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Q.1 Recently Geographical Indication Tag status provided to  Banglar Rasogolla of West Bengal and Mamallapuram stone sculptures of Tamil Nadu. In this context, highlight the meaning of Geographical Indication? What are the significance of awarding GI status to any product? (GS-3)

The Geographical Indication (GI) Registry and Intellectual Property India recently presented the Geographical Indication Tag status to Banglar Rasogolla of West Bengal and Mamallapuram stone sculptures of Tamil Nadu.

About Geographical Indication (GI) :

  • A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin
  • The qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product should be essentially due to the place of origin
  • GI tag is an insignia on products having a unique geographical origin and evolution over centuries with regards to its special quality or reputation attributes.
  • The status to the products marks its authenticity and ensures that registered authorised users are allowed to use the popular product name.
  • It is covered as an element of intellectual property rights (IPRs) under Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. At international level, GI is governed by WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

Significance:

  • Legal protection to the products
  • Prevents unauthorised use of a GI tag products by others
  • Helps consumers to get quality products of desired traits (iv) Promotes economic prosperity of producers of GI tag goods by enhancing their demands in international and national market.
  • GIs are of utmost importance to the country as they are an integral part of India’s rich culture and collective intellectual heritage.
  • Goods branded as GIs can be made indigenously by local communities independently and in a self-sustaining manner.
  • It Prevents unauthorised use of a Registered Geographical Indication by others
  • It promotes economic prosperity of producers of goods produced in a geographical territory.

Q.2 The Reserve Bank of India has recently decided not to pursue a proposal for introduction of Islamic banking in the country. Critically explain the impact of Islamic banking in the banking sector? (GS-3)

Context:

  • The Reserve Bank of India has decided not to pursue a proposal for introduction of Islamic banking in the country.

What is Islamic banking and finance?

  • Islamic or Sharia banking is a finance system based on the principles of not charging interest, which is prohibited under Islam.
  • Some of the modes of Islamic banking/finance include Mudarabah (Profit and loss sharing),  Wadiah (safekeeping), Musharaka (joint venture), Murabahah (cost plus) and Ijar (leasing).

Objectives:

  • Two basic principles behind Islamic banking are:
  • Firstly, in order to be Islamic, the banking system has to avoid interest.
  • Secondly, another Islamic principle is that there should be no reward without risk-bearing.
  • This principle is applicable to both labour and capital.
  • As no payment is allowed to labour unless it is applied to work, so no reward for capital should be allowed unless it is exposed to business risks.

What are the advantages of Islamic banking?

  • There are many advantages in introducing an Islamic window in the banks:
  • Majority of companies in the Stock Exchange are shariat compliant (this number is more than the shariat complaint companies on the Stock Exchange in Malaysia), thus this would result in attracting huge funds in the domestic market alone.
  • An Islamic Banking window will encourage many from the Muslim community to come forward and invest in projects
  • India will be able to attract huge investments from West Asia and from those who invest only in shariat compliant projects.

What are the negative impacts of Islamic banking in India?

  • India is a secular country by Constitution. Thus opening any financial institution with the name of a religion can raise question among other religious groups.
  • There would be much of chaos for manpower in Islamic banking. There is a lack of adequate work force trained in Sharia banking.
  • The present banking rules and regulations in India do not allow the operation of Islamic Finance in India for it creates hurdle in achieving complete financial inclusion.
  • Section 8 of Banking Regulation Act, mandates that a banking company cannot deal in the selling or buying or bartering of goods, which is prevalent in Shariah-compliant structures such as Murabaha in India.
  • Islamic banking may pave the way for the entry for terrorist funding.

Q.3 Climate is always changing then why is climate change a concern? What are the challenges for India in the context of the same? (GS-3)

What is climate change?

  • Climate change is a long-term shift in the statistics of the weather (including its averages).
  • For example, it could show up as a change in climate normals (expected average values for temperature and precipitation) for a given place and time of year, from one decade to the next.

Climate is always changing. Why is climate change of concern now?

  • Recent estimates of the increase in global average temperature since the end of the last ice age are 4 to 5 °C.
  • That change has occurred over a period of about 7,000 years, starting 18,000 years ago.
  • The current global average temperature is 0.85ºC higher than it was in the late 19th century.
  • CO2 has risen by 40% in just the past 200 years, contributing to human alteration of the planet’s energy budget.
  • The scientists consider that an increase of 2°C compared to the temperature in pre-industrial times is as the threshold beyond which there is a much higher risk that dangerous and possibly catastrophic changes in the global environment will occur.

What are the challenges for India?  

  • India is concerned about the impact of extreme weather events such as droughts and floods that would have a bearing on economic growth.
  • It is in this context that the rich countries must give up their rigid approach towards the demands of low and middle income countries, and come to an early resolution on the question of financing of mitigation, adaptation and compensation.
  • India importantly retains the right to meet its energy access needs and energy for development through fossil fuel use, particularly coal, if needed.
  • The Paris Agreement does not constrain this approach, which is based on Indian interests.
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