Sanjeev Kumar Gupta, chairman, Liberty House
- Geographical Indication
Spiritual Corner: Science of Karma
Last November, Rosogolla and seven
other products were awarded Geographical Indication (GI) status, taking the total GI-registered products in India to 342. Last November also brought an end to the bitter battle for the iconic sweet, Rosogolla, between West Bengal and Odisha, with the former getting the right over the syrupy sweet.
So, what is this GI status, and how does it help the products so registered? GI is a name or sign used on products which correspond to a specific geographical location or origin (for instance, a town, a region or a country). The use of a GI as a type of indication of source may act as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities, is made according to traditional methods, or enjoys a certain reputation due to its geographical origin.
Governments have been protecting trade names and trademarks used in relation to food products identified with a particular region since at least the end of the 19th century, using laws against false trade descriptions, which generally protect against suggestions that a product has a certain origin, quality or association when it does not. In such cases, the limitation on competitive freedoms which results from the grant of a monopoly of use over a geographical indication is justified by governments either by consumer protection benefits or by producer protection benefits.
Since the first GI was registered in India in 2004, 342 GIs have been granted in the country by Chennaibased Geographical Indications Registry. Last November, along with Rosogolla, Banganapalle mangoes of Andhra Pradesh, Tulapanji rice of
West Bengal, Pochampally Ikat silk sarees of Telangana, Gobindobhog rice of West Bengal, Durgi stone carvings and Etikoppaka toys of Andhra Pradesh and Chakshesang shawl of Nagaland were given the GI status. Some other products from India to get the tag include Darjeeling tea, Madhubani paintings, Kashmir pashmina and Nagpur oranges.
Geographical indications are generally traditional products, produced by rural communities over generations, which have gained a reputation on the markets for their specific qualities. The recognition and protection on the markets of the names of these products allows the community of producers to invest in maintaining the specific qualities of the product on which the reputation is built. In short, the GI tag protects and promotes local products and the local economy.
West Bengal's Rosogolla recently got the GI tag, taking the number of GIregistered products in India to 342.