ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Shalini BhutaniSubscribe to Shalini Bhutani

Minefields in Investment Relations

The Government of India and the Government of Andhra Pradesh are facing an arbitration suit due to the cancellation of bauxite mining approvals in Visakhapatnam. A case has been filed by the investment authority of Ras Al-Khaimah, a member of the United Arab Emirates, that set up a joint venture company in the state to refine bauxite. This is the latest in a series of legal actions by foreign investors in the country. The claim, being made under an India–UAE bilateral investment agreement and the investor–state dispute settlement mechanism therein, will test India’s efforts to attract foreign investments and impact centre–state relations.


A ‘New’ Recipe for Trade

With other mega regional trade agreements like the Trans–Pacific Partnership in uncertainty, trade treaties like the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will acquire greater significance beyond their original ASEAN-centred grouping. The RCEP needs to be tracked for its implications for both the global trading system and the livelihoods of people.

Two Countries, One Corporation and Its Intellectual Property Rights

Monsanto is known to throw tantrums when it does not get the kind of protection it wants from governments for its intellectual property assets, threatening to leave countries if they do not provide it. This has happened in Argentina and now in India. These may look like country-specific disputes on genetically modified seed technologies, but there is much more than what meets the eye.

IPRs for Farmers

A number of state agencies and non-governmental organisations have come forward to facilitate farmers/breeders to register their crop varieties and obtain plant variety certifi cates. But can these agencies bring forth a change in the mindset of the small farmers and seed savers' groups who view the current intellectual property regime with scepticism and continue to keep away from it?

Access to India's Biodiversity and Sharing Its Benefits

The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 is meant to fulfil the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity, to which India became a party in 1994. In its 10-year history, a key issue that has dominated the implementation of the act is access to bio resources and sharing its benefits. The government's new guidelines on access and benefit sharing notified in 2014 have only marginally added to what the act and its rules lay down. In addition, neither the intended beneficiaries nor readers of the document get much hint of the thought process behind the exercise.

Seed Sovereignty

Parameswaran Prajeesh’s “Farmers’ Rights to Seeds, Issues in the Indian Law” (EPW, 21 March 2015) repeatedly referred to the law, the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR)Act, 2001 as a “progressive” legislation.

Fielding Trials for Genetic Engineering

The manner in which the United Progressive Alliance government approved field trials of genetically engineered crops in the last few weeks of its term in office speaks poorly of its regard for the decision-making process.

Biodiversity Management Committees

The Biological Diversity Act was passed in 2002 and the rules to implement it came out in 2004. The main focus of implementation in the past decade has been to persuade local governments to set up biodiversity management committees, which are to compile people's biodiversity registers. The success of state biodiversity boards is measured in terms of the number of committees set up. In addition, the prospect of fi nancial gains is driving the law's implementation. The need for what a genuine dialogue on what a people-centred, biodiversity-sensitive, location-specific development model would look like has been lost sight of.

The Legal Meaning of Biodiversity

By suggesting that even coal extraction falls within provisions of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 and its specifi c provision of access and benefi t-sharing, the Madhya Pradesh State Biodiversity Board has raised important questions relating to the interpretation of the law. While the principle of profit sharing from commercial use of biological sources is justifi able, the authors argue that the principle of the conservation ethic should not be lost.

Ten Years of the Biological Diversity Act

As India plays host to the Convention on Biological Diversity's 11th Conference of the Parties in Hyderabad in October 2012, this article takes a closer look at the country's legislation on the subject - the BiologicalDiversity Act (2002).

Back to Top