the export sector as the essential services,” he said.

The EEPC Chairman noted that the government has largely taken a very balanced approach to deal with the health crisis focussing both on saving lives and protecting livelihood.

In a very encouraging development, Department of Commerce has taken up various issues of exporters with the Finance Ministry for their early resolution. Some of the pending issues pertain to Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Products (RoDTEP), Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and Inverted duty structure.

“Once resolved, it will further provide impetus to the export sector,” said Mr Desai.

Given the growth trends in previous fiscal and April this year, it is hoped that merchandise exports could touch $400 billion in FY22. The value of exports in the first week of May was up by almost 9% (over the same period last year) pointing to a positive trend, the EEPC Chairman concluded.

RBI SUPPORTS MEASURES TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES HIT BY SECOND PANDEMIC WAVE

Besides providing liquidity support to small borrowers, the measures announced by RBI would boost confidence of the trade and business, said Desai.

“Over the last few months, India’s merchandise exports have shown an upward trend but the surge in new Covid cases has posed some downside risks. The relief measures announced by RBI for MSMEs should mitigate those risks,“ he added.

One of the key focus areas of the central bank was facilitating easy credit for entities in the health sector including vaccine manufacturers and suppliers of oxygen and ventilators. For this, an on-tap liquidity window of Rs 50,000 crore has been announced. This will help strengthen Covid infrastructure in the country and ensure that the impact of the second wave of the infection on the economy is minimal.

Another key support measure announced by the RBI was Resolution Framework 2.0 for Covid related stressed assets of individuals, small businesses and MSMEs. This is a major relief for small and medium players, noted Desai.

Among other things, the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) worth Rs 6,238 crore for air conditioners and LED lights would certainly give a big boost to local manufacturing. The various PLI schemes are being seen as the mega policy plan of the government to make India a global manufacturing hub, said Desai.

He noted that the PLI schemes were also being considered one of the major pull factors for MNCs looking to diversify their supply chains “This will not only bring fresh investments into the country but also offer opportunities for local firms to enter into technical tie-up and form joint ventures,” he said.

The government has so far cleared nine PLI schemes for different sectors. Both local and foreign players have shown keen interest in the scheme. Overall, an outlay of Rs 1.97 lakh crore has been lined up for 13 key sectors. All the schemes together are projected to boost India’s output by over US$ 500 billion in the next five years.

The additional manufacturing capacity coming under the PLI scheme would have a huge multiplier effect and help build a robust supply chain network linked with global giants. It will positively impact the SME sector and spur growth and employment, said Mr Desai applauding the policy action.

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Policy & Politics

INDIA’S TRADE PRFORMANCE CONTINUES TO BE IMPRESSIVE IN APRIL 2021

Merchandise exports accelerate by an impressive 195.72 per cent over April 2020 levels and 17.62 per cent over the April 2019 levels.

Tarun Nangia

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Piyush Goyal

India’s export performance continues to be impressive in April 2021 with merchandise exports accelerating by an impressive 195.72 per cent over April 2020 levels and 17.62 per cent over the April 2019 levels.

Merchandise export, excluding POL and Gems & Jewellery, have increased by 160.24% in April 2021 over the same period of 2020-21 and by 20.47% over same period of 2019-20.

The Economic recovery is also visible in the rising import growth of 167.05 per cent and 7.87 per cent during April 2021 over same period of 2020-21 and 2019-20 respectively.

Service exports estimated for April 2021* are USD 21.17 Billion, registering a positive growth of 28.68 percent vis-à-vis April 2020. The estimated value of services import for April 2021* is USD 13.00 Billion, registering a positive growth of 39.75 percent vis-à-vis April 2020. The estimated value of Net of services export for April 2021* is USD 8.17 Billion registering a positive growth of 14.28 percent vis-à-vis April 2020.

COMMODITY-WISE GROWTH TRENDS

The commodities/commodity groups which have recorded positive growth during April 2021 vis-à-vis April 2020 are Gems & jewellery (9271.21%), Jute mfg. including floor covering (1684.62%), Carpet (1352.68%), Handicrafts excl. handmade carpet (1275.46%), Leather & leather products (1201.44%), RMG of all textiles (927.08%), Cotton yarn/fabs./made-ups, handloom products etc. (618.26%), Man-made yarn/fabs./made-ups etc. (587.01%), Other cereals (451.39%), Ceramic products & glassware (444.45%), Electronic goods (372.62%), Oil meals (279.49%), Cashew (260.48%), Mica, Coal & other ores, minerals including processed minerals (241.21%), Engineering goods (238.27%), Petroleum products (191.53%), Tobacco (187.4%), Cereal preparations & miscellaneous processed items (174.61%), Iron ore (172.16%), Oil seeds (169.04%), Meat, dairy & poultry products (148.81%), Tea (146.31%), Marine products (107.94%), Spices (97.56%), Coffee (75.02%), Organic & inorganic chemicals (68.54%), Rice (61.64%), Plastic & Linoleum (51.89%), Fruits & vegetables (25.4%) and Drugs & pharmaceuticals (23.43%).

