India’s economic growth prospects received a major boost from the World Bank and the Government of India reports. The Government also simplified the reporting of the foreign investment by Indian entities. The Government’s increasing focus on intellectual property rights and its awareness resulted in creation of the country’s IP Mascot.

World Bank Report – The World Bank recently released the latest edition of its flagship report, the World Economic Prospects report. India features prominently in the June edition of the report, which is aptly titled ‘The Turning of the Tide?’. Growth in India is projected to advance 7.3 percent in Fiscal Year 2018/19 (April 1, 2018-March 31, 2019) and 7.5 percent in FY 2019/20, reflecting robust private consumption and strengthening investment.

In fact, growth in the South Asia region is projected to strengthen to 6.9 percent in 2018 and to 7.1 percent in 2019, mainly as factors holding back growth in India fade. The report states India’s GDP growth bottomed out in the middle of 2017 after slowing for five consecutive quarters, and has since improved significantly, with momentum carrying over into 2018 on the back of a recovery in investment. Although investment growth was still moderately lower in 2017 than in 2016, high-frequency indicators suggest that it accelerated into 2018. The temporary disruptions caused by the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax dissipated by mid-2017, and manufacturing output and industrial production have continued to firm since then. Per capita growth rates in the region are strong, and are expected to help bring down poverty in coming years, particularly in India.

It is noteworthy that in comparison, global economic growth will remain robust at 3.1 percent in 2018 before slowing gradually over the next two years.

Government of India report – The above World Bank report is somewhat complimented by the quarterly report of the Central Statistics Organisation, Government of India (CSO), released about 5 days before the World Bank report. This CSO report, whose release was reported by Asia Law Portal, stated that GDP registered growth of 7.7% in Q4 of the financial year 2017-18. As per the Provisional estimates of national income, the growth rate of GDP at constant (2011-12) prices for the financial year 2017-18 is estimated at 6.7 percent. “I don’t think we are revising our forecast for the current year 2018-19, which was indicated at 7.5 per cent. We retain it at this moment at this level.” Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic affairs, told reporters.

Foreign Investment Reporting – The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), with the objective of integrating the extant reporting structures of various types of foreign investment in India, will introduce a Single Master Form (SMF). The SMF would be filed online. SMF would provide a facility for reporting total foreign investment in an Indian entity as also investment by persons resident outside India in an investment vehicle. Prior to the implementation of the SMF, RBI would provide an interface to the Indian entities, to input the data on total foreign investment in a specified format. The interface will be available on RBI website from June 28, 2018 to July 12, 2018. Indian entities not complying with this pre-requisite will not be able to receive foreign investment (including indirect foreign investment) and will be non-compliant with Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 and regulations made thereunder.

FDI Clearance ProcedureSeeking to further streamline FDI clearance procedure, the government has suggested that the Home Ministry provide details of objections on foreign direct investment proposals if it finds something amiss. The move would help in cutting down unnecessary delay in the clearance of foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals. Certain departments, including telecommunications, have stated that it becomes difficult to clear proposals if objections are not substantiated. The government sources, however, said the number of objections being raised by the Home Ministry have come down substantially in the recent months. The Home Ministry has given security clearance to more than 5,000 investment proposals, including overseas direct investment, in the last four years. Another source said the ministry has expedited the security clearance procedure after completely revamping the entire process and relaxing various norms.

India’s Intellectual Property MascotThe Minister of Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu recently launched the Intellectual Property (IP) mascot – IP Nani. IP Nani is a tech-savvy grandmother who helps the government and enforcement agencies in combating IP crimes with the help of her grandson “Chhotu” aka Aditya. The IP mascot will spread awareness about the importance of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) among people, especially children, in an interesting manner. This character is also in line with the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) campaign for the World IP Day which celebrates the brilliance, ingenuity, curiosity and courage of the women who are driving change in our world and shaping our common future. It also highlighted that how a strong IP system can support innovative and creative women and indeed everyone in their quest to bring their amazing ideas to the market. lPRs are increasingly becoming crucial drivers of social and economic growth by encouraging creativity and innovation. In this context, the Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM), a professional body under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) collaborated with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EU-IPO) to produce a series of animated videos on IPRs for children with IP Nani as their central character. CIPAM has been conducting IPR awareness workshops for school students since April 2017. Till date CIPAM has reached out to over 100 schools sensitizing over 8,000 students on IPRs. These efforts are aimed at inspiring the next generation of creators and innovators to become proud IP owners.

Posted by Sourish Mohan Mitra

Sourish Mohan Mitra is an India-qualified lawyer from Symbiosis Law School, Pune and currently working as an in-house counsel with a global research firm in Delhi, India; views expressed are personal; he can be reached at sourish24x7@gmail.com; Twitter: @sourish247

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