Adding to the present collection of Geographical Indications (GIs), nine new items, including gamocha of Assam, Tandur red gram of Telangana, Raktsey Karpo apricot of Ladakh, and Alibag white onion of Maharashtra, have been given the coveted GI tag. Kerala has been awarded five GI tags for its agricultural produce.
With this, the total number of GI tags in India comes to 432. The top five states holding the maximum number of GIs are Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala. Of these, 401 are Indian-origin products, 31 foreign-origin.
Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are states with the highest number of GI tags, followed by Kerala (35), Uttar Pradesh (34), and Maharashtra (31).
Besides giving a boost to building cross-cultural societies within the country, such activities not only promote the transfer of diverse products among states but also contribute to building a better vibrant cultural society in the future.
Recently, the government supported the promotion of GIs by approving an expenditure of Rs 75 crore for three years for their advertising at awareness programmes.
Recognised by the World Trade Organization (WTO), GI is used to denote the geographical territory from where a product, be it agricultural produce, natural product, or manufactured, conveys the assurance of quality, distinctiveness, and attributes that are unique to that specific geographic region/place of origin.
India became a signatory to this convention, when, as a member of WTO, it enacted the Geographical Indications (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, which came into effect on September 15, 2003.
To protect the GI of goods, a GI registry has been established to administer the GI of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, under the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks.
Any association of persons, producers, organisation or authority established by or under the law can apply. They will need to file an application first and mandatorily get it registered paying a one-time nominal fee.
Goods which carry the coveted GI tag include Basmati rice, Darjeeling tea, Chanderi fabric, Mysore silk, Kullu shawl, Kangra tea, Thanjavur paintings, Allahabad surkha, Farrukhabad prints, Lucknawi zardozi, and Kashmir walnut wood carving.