Iron Ore and Drugs & Pharmaceuticals exports have been consistently growing throughout 2020-2021 and April 2021. Rice export has been consistently growing during 2020-2021 and April 2021 except for the month of April 2020. Cereal preparations & miscellaneous processed items, Other Cereals and Oil Meals exports have been consistently growing since June 2020. Jute Mfg. including Floor Covering and Carpet exports have been consistently growing since July 2020. Handicrafts, excl. handmade carpet, Cotton Yarn/Fabs./made-ups, Handloom Products etc., Ceramic products & glassware, spices and ‘others’ categories exports are growing consistently since September 2020. Mica, Coal & Other Ores, Minerals including processed minerals export is consistently growing since October 2020.

Sectors such as Leather & leather products, Man-made Yarn/Fabs./made-ups etc., and Marine products which had been exhibiting negative growth during the pandemic (2020-2021) have picked up from March 2021 onwards.

*Note: The latest data for services sector released by RBI is for March 2021. The data for April 2021 is estimates, which may undergo revision with subsequent releases of RBI.

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal had a virtual meeting with Ambassador Kathleen Tai, US Trade Representative on 14th May 2021. The meeting focused on increasing vaccine availability in an inclusive and equitable manner to combat the global pandemic caused by Covid-19. The proposal of India on waiver of certain TRIPS provisions to increase global vaccine production in order to take on the challenge of vaccinating the poorest of the poor and save lives was also discussed. The Minister thanked the USTR for the US announcing its support for India’s proposal. The Minister mentioned the supply chains for the vaccine manufacturers must be kept open and unbridled as the entire world is in dire need of vaccines. Both sides agreed to work towards the common resolve of increasing vaccine availability and saving lives.

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Policy & Politics

GOYAL LAUNCHES ‘DGFT TRADE FACILITATION APP’ FOR PROVIDING INSTANT ACCESS TO EXPORTERS/IMPORTERS ANYTIME, ANYWHERE

Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal says that the trade facilitation app is ready for Industry 4.0.

Tarun Nangia

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Piyush Goyal

Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal recently launched DGFT ‘Trade Facilitation’ Mobile Application, for promoting ease of doing business and providing quick access to information to importers/exporters.

Speaking about the app, Goyal said that in the post-covid world, tech-enabled governance will play a key role in determining India’s growth and competitiveness. He said that a Single-window approach has enabled tech transformation of service delivery in India. It has liberated last-mile beneficiary from location based constraints, and enhanced ease of doing business. He said that Progress in technology helps develop the economy and strengthen Indian firms in the competitive global market. “We desire to move towards paperless, automated processing systems, simple procedures for trade players, online data exchange between departments & digital payments & acknowledgements.”, he added

Lauding the initiative of DGFT, Goyal said that the new Trade Facilitation App is a step in the right direction as it provides easy, omni-channel access to various trade related processes and enquiries at the touch of button. He said that truly imbibing Prime Minister’s vision of Minimum Government, Maximum Governance, DGFT is standing up for businesses as a true leader with e-issuance of certificates, QR scan process to validate documents. It will reduce transaction cost and time for imports and exports related processes, and usher in transparency. He said that ‘Trade Facilitation Mobile App’ is a symbol of India’s Idea of Aatmanirbharta – Making governance easy, economical & accessible, as it symbolises shift in traditional thinking.

Shri Goyal said that Trade facilitation App is READY for Industry 4.0, as it provides

• Real-time trade policy updates, notifications, application status alert, tracking help requests

• Explore item-wise Export-Import policy & statistics, Track IEC Portfolio

• AI-based 24*7 assistance for trade queries

• DGFT services made accessible to all

• Your Trade Dashboard accessible anytime & anywhere

The Minister said that ‘Mobile’ India creates an international trade opportunities for MSMEs and Foreign players. It will enable creation of a quality conscious and cost-competitive domestic industry. Further, it will significantly contribute to export target of $1 Trillion by 2025 and GDP target of $5 Trillion. He said that for advanced App development, more inputs & ideas of all stakeholders should be invited for further refinement which will help in expediting our technological transformation. Shri Goyal also called for engagement with technology and language specialists to develop Governance Apps in various regional languages, which will support the spirit of oneness amongst our citizens.

