|Thursday, July 6, 2000,
patent protection to software'
HP rural women make it despite odds
Bank employees to be
protection to software'
New Delhi, July 5 The Indian software industry, which is riding an unprecedented wave of growth, is demanding protection from software piracy in order to capitalise on the opportunity that is knocking on its door for turning the country into a software superpower.
The Joint Parliamentary Committee which is considering the proposals for amendment to the Patents Act is expected to submit its report soon.
Software experts said the inventors of software at present enjoy only copyright protection. This does not provide comprehensive protection to ideas behind software invention, which can be easily imitated, duplicated, faked and illegally sold like any literary work.
The National Association of Software and Services Company, said it favours patent rights protection to software programme inventors.
CII stated that granting of patent protection to software programme inventors would protect the interest of the Indian software industry.
While the USA, Japan and European Patent Office (EPO) as well as many other countries are now granting software patents, India continues to provide only copyright protection.
Traditionally, software was not protected by patents because the underlying feature of a software programme is an algorithm. Patent law does not protect algorithms per se.
But the situation changed in 1981 when the US Supreme Court held that a particular software that was in question tendered a useful function although one of the elements of the software was an algorithm. So, as long as a software rendered a useful function, it is patentable. Since then, thousands of software patents flooded the market.
According to Nasscom 2000 report Indian companies put out 122 software products in the domestic market, the foreign companies put out 158 software products.
This shows that Indian companies are turning towards making their products instead of merely servicing foreign companies or giving customised packages. They are making things of their own and putting it out into the market.
An Intellectual Property Rights consultant, Mr Shilendra Kumar, said in all probability, all the 158 software products of foreign companies are protected by patents obtained abroad so those cannot be re-engineered (it is a very easy thing to re-engineer software programs). While this is so, most Indian products dont have patent protection and can thus be re-engineered by anybody.
He said it is very expensive to obtain patents abroad. Even though India has joined the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) which allows a single application to be made to obtain as many patents as necessary within the 160 odd member nations, the PCT also says that the initial application has to be made in a country which actually grants software patents. So, our Indian companies have to go abroad to reap the benefits of the PCT.
Experts said the strength of India in the IT industry is software, it should allow software patents and allow Indian companies to create a pool of patents (as is being done by CSIR in other fields) before the complete opening up of our markets under WTO in 2005. Under Article 27 of the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (Trips) Agreement, a country cannot differentiate between technology and thus is bound to grant software patents.
Indian software industry has been growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 56.3 per cent between 1993-94 and 1998-99.
The Indian software industry in 1998-99 was worth Rs 158.9 billion, out of which the domestic market accounted for Rs 49.5 billion.
With the growing interest of the world in the Indian software, the exports are expected to reach the level of $ 6.3 billion in the current fiscal year and $ 10 billion by 2001-02.
By 2002-03, the software exports would account for almost 19 per cent of Indias total exports and would emerge as the largest exporting sector from the country.
HC clears computer courses
NEW DELHI, July 5 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today allowed Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University to continue computer courses in collaboration with Zee Interactive Learning Ltd (ZILL) but said in the event of an adverse findings by it, the students would not be entitled to any claim. Admitting an appeal against vacation of a stay on admissions to the courses by a Single Judge Bench on its earlier order, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Arijit Passayat and Justice D.K. Jain rejected Solicitor General Harish Salves plea for continuing with the stay order.
Posting further hearing on August 21, the Bench said the university in its prospectus would make it clear that the courses were not approved by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the students cannot claim any equity in case of adverse conclusion by the court.
The Single Bench had earlier stayed the admissions after the process was challenged by one Jitender Yadav on the ground that the courses were not approved by AICTE, but it vacated the same after the University in an affidavit explained that the courses were being offered under the Centres IT policy.
AICTE moved an appeal against vacation of interim stay and Solicitor General (SG) appearing for it said since the courses were neither recognised by the council nor by University Grants Commission, the University should not be allowed to go ahead with the admissions.
Three HP rural women make it despite odds
CHANDIGARH: Nirbadha, aged about 70 years, was leading a peaceful life when her husband died in 1994. Then her only son died in a road accident. She was thrown out of the joint family and deprived of her household goods. She started living alone in a hut, which was constructed on the panchayat land and started working as a domestic help in the village. Her daughter having two minor children was also disowned by her husband, as a result, she also joined her mother. The Chinmaya Tapovan Trust based at Sidhbari in Kangra district approached her and provided her and her daughter training in making envelopes from old newspapers.
They both became members of a Self Help Group known as Kunal Pathri. The aged woman took a loan of Rs 200 for buying old newspapers and started selling envelopes locally. Villagers were so impressed that many started giving her used newspapers without any charges. The mother and daughter team repaid the borrowed amount of Rs 200 within two months.
Subsequently, this Self Help Group was linked with Gaggal branch from where she took a loan of Rs 1000 to develop her business. Today, she earns Rs 110 to 120 per day and is known as Lifafe wali in the area.
Another success story relates to Mangni Devi, wife of Nankanu Ram, a marginal farmer and resident of Bareri village in Kangra district. The couple led a miserable life having three daughters and two sons. Mangni Devi was illiterate but had the desire to assist her family to improve their financial lot.
Dr Kshma Metre, head of the Tapovan Trust, who is popularly known in the rural areas as Dr Didi, visited the village and formed a mahila mandal with 100 members. Mangni Devi joined this voluntary Self Help Group named Jai Vaishno Smuh, which got a loan of Rs 12,000 from PNB.
Mangni Devi took a small loan from the group and started selling vegetables. Subsequently she also started bee-keeping. Now she has 25 boxes and sells honey at Rs 70 per bottle.
Another success story relates to Urmila Devi of Icchi village (Gaggal) in Kangra district. She was married at the age of 15 and is now 32. Her husband is a petty labourer and alcoholic. Whatever she earned, her husband spent it on alcohol.
One day she decided to join a Self Help Group called Nav Nirman and approached the Chinmaya Tapovan Trust and an official of PNB. The woman was imparted training in breeding chicks and growing mushrooms by the Trust. She took a loan of Rs 500 from a Self Help Group and within 3-4 months she sold 20 chicks and started supplying mushrooms to shopkeepers at Gaggal and Dharamshala. After repaying the loan, she again borrowed Rs 500.
Once her income
improved, she constructed a two-room pucca house, bought
a cooking gas and sent children to a nearby school. In an
interview to Zee TV, she gave credit for her success to
the Trust and the bank.
TRAI provides quality norms
NEW DELHI, July 5(PTI) Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today asked basic telecom operators to provide new telephone connections to subscribers within 21 days of registration as part of its short-term quality of services(QOS) guidelines.
The target of providing connection within 21 days has to be achieved over a period of one year from now, TRAI Chairman M.S.Verma said here while releasing the QOS parameters for basic and cellular service providers.
TRAI has announced parameters to be achieved over four years. Time period for providing new connection over next two years will come down to 15 days and less than seven days in next four years (by 2004).
New guidelines will be applicable from today, Verma told reporters.
Asked whether penalties would be imposed in case of non-compliance to the regulations, Verma said there would be no penalty initially.
Other QOS parameters are with regard to fault incidence, time period for fault repairing, dial tone delay, metering and billing credibility and customer care services.
With regard to cellular phone services, Verma said 98 per cent of faults should be cleared within 24 hours as a short-term (one year) target.
J & K
to enter insurance
SRINAGAR, July 5Jammu and Kashmir Bank is diversifying its business activities into insurance, mutual fund and other facilities for which an assessment subsidiary is being floated and efforts are being made to include international companies for joint venture tie-up in insurance sector.
This was announced by the bank Chairman, Mr M.Y.Khan, at a meeting of the 62nd annual general meeting of shareholders here the other day. He said that such steps were being taken in view of the achievements made by the bank during the previous years. He said that the shareholders of the bank has grown to about 50,000 belonging to different regions of the country which include NRIs also.
Bank employees to be offered VRS
NEW DELHI, July 5 (PTI) Public sector banks are expected to offer a voluntary retirement scheme package of about Rs 8 lakh per employee to 84,000 employees in the next few months.
This is in line with the observations made by the Finance Ministry and the bank managements for trimming the flab and discouraging low productivity, banking sources said here.
They said the VRS package would be made on the basis of completed years of service and remaining service left whichever is higher, they said.
Asked about the arising shortage of staff in the banks as a result of this mass VRS offer, the sources said the government was also toying with the idea of recruiting computer savvy employees besides inducting specialised Information Technology experts.
Sources pointed out that the only hitch in the way of speedy implementation of the VRS was the poor financial health of the three weak banks namely the United Bank, Union Commercial Bank and the Indian Bank.
The Finance Ministry was working out a package to bail out these weak banks for implementing the VRS scheme, they said.
The sources, however, said it was not clear whether the government would give these weak banks a loan for implementation of the package or clear any proposal for tapping the capital market
Bank managements are assiduously giving the finishing touches for a uniform voluntary retirement scheme to prevent any anomalies in the package, they said.
The average age of employees in the industry now stood at around 46 years as no recruitment had taken place in these organisations since 1985, they said.
This, they pointed out had adversely affected productivity and thereby the moral of the active work force.
22 tax assessees to be honoured
CHANDIGARH, July 5 The Income Tax Department, North-Western Region, has decided to confer the Rashtriya Samman on the highest taxpayers of the region.
Talking to TNS today, the Chief Commissioner, Income Tax, Mrs Surinder Paul Kaur, said the assessees would be honoured by Mr A. Balasubramanian, Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes, at a function to be held here on July 12. She said the department in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh had identified 22 assessees who had consistently reflected in their returns large incomes in four of the past five years ending with the assessment year 1998-99.
She disclosed that most of the assessees came from the hosiery industry, obviously referring to Ludhiana. A few professionals like doctors and lawyers had also made it to this group.
Surprisingly, there is no such award winner from Himachal Pradesh. There are also winners from Pathankot, Bathinda, Panipat and Yamunanagar.
Asked about the identity of the assessees, the Chief Commissioner refused to disclose it as some of the taxpayers do not want to come into the limelight.
The culture of tax evasion has taken a heavy toll on our economy and we are prepared to take harsh action against those evading taxes and to reward those complying with the income tax laws, she said.
On the same day, the department will also honour three individuals who filed the highest return of income in 1998-99 in the business, professional and salary categories. Interestingly, in the professional category the highest taxpayer is a lawyer, who showed an income of about Rs 3 crore, and in the business category it is a person with an annual income of Rs 1.5 crore.
question on privileges and incentives provided to
samman patra holders, she said they would be
accorded priority in all income tax clearances, including
matters relating to the registration of property. The
awardees would enjoy a scrutiny holiday for three years
and the tax advisory panels at the regional level would
be constituted from among the awardees. Of course, the
department would issue an identity card which would
enable them to get prompt service from any wing of the
department in the country.
The rise of the mobile
TO call it mobile mania would be an understatement. More than 50 per cent of Britons now own a mobile a staggering 85 per cent above the same time last year with analysts predicting that penetration will be 60 per cent by the end of the year. It is quite possible that in a few years time it will hit 80 per cent. The ubiquity of the mobile is already changing relationships. Parents can no longer eavesdrop on what their children are up to through the fixed link, but they bond through knowing where their children are and through text messaging. For youngsters it brings back the herd instinct as they head out alone, meeting up later after messaging.
And we havent seen the start of it. The new WAP (wireless application protocol) phones linked to the Internet are slow, often incompatible, and very flaky in performance but interesting applications are emerging.
You can get instant news, live share prices, plus step-by-step directions to the nearest cash machine or pizza parlour. During the next few years, as phones get smarter and faster, and with the arrival of continuous broadband access to the Internet, the phone will know who you are and where you are, enabling you to consult a doctor remotely, call up live pictures of traffic jams (or anything linked to a camera).
It will be a goldmine for enterprise as thousands of programmers work out innovative applications. The mobile will become the most popular product the industrialised world has known and continuous technological change could induce users to buy new models every few years.
It offers developing countries a chance to leapfrog over their lack of telephone infrastructure (half the world has never made a phone call) into the 21st century. That will require new social entrepreneurs with skills to persuade multinationals to allow cheap Third World access to their satellites as they pass unused overhead. If developing countries arent hooked into the information revolution, they will fall further behind. The Guardian
Where women run a market
IMPHAL: Ima or mother market site comfortably in the undulating contours of beautiful Manipur where females hold a far higher social status than their male counterparts.
By virtue of this extraordinary power vested with the womenfolk, they also inherit certain responsibilities. From looking after the family and earning a living, all come under her work schedule. And she has nothing to complain about.
This 16th century old market place today is a vibrant testimony to the undying spirit and determination of the Manipuri women. The market is still being run by women, all are addressed as Ima or mother.
There are 3,000 stalls in the multipurpose shopping complex. This is the only market in the world which is being run by women. The market is divided into two parts by a road passing it right in the middle. Vegetables, fruits, fish and household groceries are sold on the one side. Exquisite handlooms and household tools etc are sold on the other side of the market.
According to the local people, the market was believed to have been established towards the fag end of the 16th century. Women stall owners say that for them their stalls are the only source of income. For them their stalls are also their shelters.
With time things have not changed. Manipuri women continue to play as diverse roles as they are known to have been doing in the past. They have played an important role in the socio economic development of the state. They have left an indelible mark on the society by launching a crusade against alcoholism and human rights violation at the hands of insurgents. ANI
Coping with cyber crimes
NEW DELHI: Cyber crimes have several manifestations hacking, stalking and squatting. National security can be endangered if sensitive sites are hacked to destroy and mutilate documents. A person can be stalked on the Internet, causing a lot of harassment without even revealing the identity and by squatting. A cyber criminal can misuse the name and fame of a reputed person.
In the first reported case of cyber stalking, one lady Ritu Kohli complained to the police against a person, who using her identity, was talking on Internet and distributing her address to all and sundry across the globe. She was subjected to obscene language from all those foreigners who called on her through the Internet.
The police will face
difficulty in this case as under the IPC a word must be
uttered or a sound or gesture must be made or any object
must be exhibited which violates the modesty of a woman,
says cyber law expert Pavan Duggal. PTI
Gulshan Sugars okays demerger of 3 units
NEW DELHI, July 5 (TNS) The Board of Directors of Gulshan Sugars and Chemicals Ltd have approved the de-merger of three units of the company into three independent companies. As a result two more companies would be incorporated. The Board of Directors have further approved that each shareholder holding 100 equity shares of Rs 10 each in Gulshan Sugars and Chemicals Ltd (before demerger) would be issued 80 equity shares of Rs 10 each in Gulshan Sugars and Chemicals Ltd, 50 and 20 each equity shares of Rs 10 each in two new resultant companies. The cut off date has been fixed as April 1, 2000.
Zee Tele to pay 55 pc
MUMBAI, July 5 (PTI) Zee Telefilms has declared a dividend of 55 per cent for the year ended March 2000, on the augmented capital of Rs 40.85 crore. The dividend payout ratio for the year works out to 21 per cent compared to 16.8 per cent the previous year, the company said in a release today.
Sail shortlists Tisco for Salem Steel
NEW DELHI, July 5 (PTI) Steel Authority of India Ltd has shortlisted rival Tata Steel and UK-based Avesta Sheffield as joint venture partner for its wholly-owned Salem Steel plant. Tata Steel-USINOR combine and Avesta were shortlisted from four bidders based on the recommendations of its financial advisers J.M. Morgan Stanley. Other two parties, who responded to the pre-qualification bids, were Shah Alloys and Jindal Strips Ltd. The spokesperson, however, said Jindal Strips was still in the race for the joint venture.
Infosys launches banking solution
MUMBAI, July 5 (PTI) Infosys Technologies has launched a core banking product called Finacle, targeted at both retail and corporate banking requirements. The web-enabled, centralised, multi-currency and multi-lingual enabled networking solution was an upgrade to the companys Bancs 2000, Infosys President, MD, Nandan Nilakeni said here today.
L&T to diversify in Infotech
MUMBAI, July 5 (UNI)
L&T group will steer to the new economy
stressing more on the information technology sector,
according to its Chief A.M. Naik. Mr Naik, told a news
conference, L&T group intends to play a major
role in the new economy and stress in the IT
sector. He said that apart from the cement,
engineering and other business interests, the multi-crore
group will stress more on the Information Technology
NEW DELHI, July 5 The e-tailing portal, jaldi.com, has tied up with Delhi based elabh.com, a Systems America funded internet intermediary that pays cash to consumers for surfing online.
NEW DELHI, July 5 Sun Microsystems and Edutech Informatics India Limited have entered into a strategic alliance to extend the Sun Authorised Centres status to 10 Informatics Centres nationwide for java education.
NEW DELHI, July 5 ITspace.com has been voted the best Indian website for community under the people choice category by WebWiz Awards 2000.
CHANDIGARH, July 5 Haryana cooperative sugar mills, for the first time in the past many years, have cleared all arrears amounting to Rs 290.67 crore of sugarcane growers in the state. The Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, said the Haryana Government had given the highest ever sugarcane price of Rs 110 per quintal to farmers, which resulted in an additional income of Rs 42 crore to the farmers.
HDFC launches mutual fund
MUMBAI, July 5 (UNI) Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) Limited today launched its mutual fund under the HDFC Asset Management Company (AMC) by offering three open-ended schemes income fund, growth fund and balance fund to augment a resource target of Rs 400 crore from public in just three weeks of subscription period.
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