Monday, December 26, 2016

India can save $6 bn through ethanol-blended fuel: Report

Today biofuels, and specifically ethanol are drawing renewed attention as an alternate to petroleumderived gasoline in order to address energy security, energy costs, and global warming concerns associated with liquid fossil fuels. It is noteworthy to take into consideration the emerging era of rapid transformation in the way in which economic and social development is being undertaken. Specifically, the significant growth in the transportation sector has seen a corresponding increase in demand for energy and fuel. Globally, transportation systems are generally dependent on fossil fuels, which have a significantly more harmful effect on the environment. It is not surprising that most periods of accelerated industrial development have been correlative to the international price of crude oil. However, the increased attention to environment and climate change has propelled innumerable new approaches that can incentivise the application of long-time dormant technologies. One such example is the development of the biomass and biofuel industry, which is increasingly being seen as one of the solutions to energy insecurity. Moreover, many countries, developed and developing, have attempted to shift from a fossil fuel dependent economy to a biofuel based economy as a sustainable alternative. Biofuel is a renewable fuel that is produced through biological processes, such as agriculture and anaerobic digestion, rather than geological processes, such as those involved in the production of fossil fuels.

Biofuels can be derived directly from plants, or indirectly from agricultural, commercial, domestic and industrial wastes. Renewable biofuels generally involve contemporary carbon fixation, such as those that occur in plants or microalgae through the process of photosynthesis. The most commonly used biofuel is ethanol, which is produced from various feedstocks, such as sugarcane, maize and cassava. The United States and Brazil, as the largest producers of ethanol have adopted robust policy measures for the promotion of ethanol in the transportation sector with a view to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Similar policy approaches need to be tailored to India’s needs in order for it to move India’s rapidly expanding transportation towards greener alternatives. The key to leveraging the economic, social and environmental benefits of ethanol would require India to develop flexible strategies aimed at incentivising industry and consumers to shift towards broader adoption of ethanol, bother as an oxygenate and as an alternate. As this paper discusses, the social benefits of a broader biofuel programme include an expansion in livelihood opportunities. Similarly, economic benefits include significant opportunities across the value chain for farmers, and expansion of industrial development. 

The environmental benefits are significant as well, wider ethanol usage has shown to substantially reduce harmful emissions and consequently improve air quality. In the above said background, this paper has covered in its first chapter the background and history of the adoption of ethanol blending in India. The second chapter of this paper highlights some of the challenges to EBP program and different issues ranging from imposition of varied taxes upon the interstate movement of ethanol, procedural difficulties and legislative and administrative issues in India. The third chapter has explored some of the potential economic and environmental advantages of adoption of ethanol as a biofuel in India. The fourth chapter documents global best practices and analyses the experience of three countries in specific: the United States, the Philippines and Brazil. The final chapter sets out policy recommendations based on the roadblocks and hurdles identified in Chapter II, and further provides a comprehensive roadmap for the broader adoption of biofuels in the country. It is necessary to note that, in view of India’s rapid economic growth, energy demand will continue to rise rapidly in the coming decades. There is no going back on the path and pace of economic progress that India has chosen for itself, especially after globalization. 

The increasing consumer demand of a developing nation add stress on limited sources of energy of any nation. In order to meet these increasing demands, it is important that a gradual shift from fossil fuels to renewable fuels is made. However, this process is slow and expensive, and therefore it would be necessary to make appropriate investments that are aimed at increasing efficiency of existing sources of energy while, in parallel, enabling a shift towards sustainable resources. India’s National Policy on Biofuels, 2009 does reflect these concerns and charts out ambitious goals in this regard. However, there is a need to ensure that implementation of these programs accounts for broader administrative and policy priorities, especially in the agricultural and transportation sectors. In this context, this expert paper aims to present pragmatic measures and interventions that are specifically aimed at operationalizing the objectives of this expert paper.

The report was released on 8th December, 2016 by YB Ramakrishna, Chairman working group on Biofuels , Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas Govt. of India. 

The said report is the outcome of the joint project done by PLR Chambers, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun and CSTEP ( Center of Study of Science Technology & Policy) Bangaluru. 