The new Mobile App of DGFT provides the following features for ease of the exporters and importers –

• Real-time Trade Policy Updates and Event Notifications

• Your Trade Dashboard Anytime Anywhere

• Access all services offered by DGFT in App

• Explore Item-wise Export-Import Policy and Statistics

• 24×7 Virtual Assistance for Trade Related Queries

• Track your IEC Portfolio – IEC, Applications, Authorizations

• Real-time Alerts on status of applications

• Raise and track help requests in real-time

• Share Trade Notices, Public Notices easily

The App will be available on Android and iOS platforms. The App can also be downloaded from the DGFT Website (https://dgft.gov.in). It has been developed by the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), as per the directions of the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

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Policy & Politics

THE ROAD NOT TAKEN: CROSS-BORDER INSOLVENCY REGIME IN INDIA

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OVERVIEW: CONCEPT OF CROSS-BOUNDARY INSOLVENCY

The recent judgment on Jet Airways v SBI & Ors is a strike on the previously closed doors of the Cross Border Insolvency regime in India under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (hereinafter referred as ‘IBC’). The Indian jurisdiction has time and again questioned with respect to it’s competence in handing cross border insolvency proceedings. The advent case of Jet Airways has given Indian an eccentric window to exhibit its potential and capabilities for handling the cross border insolvency disputes. The Hon’ble National Company Law Tribunal (hereinafter referred as ‘NCLT’) has set aside a non-arbitrary order towards the disputed position of Jet Airways and recognized that the resolution of the party which has the operations and stakeholders across the globe shall have implications if parties are spread across jurisdiction. The Appellate Tribunal has also set aside the order upholding the recent cross-border protocol agreed between NCLT appointed Resolution Professional (hereinafter referred as RP) and the Dutch insolvency trustee and deciding that the Dutch trustee is equivalent and analogous to the RP. Thus, clearly stating that the trustee has a right to attend the meeting of the committee of creditors as per the provisions of the insolvency law. However, it is pertinent to highlight that the NCLT specifically pointed out a quintessential cross-swording between two emblematic concepts of universalism and territorialism. These two conceptual terms are intertwined with each other in their basic sense.

The basic idea behind adverting these two concepts was due to the undemonstrated provisions in the cross border insolvency regime in IBC and clueless reasoning and deliberate abandonment of a United Nation Commission on International Trade model law on Cross Border insolvency (‘Model Law’) by the Indian jurisdiction. The notion of cross border insolvency comes into delineation when the insolvent debtor has assets located in more than one jurisdiction or in a circumstances where some of the creditors of such debtor are not located in a jurisdiction where the insolvency proceedings has been commenced.

CROSS-BORDER REGIME: INDIAN JURISDICTION

In 2000 the aforementioned difficulty was acknowledged by the Justice V. Balakrishna Eradi Committee which called for urgency in adoption of the Model Law, partly or in whole for an effective cross border regime. Subsequently, N.L Mitra Committee report reiterated the need for adoption of the Model Law. Earlier in India, as regards to Cross Border Insolvency under the Companies Act, 1956 and the Companies Act, 2013, a court could order winding up of a foreign company limited to the extent of its assets in India. However, there were no specific statutory provisions in case an Indian company having is assets abroad was sought to be wound up. Therefore, it was done through a mutual recognition of foreign decrees as provided under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. In the absence of such recognition it was a tricky situation for the liquidator in gathering information with regards to foreign assets and disposing them under the liquidation.

Presently, Section 234 and 235 of the IBC provides the legal framework under the IBC with respect to Cross Border Insolvency and envisage entering into bilateral agreements Finalizing such bilateral treaties require time consuming negotiations and every treaty made would be distinct which will create ambiguity for foreign investors. However, the provided legal framework has not been notified yet and therefore is not into effect and any orders passed in India with respect to Cross Border Insolvency will not have any effect in a foreign country. IBC is silent on the position of a foreign creditors’ right to approach NCLT to initiate corporate insolvency proceedings. However, in the matter of Macquarie Bank Limited v. Shilpi Cable Technologies Ltd, the Hon’ble Supreme Court gave a clarity that rights of the foreign creditors are similar to the rights of the domestic creditors with respect to initiating and participating in Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process under IBC.

