The Liberty Institute released the 3rd International Property Rights Index 2009. The IPRI stands as the most comprehensive effort at creating an international gauge of private property rights throughout the world.
In the report covering 115 countries, Finland again topped the IPRI ranking while Bangladesh ended up at the bottom of the list. India’s rank has gone down considerably from 36th in 2008 to 46th in 2009.
“The IPRI 2009 has come at a very opportune time for us. The Supreme Court has just admitted a petition questioning the validity of the 44th amendment to the Indian constitution which had deleted property rights from the fundamental rights in the constitution in 1978,” says Barun Mitra Director of Liberty Institute. “The protests across the country against land acquisition by government have brought the discourse land and property rights on the political agenda today. Likewise, the debate over intellectual property rights has gained significance on account of copyrights, patents and Geographical indicators, cutting across different sectors of the economy. The IPRI 2009 should help us assess the state of property rights in India, and help stimulate a more objective discussion on the critical issue”, he adds.
Further, the starting point of the Index is the correlation between the protection of private property rights and economic development. This together with the definition of private property and the results derived from the opinion survey constitute the three core categories considered essential to the strengthening and protecting a country’s private property system: Legal and Political Environment (LP), Physical Property Rights (PPR) and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) India ranks 53rd in the Legal and Political Environment with a score of 4.9, 36th in the Physical Property Rights with a score of 6.7 and 49th in the Intellectual Property Rights with a score of 5.1.
In the three rapidly growing economies of the world - India, Pakistan and China these countries, there is a need for improvement in the area of protection of private and intellectual property rights. The report states the existence of an effective IPR depends upon that the recognition of patent, copyright and trademark legislations, the establishment of systems and mechanisms to enforce IPR. While for greater improvement of the protection of property rights, the legal and the political environment is a main contributory factor.
The report studies the importance of Geographical Indication (GI) as the most contentious part of Intellectual Property Rights with the case of Darjeeling Tea in India. WTO's Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) defines GI as any indication that identifies a product as originating from a particular place, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristics of the product are essentially attributable to its geographical origin. Hence, the report says it is important for India to seek extension of GI protection to other products apart from wines and spirits by amending Article 23 of the TRIPS.
The IPRI continues its efforts to educate politicians as well as economists, entrepreneurs and policy makers about the importance of developing and protecting property rights around the world. Hernando De Soto, whose seminal work on property rights led to the conception of the IPRI, said this year’s results “continue to point out the relationship between a strong property rights system and a country’s economic well-being, revealing that much still needs to be done to extend property rights to more people, especially the poor.”
The International Property Rights Index provides the public, researchers and policymakers, from across the globe, with a tool for comparative analysis and future research on global property rights. The Index seeks to assist underperforming countries to develop robust economies through an emphasis on sound property law.