The NDA government plans to put in place an Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy within the next six months, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman said here on Monday.
“We are going to come out with a policy for intellectual property and intellectual property rights (IPR)… I will not go into the details now, but it will be done,” Sitharaman said at a press conference to announce the performance her departments in the first 100 days of the NDA government.
IPR refers to private rights, recognised within the territory of a country and granted to individual(s) or legal entities, in order to protect creativity or innovations in the industrial, scientific, literary and artistic fields.
India has been under fire from several countries, particularly the US, for its inability to protect their IPRs, such as branded products, whose cheap duplicates are freely available in the country.
The minister also said the NDA government would not allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.
Sitharaman said that though India has a well-established statutory, administrative and judicial framework to safeguard IPRs, there is a need for a policy that will give direction.
She said that a policy think tank on IPR, consisting of experts and intellectuals, will be constituted soon. “They will offer suggestion and guidance on IPR issues to the ministry. We will also fill up all the posts related to IPR regulation,” the minister said.
Amitabh Kant, secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, said a discussion paper, inviting comments, would be floated in the next two months. The ministry will collect and assess responses in four months; a draft policy is expected to be out within the next six months.
On the politically sensitive issue of FDI in multi-brand retail, which is dominated by small neighbourhood retail stores, the minister was emphatic in reiterating her party and government’s stand.
“There is no ‘duvidha’ (dilemma) in the government on the issue,” she said. “The NDA said in its manifesto and won the elections, they will not allow FDI in multiband retail and it is adhering to that.”
The UPA government had allowed up to 51% FDI in the multi-brand retail sector, which was opposed by the BJP.