MODEL LAW & INDIA’S RECOMMENDATION FOR ITS ADOPTION

Model Law was recognized as a framework which was globally accepted. The Model Law got its consensus by UNCITRAL in 1997 and since then it has become as the most widely accepted framework which deals with the Cross Border Insolvency issues and therefore, around 44 countries and in total 46 jurisdictions have adopted the legislation based on the Model Law. Under the Model Law, recognition is given to both the proceedings i.e. remedies provided under the foreign proceedings as well as the remedies provided under the Domestic proceedings. Relief can be provided if the foreign proceeding is either a main or non-main proceedings. It provides coordination between the foreign and domestic insolvency proceedings by encouraging cooperation between the courts. It allows the foreign insolvency professionals and foreign creditors to participate in the domestic insolvency proceedings against the debtor. Presently, on perusal of Section 234 of IBC it is clear that there is direct access with regards to the foreign creditors has been provided under the IBC. However, with respect to the foreign insolvency professionals no such provisions have been envisaged under the IBC.

The Model Law endows basic legal framework for cooperation between the domestic and foreign courts/ insolvency professionals. In India Insolvency Law Committee in its report recommended adoption of Model Law, as it provides for a wide-ranging framework to deal with Cross Border Insolvency issues. However, few carve out were suggested by the Insolvency Law Committee in order to ensure that there is no contradiction between the current domestic insolvency framework and Model Law framework.

Further, Countries which enact the Model Law are allowed to exempt certain entities from the application of the Model Law therefore; the Committee recommended to exclude the banks and insurance company from the scope of Model Law. The rationale provided behind this exclusion was that the insolvency of those entities requires particularly prompt and circumspect action and may be subject to a special insolvency regime. Further, the Committee was of the view that Section 234 and 235 of IBC should be amended so that it is applied only to individuals and partnership firms since the content relevant to the Corporate Debtor has already been captured under the Proposed Model Law. With respect to dual regime, the Committee noted that at present the Companies Act, 2013 already contain provisions related to insolvency of foreign companies.

In the Model Law, reciprocity indicates that a domestic court will recognize and enforce a foreign court’s judgment only in the case if the foreign country has adopted an akin legislation to the domestic country. Thus on Reciprocity, the committee recommended that the Model Law may be adopted initially on a reciprocity basis which may be diluted upon reconsideration. Foreign proceedings and its relief are duly recognized under the Model Law. Relief will be provided irrespective of the fact that the proceeding is a main proceedings or non-main proceeding. Therefore, if the domestic court determines that the debtor has its centre of main interest in a foreign country; such foreign proceedings will be recognized as the main proceedings. This recognition will allow foreign representative greater powers in handling the debtor’s estate.

CONCLUSION: TWO-STEP FORWARD APPROACH

Cross Border Insolvency regime is a road talked boastfully about, but is a road not taken yet. Cross Border Insolvency, the less travelled road would make all the difference in India. It encircles three major circumstances: firstly, the debtor’s assets that are located in diverse jurisdictions and the creditors want to cover those assets for the purpose of insolvency proceedings, secondly, in safeguarding the creditors’ rights who have interest in the assets of the debtor located in the different jurisdiction, and thirdly, in cases when the insolvency proceedings have been initiated in more than one jurisdiction on the same Corporate Debtor. It is pertinent to mention that the majority of countries are yet to agree upon an amicable and a singular code or a treaty which is pivotal for bestowing and uncovering the blanket on such cases without inviting any difference of opinion or interest of the related parties.

In the era of neoliberalism, the proposed draft by the Insolvency Law Committee will empower Indian jurisdiction to deal with the matters pertaining to Indian companies having their assets overseas and vice versa. The balance in inclusion and exclusion will be a major game changer for the Indian jurisdiction. The chapter of Cross Border Insolvency under IBC is much awaited and would enable the legal framework to have effective assistance in situations of concurrent proceedings. Therefore, it is paramount for us to clean our lenses and take the road less travelled, the road which would yield our nation the benefit of lost battles in past and untimely progress in future.

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Policy & Politics

CENTRAL GOVT DECISIONS TO ENHANCE OXYGEN AVAILABILITY, DISTRIBUTION AND STORAGE INFRASTRUCTURE

Oxygen availability increased through higher production and imports, setting up of PSA plants, and procurement of oxygen concentrators; General Financial Rules relaxed to fast-track procurement of critical supplies.

