The story on the fight for retail brand names (“It’s Biyani vs Ambani over Bazar trademark”, Mint 21 May) tells us about things to come on the retail scene. Kishore Biyani of Big Bazaar has every right to question the use of trademark “Bazar” that has been nurtured by him over the years under the provisions of the competition law. However, your conclusion that it’s unusual for two Indian corporate giants to be involved in a controversy regarding usage of brand names is not wholly correct. In the past, too, there have been cases involving copying of popular brands. Copying brand names involves elements of “deception” and “goodwill”. The registrar of companies has the power to discourage the use of similar or similar-sounding names for private and public limited companies. The objectives of such restrictions are to safeguard the interests of ordinary citizens in their buying decisions.
- K.V. Rao
The Wider Angle column on Fridays puts across an interesting perspective on most issues. Personally, the ones on teen suicides and the effect of inflation really struck a chord somewhere. Being a student (I’m 15 years old) fresh out of the board exam drama (I gave my class X board exams in March), I can totally empathize with the so-called “exam stress”.
Though suicide is an alternative for weak-hearted people, one cannot really entirely condemn them because we live in a society where a child’s potential is directly associated with the percentage he/she scores at school. That’s it, end of story! Nobody bothers as to what the child is really interested in.
Now, I’m sure the result declaration will also follow suit, i.e., in terms of suicides as has been the pattern in the past few years. All this can only be combated with less emphasis on, if not obsession with, marks and greater concentration on the other facets of one’s personality.
I couldn’t agree more with the fact that inflation has affected us, though that effect is greatly magnified by the hardships and adversity faced by middle-class Indians, who are basically people who do small jobs to earn a living.
Salaries have been on the rise and more multinational corporations are investing in our country. Though there has been a considerable improvement in the standards of living of many Indians, a large number of them have been bereft of all this. Almost half the internal migration in our country gives rise to “domestic helpers”. We are ready to do our domestic chores if we are residing abroad, though in our own country we tend to resort to domestic helpers even for the most petty jobs. It is social and economic disparity that creates such discriminatory jobs.
- Nivedita Rao
This refers to the story, “Ministry to abide by contract, close old airport by month-end”, Mint, 13 May. The civil aviation ministry has tied itself into knots over this project. It will be interesting to watch as to how it extricates itself from the problem at hand without causing any burden on the exchequer.
It, however, needs to be stated that if the authorities had followed the proper procedure — as obtains in Britain and other countries — of holding a preliminary public inquiry wherein all stakeholders are given an opportunity to air their views and opposition to the project, many of the current problems would not have arisen. The ministry would have known the extent of public resentment on the inconvenience that would be caused. There is a clear failure by the executive on this count.
It is surprising the ministry says that the old airport will be used, among others, for flights carrying senior government officials. This statement is amusing as well. For one thing, even Indian Civil Service officers did not enjoy such privileges. Their modern successors are, however, enjoying a perquisite such as a reserved airport. And for what? For putting into place an agreement which has created a tangle?
It is to be noticed that in other airport projects, too, difficulties have arisen, causing inconvenience to customers. Clearly, there is a need for Parliament to invoke the principle of ministerial accountability and civil service responsibility for these costly mistakes. Why should citizens pay for the mistakes they are not responsible for in the first place?
- S. Subramanyan