No Proposal to Change Patent Law: Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi
No Proposal to Change Patent Law: Nirmala Sitharaman

India today ruled out amendment to the patent law, asserting that there are no gaps in protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

"There is no proposal to amend patent law... There is no proposal to anything to do with Indian Patent Act," Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said while replying to questions in the Rajya Sabha.

Responding to questions from members, she said the government is under "no pressure" on the IPR front from any quarter and Indian laws meet international norms.

On protection of Indian traditional knowledge, the Minister said the government is seized of the matter and all aspects are being taken care of.

She replied in negative to a question if the government has recently lost some IPR cases against USA.

Congress leader and former Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said the US has a strong lobby putting pressure on India to go beyond TRIPS in the pharmaceutical sector. He wanted to know if discussions were taking place on TRIPS plus issues.

To this, Sitharaman said no new joint task force has been set up with the US to deal with IPR issues.

She said under the India-US Trade Policy Forum, the government was continuing the mechanism put in place in 2010. There are five committees, including one on IPR.

The Minister said a think tank has been set-up to come out with a broad policy on IPR.

The think tank has already submitted its first draft report on which the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has sought public comments. 

To questions regarding tea sector, Sitharman said the industry has been showing interest and extending cooperation in the implementation of Plant Protection Code.

The full compliance of the Code requirements has come into force with effect from January this year.

The Code is being implemented so that growers can adopt the best practices and reduce use of chemical fertilisers to boost export potential.

She said the industry has raised issues like limited number of approved Plant Protection Formulations and efforts were on to address the problem.

"Tea Board and the Central Government are sensitive to and aware of the concerns," she said.

Sitharaman said a series of meetings with representatives of tea industry, Tea Research Institutes and other government departments have been organised to address different issues and concerns of raised by the sector.

To another question, she said Rs 21.58 crore has been released during 2013-14 to Rajasthan under Assistance to States for Infrastrucutre Development of Exports (ASIDE) Scheme of Department of Commerce.

Further, central assistance of Rs 59.34 lakh was given to three units in the state by the DIPP in 2013-14 for modernisation and technology up-gradation under the Indian Leather Development Programme.

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