Tarun Nangia

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In order to address the surge in demand for oxygen, the Central Government has undertaken key measures to increase the availability, streamline the distribution and strengthen the oxygen storage infrastructure in the country. The steps undertaken focused on the entire oxygen supply chain. These include efforts for improving oxygen production, enhancing tanker availability to optimize logistics, improving oxygen storage at the last mile, and easing norms of procurement.

Oxygen availability has been enhanced by increase in Production Capacity and production, setting up of Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) Plants, import of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) from Overseas, and Procurement of Oxygen Concentrators. For enhancing tanker availability to streamline transportation, Nitrogen and Argon tankers have been converted, tankers and containers have been imported, domestic manufacturing of tankers increased, and rail and air transportation of tankers is being undertaken to reduce turn-around time. Oxygen Digital Tracking System (ODTS) has been setup of for real time monitoring, and driver availability is being enhanced with training of MHV drivers. For improving oxygen storage, number & capacity of cryogenic tankers at hospitals is being enhanced and Medical Oxygen cylinders are being procured. Relaxation of General Financial Rules (GFR) has been undertaken to enable faster procurement of critical supplies. The details regarding the measures undertaken by the Central Government on all fronts of the oxygen production, transportation, storage and infrastructure are as given hereunder.

INCREASE IN OXYGEN PRODUCTION AND CAPACITY ENHANCEMENT

Oxygen production has increased from 5700 MT/day in Aug’20 to 9,446 MT/day in May’21. The production capacity has increased from 6817 MT/ day to 7314 MT/day, and capacity utilization has gone up from 84% to 129% during this period.

Steel companies from both the public and private sectors, have stepped up efforts to meet the nation’s requirement of medical oxygen. On 4th May, 2021, the Total Liquid Medical Oxygen Production by the Steel plants was 3680.30 MT. The total LMO Supply per day was up from an average 1500-1700 MT in mid-April to 3131.84 MT on 25th April, and further to 4076.65 MT on 4th May.

Commensurate with the increase in production and demand, LMO sale in the country has also increased from about 1,300 MT/day in March’ 21 to 8,920 MT/day on 6th May. During the first wave of COVID-19, the maximum sale of 3095 MT/day of LMO was seen on 29th September, 2020. The sale of LMO grew more than five-fold from 1559 MT/day on March 31, 2021 to over 8000 MT mark by 3rd May, 2021.

OXYGEN PRODUCTION CAPACITY ENHANCEMENT PLANS

Additional capacity expansion is planned in the near future to enhance oxygen production capacity. The measures in this regard include additional 70 MT/day production expected in Karnataka; Supplies from Air Separation Unit of SME sector; Jumbo Hospitals with gaseous oxygen from refineries (11,950 beds), power plants (3,850 beds), and steel plants (8,100 beds) are being set up. Supply of oxygen for non-essential industrial purposes has been prohibited w.e.f. 22nd April, 2021, resulting in ~1,000 MT of additional oxygen availability. Additional capacity expansion of 630 MT/day is also planned by Steel sector.

1,594 PSA Plants are being established to improve Oxygen Supply near demand clusters. It includes 162 plants under PM-Cares through MoHFW sanctioned in 2020, 551 under PM-Cares through MoHFW sanctioned in March 2021, 500 under PM-Cares through DRDO sanctioned on 27 Apr 2021, about 100 by Oil and Gas companies under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, and rest by States themselves. 74 of the 162 PSA plants have been installed and the rest will be installed by June’21. 1,051 additional PSA Plants sanctioned under PM Cares Fund in March & April’21 will be commissioned in the next three months in phases.

IMPORT OF LIQUID MEDICAL OXYGEN

50,000 MT of Liquid Oxygen is being imported from overseas, with orders and delivery schedule for 5,800 MT finalized. Ministry of External Affairs is actively assisting in securing sources of oxygen from abroad. To expedite the process, quotations were obtained on 21.04.21. 3 quotations have been received for 3,500 MT and approved on 21.04.21 with delivery over 3 months. In addition, 2285 MT of LMO being imported from UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and France, a part of which has already arrived.

PROCUREMENT OF OXYGEN CONCENTRATORS

Procurement of 1 lakh Oxygen Concentrators has been sanctioned under PM Cares Fund on 27.04.2021. Expression of Interest was issued on 29.04.21 and Offer has been received for 2,500 units. There has been good response to the tender floated by ONGC. Offers for 50,000 concentrators have been received from domestic manufacturers. Award for 9,800 units have been finalized with delivery schedule of 4,800 units on 15.05.21 and 5,000 units on 27.05.21. In addition, 55 bidders have expressed interest to supply 70,000 – 75,000 units of concentrators. Orders are being finalized and will be placed based on promised delivery schedule.