The report is much appreciated and published by almost all the renowned national dailies like, The Hindu Business Line ,  Times of India ,   Economic Times  to name a few.  However if you are interested to read the full report please click here

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Need of Specialized Legal Education in India

The world is heading towards rapid progress in all fields including law. In this regard, globalization has changed the dynamism of the entire polity and society as a result of which the whole world is giving importance upon knowledge economy.
Law, as the essence of society, regulates human behavior at every micro and macro level and therefore, the functioning of the law is as dynamic as that of the society. As a result, today, the law is not used only to resolve disputes and to maintain an orderly society but has evolved to be used as an effective instrument of socio economic development and justice. Gone are the days when judges used to mechanically apply the law to sort of issues in the society. Today, it is used as a tool intended to discipline the power and empower the powerless.
Gone are the days when the legal professionals were considered the guardian angels standing for the legal order and executing one of the noblest functions of the society. Today, it may very well be argued that all these variables are overlooked in the light of amassing wealth and fame, not only in India but globally.
Today the legal profession has progressed as a branch of education attracting the best minds in the country. The legal service sector has experienced a steady and continuous growth mainly as a consequence of the growth in international trade and investment. Sectors such as corporate restructuring, privatization cross border mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property rights etc. require more sophisticated services, thereby facilitating trade in legal services and creating the essential need of the specialized law professional. Though the legal profession is by and large practiced by individual professionals in most of the countries, modern corporate issues call for collective efforts which in turn have facilitated the growth of larger law firms.
With the emergence of such opportunities, there is a major revamping and growth in the specialized legal education. Specialized learning which would provide a platform for the youth of the country to incentivize them to join the Bar with a fresh perspective and therefore the approach used was to use law as an instrument of sound decision making and problem solving, traits which are of utmost importance in the field of litigation.

In this program, we seeks to provide a correct understanding of the legal education, legal profession and the changing attitudes of the students with the changing scenarios, both at the national level as well as at the international level. 

Saturday, January 02, 2016

The individual points of interest contained in a Global Positioning System database were un-copyrightable facts, California District Court USA

The database as a whole is copyrightable as a compilation with at least modicum of creativity, the court said following Feist Publ'ns Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co., 499 U.S. 340 (U.S. 1991). But the app maker only asserted that defendant Waze Inc. incorporated individual points of interest into its own database in modified form—not that it copied the app maker's creative selection of data. But the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California held on Dec. 14 (PhantomALERT, Inc. v. Google, Inc., N.D. Cal., No. 3:15-cv-03986-JCS, 12/14/15). The individual points of interest contained in a Global Positioning System database were un-copyrightable facts, Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero said the traffic condition and speed trap information in the GPS app consisted of objectively discoverable facts, even to the extent it was intentionally seeded with false data to identify infringers. 

The decision demonstrated a catch-22 for parties seeking to protect data through copyright law. Individual bits of copied data aren't protected under copyright law, but collective data can't receive protection if incorporated into a new, modified compilation by the end user. Plaintiff PhantomALERT Inc. brought copyright infringement claims against Waze and its parent company Google Inc. PhantomALERT provides “Points of Interest” in its GPS database, and it seeds its data with fakes in order to detect infringement. PhantomALERT claimed that its seeded data showed up in Waze's GPS database, and that Google integrated that data into its own mapping program.Google moved to dismiss the claims, arguing the database and the underlying information weren't subject to copyright protection.

The most analogous precedent, the court said, was Assessment Techs. of WI LLC v. Wiredata Inc., 350 F.3d 640 (7th Cir. 2003) (8 ECLR 1121, 12/10/03). In Assessment Technologies, the extraction of raw data from a database for a company to sort differently according to its own needs wasn't found to violate copyrights in the original database. Any intermediate copying done to extract the data was a fair use, the Seventh Circuit held. Similarly, in this case, the court said, copying PhantomALERT's raw data regarding individual points of interest didn't implicate the company's protectable interest in the arrangement of the entire database. The court also found that the seeded data allegations were sufficient to plead that Google had access to PhantomALERT's data. The court gave PhantomALERT the opportunity to replead that Google infringed on one of its protectable interests.

Source: Electronic Commerce and Law Report: