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NGOs tell Modi not to succumb to US pressure on intellectual property

by Prasad Krishna last modified Jul 02, 2016 05:14 AM
A group of NGOs have appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to succumb to pressure from the US on the issue of intellectual property regime (IPR).

The article by Rinku Patel was published in India Tribune on June 7, 2016.

More than 10 eminent NGOs in a statement urged Modi to reconsider the implementation of the National IPR Policy and send the policy back to the drawing board.

It urged the Prime Minister to “withstand the pressure from the US government and corporations and to defend the people’s interests” and to reject any demand to either initiate negotiation on free trade agreements and/or bilateral investment treaty with the US or joining the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The NGOs are Forum Against FTAs, Lawyers Collective, All Indian Drug Action Network, Initiative for Health & Equity in Society, Third World Network, National Working Group on Patent Laws, Gene Campaign, New Trade Union Initiative, Navdanya, Software Freedom Law Centre, and Centre for Internet and Society.

The NGOs also urged Modi to ensure transparency and accountability in the engagements with the US on IP issues by tabling a White Paper in Parliament.

They alleged that the IP maximalist agenda in the policy fully ignores the socio-economic needs of people of India and serves the profit motives of Multi National Corporations

“We understand the primary intent of the policy is to respond to the aggressive demands of US government, backed by the corporate interests especially the pharmaceutical companies, to amend India’s IP laws that include several safeguards to protect the public interest,” it said.

“The government of India should remain committed to the welfare of its people’s interest and should not succumb to the pressures that it is being subjected to. Above all, the government must fulfill its obligation to protect the rights of the citizens that have been guaranteed by the constitution, in particular, right to health, right to education, and right to food,” they said.

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