OXYGEN ALLOCATION PROCESS

Oxygen Allocation process has been established to equitably supply oxygen to all states in line with the demand. First oxygen allocation order issued on 15.04.21 was restricted to a few states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, etc. As the second wave of pandemic spread to other states, demand for Oxygen increased from other states. The formula of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was used to estimate Oxygen requirement for each state in line with the active cases in the state, and maximum efforts were made to align Oxygen Allocation to the estimated demand for each state. Other factors such as availability of hospital infrastructure including ICU beds were also taken into account while finalizing allocation.

Oxygen Allocation process has continuously evolved to streamline the distribution of Oxygen in the country. Oxygen allocation to States/UTs is dynamic in nature, based on requirement as per Health Ministry norms, and consultation with States/UTs, manufacturers & other stakeholders. There is a mismatch between producing and consuming states, and equity among states to be maintained. Moreover, one-third of the production is concentrated in East India, while the ~60% of demand for oxygen is in North and South India, resulting in transportation challenges. Mapping of source and destination of oxygen has been completed to optimize transportation plan in consultation with States/UTs, manufacturers & other stakeholders.

ENHANCING OXYGEN TANKER AVAILABILITY: CONVERSION & IMPORT OF TANKERS

Multiple interventions have been undertaken to improve tanker availability. Availability of Oxygen Tankers has been improved with conversion of Nitrogen & Argon Tankers & their Imports. In March 2020, the capacity of tankers was 12,480 MT and their number was 1040. Now, the capacity of tankers has gone up to 23,056 MT and their number has increased to 1681, which includes 408 converted tankers and 101 imported tankers. 408 out of the 1,105 Nitrogen and Argon Tankers have been converted into oxygen carrying tankers so far; and another 200 tankers will be converted shortly. 248 oxygen tankers are being imported, with 101 tankers imported so far and another 58 tankers to be imported in next 10 days; In addition, 100 tankers are being manufactured domestically.

Oxygen Tankers being transported by Rail and Air to reduce turnaround time

Railways are being used for long distance transport of tankers through Roll on – Roll Off service. So far, Indian Railways has delivered nearly 4200 MT of LMO in more than 268 tankers to various states across the country. 68 Oxygen Expresses have already completed their journey so far.Till the evening of 9th May, 293 MT has been offloaded in Maharashtra; 1,230 MT in UP; 271 MT in MP; 555 MT in Haryana; 123 MT in Telangana; 40 MT in Rajasthan; and 1,679 MT in Delhi.

Air-lifting of empty tankers is being done to plants to reduce the turnaround time. 282 tankers with 5505 MT capacity have been airlifted, transporting LMO in domestic routes. 75 containers with capacity 1293 MT have been imported from overseas through IAF. In addition, 1252 oxygen cylinders, 3 oxygen generation plants have been imported through IAF.

OXYGEN DIGITAL TRACKING SYSTEM

A Web and App based Oxygen Digital Tracking System (ODTS) has been launched to enable real time tracking of Oxygen movement in the country. Its objectives are effective and instantaneous communication of allocation orders to plants and dispatches from plants, and toenable real-time tracking of Oxygen movement in the country from Plants to States. It integrates with GSTN database for E-waybill based data entry, Tracking of tankers through GPS, SIM (Driver Mobile No.), FASTag, and Automated alerts from system for route deviation, unintended stoppages, delays

Besides, a Virtual Central Control Room has been established with officers from Additional / Joint secretary officers of Health, Road, Rail, Industry, Steel and from State Govt. The Control Room is monitoring Oxygen movement 24 X 7 and to resolve any issues in oxygen transportation.

TRAINING DRIVERS FOR DRIVING OXYGEN TANKERS

2,500 additional drivers are being trained to drive oxygen tankers by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and Logistics Sector Skill Council (LSSC). Availability of skilled drivers is essential to ensure uninterrupted transportation of Oxygen. Since LMO Transportation is covered under Hazardous Chemicals regulations, drivers with adequate training and having HAZ Cargo license only are allowed to operate the trucks. Immediate focus is to make Training module has been developed by NSDC and LSSC in English and Hindi &20 master trainers identified. Online Refresher courses are planned for non-active drivers with training in handling HAZ chemicals. 73 locations have been identified for organizing physical training programs for drivers along with oxygen plants.

ENHANCING STORAGE OF OXYGEN: CRYOGENIC TANKS

Number of cryogenic tanks for storing oxygen at hospital has increased to 901 from 609 since March 2020. Availability of medical oxygen cylinders has increased from 4.35 Lakhs in March 2020 to 11.19 Lakh in May 21. Additional, 3.35 Lakh cylinders are being procured in line with estimated increase in demand. Orders have been placed for additional 1,27,000 cylinders on 21.04.21. DRDO is procuring 10,00,000 NRM valves under PM Cares Fund – this device will reduce wastage of oxygen by shutting out the supply during exhalation.

MEASURES TO EXPEDITE PROCUREMENT OF CRITICAL SUPPLIES

To expedite procurement of critical supplies, General Financial Rules (GFR) have been relaxed to enable expedited procurement of critical supplies for COVID Management. All restrictive provisions have been removed to enable larger participation and faster procurement. Bank Guarantees have been waived off for all procurement. 100% payment of advance has been approved for critical COVID procurement. Procurement on nomination basishas been permitted in case of constrained supply market.

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Policy & Politics

ERADICATION OF ILLITERACY THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA

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Illiteracy is one of the biggest challenges in front of our country. Numerous ways are there to overcome this very issue. Here use of social media is being focussed. As social media has access to the largest population worldwide. Besides helping the students, teachers and other professionals it is also benefitting the illiterates. The best thing of social media is its attractive outlook, which encourages and provokes the unaware and ignorant people to undergo educational programmes. Moreover the study groups on Facebook, Whatsapp, telegram, as well as study videos on YouTube, blogs and educational websites are really very helpful for the learners.

INTRODUCTION

Several factors contribute towards the development of a country such as foreign trade, political freedom, policies, technology, administration, education, economy, available resources. Along with this, literacy of any country serves as the key for its growth and progress. It becomes evident when one observes the literacy index of developed countries such as Finland, Andorra, Greenland, Vatican, which is very high. But in developing countries like India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan this index is quite low. Specifically, India holds 168th rank in literacy index as per the report of census 2011. As per the data of 2020 the literacy rate of India is 77.7%, which signifies that a lot more is to be done in this direction. Around 287 million Indians are illiterate, which is approx. 22% of total Indian population. Illiteracy is a curse to society as it results in development of demons instead of social humans. It is so because it affects the vision, perspectives and behaviour of the individuals. Illiteracy is the fundamental cause of several evils such as poverty, ignorance, lower-standard of living, unemployment, superstitions and donnish. Thus its eradication becomes the prime focus of every individual. The government of India has taken number of actions for its eradication, but sole efforts on the part of government will not suffice. Rate of illiteracy is still on its peak and this goal cannot be achieved until and unless every individual contributes toward its achievement.

There are several factors which may help to overcome the issue of illiteracy

1. Free and compulsory Education

2. Awareness Programmes

3. Increasing Level of Aspiration

4. Government Policies

5. Constitutional Provisions and

6. Use of Social Media.

This paper highlights the use of social media for eradicating illiteracy. It is an area which may resolve this problem to maximum possible extent as the number of people using social media is rising significantly. According to the digital 2021 global overview report above 53% of total world’s population uses social media.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media refers to the web based network that enables interaction over the continuously growing array of various websites. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Telegram, YouTube, Blogs are some of the examples of widely used social media platforms. These media are frequently used by the students, teachers, schools, colleges, Universities, firms, marketing professionals and others for their own purposes. These media are equally good for educational purposes. Here content can be put up in front of thousands of people at low cost. Social media platform ensures better learning as it provides the information in an attractive manner (Nick Sousanis). During Pandemic it is working in the most promising way. It is a known fact that, in coming years the education will be virtual so its use cannot be ignored in eradication of illiteracy.

POSITIVE FACETS OF USING SOCIAL MEDIA

Along with globalization social Media also owns the credit of bringing entire world at one platform. Social media has enhanced our capacity to acquire more and more knowledge. Here are some benefits of getting education using social media-

1. Acquiring and demonstrating Skills- Social media helps learners as well as the educationists in acquiring new skills to survive in this competitive world. It also provides the platform for demonstrating their talent and getting noticed by the others.

2. Acquaintance with the technologies– Social media provides the opportunity to students to develop the technological and creative skills which will certainly help them in their future perspectives and getting settled in their career.

3. Motivate youngsters– Social media is always being cursed by the elders for wasting time and providing sensuous material but as every cloud has a silver lining so the social media has. It stimulates teenagers mind towards positivity as well. Teenagers are highly influenced by the celebrities so when they suggest something to them it approaches to their heart and they started following it unquestionably. Even the thoughts and quotes full of positivity guides them for their future also.

4. Faster Information- Internet is one of the fastest sources of getting information. It helps the students, teachers, researchers and others to get quick access to the most relevant information, latest news and current affairs as well. In short it could be said that by using social media one is learning with the recent developments in the entire globe.

5. Personality Grooming– Some people find it difficult to express themselves openly in front of any audience. Social media provides them a facility to express their viewpoints in writing or sharing it through videos and images. They feel free in communicating to their feeling to new unknown people and thereafter to the known ones. Thus it leads to removal of shyness and also enhances their personality.

Negative impact of social media

Besides having number of positive aspects there are some negative impacts of using social media which can never be overlooked such as-

1. Addiction– Addiction to social media is the biggest drawback that can lead to disturbance in studies, personal lives, attention span, health issues and so many other problems. It inculcates the habit of living in isolation and gradually detaches a person from family, neighbours and society.

2. Privacy– Innocent students easily fall prey to the evilness of the unknown friends on social media. In emotional state of mind they sometime reveal some of the most sensitive and personal issues which can be used by the other people for certain illegal offence.

3. Affects learning– Use of internet is a common practice among students for searching their course materials and completing assignments. In this process to avoid boredom they seek help of social media and waste a lot of valuable time which ultimately affects their academic performance.

ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN ERADICATION OF ILLITERACY

Over a decade or so the mode of communication has been changed drastically. To connect with the students the universities and educational institutions uses social networking sites. In beginning these platforms were used to get connected with friends and family but now they are equally used for business, marketing, learning and professional networking. According to the report of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI), 65% of total Indian population search educational content through internet. Students alone are spending approximately 6-8 hours online for searching through social media.

Now the question arise ‘How will it help in eradicating illiteracy?’ Answer to this question depends upon its ‘usage’. Almost every student above the age of 15 is using social media. But the main thing is that besides talking and socializing one should invest the time in reading different authors, useful literature, scientific inventions, laws and judgements, government policies and many more such worthwhile topics. Here one gets an opportunity to interact with eminent scholars, consult various experienced people, and share personal viewpoints without hesitation.

SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM COMMONLY USED IN EDUCATION SECTOR:

Facebook: Facebook is one of the best platform for sharing thoughts, ideas, opinion and communicate with the people around the globe since 2006. As it is the most commonly used platform not only by the youngsters but also by the aged ones. It is one of the easiest social media platforms to make profile and get connected with people. Here one can find each and every aspect of information including entertainment, business, shopping, social networking as well as learning. Content posted here become available to thousands of people in one go.

Twitter: It is considered as one of the largest social media network which came into existence in 2013. Within such a limited time it has become the most expanded network in the world. It provides latest updates, pertinent news and ensures feedback. Here one gets an opportunity to get connected with the highly ranked officers, bureaucrats, administrators, sportsperson, actors and so on. This media is also helpful for educational purposes as email seems to be quite old fashioned technique to inform. Teachers as well as students can use this platform to share relevant information and links.

Instagram: Instagram was launched in 2010 with a view to share images and videos. It is one of the most widely used social media platform by the youngsters. So the esteemed institutions colleges and universities also started using it for promoting their coursework, infrastructure, campus activities and other programs. This ensures maximum access to the target group.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn was launched in 2002 and thus it is one of the earliest social media platforms, which is widely used by the professionals for promoting their work, achievements and success stories. It is also used by the students to get different opportunities such as internships, training, job offers and so on. It also serves as morale booster for the young aspiring minds.

YouTube: YouTube is a video based social media platform which was developed with a view to provide information through videos. It enables the users to access the desired content. This platform can be used by the teachers, creative professionals, educationists, institutions as well as the students to upload, share and access the content. It may also become a source of income for the people contributing their videos.

Blogs: It is a kind of web page or a website being updated regularly. Different people as well as groups may own their blog sites and get their work (articles, research work or view point regarding any issue) published. Students can access these blogs to get required information. They can also create their own blogs to share their ideas.

CONCLUSION

This article focuses on the eradication of illiteracy through social media. In today’s scenario there is a shift in the styles of teaching, the teaching fraternity is now opting the virtual mode of teaching and learning to attain best results. As it is known that a huge number of people are using social media just for the sake of entertainment and social networking. The need of hour is to channelize them towards the educational aspects of social media, where they can get educational information in an interesting way. This may lead to arousal of interest thus inspiring them to undergo formal education. The videos available on YouTube are very interesting and easy to understand, they could be the best media for illiterates.

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