What is GI Tag?
GI tag or Geographical Indication tag is a sign used to mark products/ items which have any special geographical origin. Those products/ items carry some special reputation or qualities due to their origin.
Products carrying the GI tags indicate that those are originated in traditional methods and contain all the specific qualities. Materials like food items, agricultural products, wine, handicraft etc, generally have the geographical indication tag.
From 15th September 2003, Geographical Indication, known as GI came into effect. The first product to carry the sign was Darjeeling Tea.
List of geographical indications (GI) Tags in India
The GI tags are provided as per the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act,1999. GI tags are issued by the Geographical Indication Registry under the Department of Industry Promotion and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
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Recent GI Tags in India 2020
Following are the Geographical Indication tags given after April 2019 to till date. This might prove to be very important for the UPSC syllabus.
|Jammu & Kashmir||Saffron (Mongra, Lachha, Guchhi)||Agriculture|
|Tamil Nadu||Kovilpatti Kadalai Mittai||Food Item|
|Tamil Nadu||Thanjavur Pith Works||Handicraft|
|Tamil Nadu||Arumbavur Wood Carvings||Handicraft|
|Uttar Pradesh||Gorakhpur Terracotta||Handicraft|
|Jharkhand||Sohrai – Khovar Painting||Handicraft|
GI Tags in India April 2019 – March 2020
Along with the above-mentioned list of GI tags for 2020, try to memorize the below-mentioned list also as this can also find a place in the current affairs paper.
|Odisha||Odisha Rasogolla||Food Item|
|Tamil Nadu||Kodaikanal Malai Poondu||Agricultural|
|Tamil Nadu||Palani Panchamirtham||Food Item|
|Tamil Nadu||Dindigul Locks||Manufactured Goods|
|Tamil Nadu||Kandangi Saree||Handicraft|
|Tamil Nadu||Srivilliputtur Palkova||Food Item|
|Karnataka||Gulbarga Tur Dal||Agricultural|
|Kerala||Tirur Betel Leaf (Tirur Vettila)||Agricultural|
|Ireland||Irish Whiskey||Manufactured Goods|
|Arunachal Pradesh||Idu Mishmi Textiles||Handicraft|
|Assam||Chokuwa Rice of Assam||Agricultural|
Benefits of GI Tags
Geographical indication tags are given to the products for
- Legally protecting the goods.
- Preventing unauthorised or illegal use of geographical indication tags by others.
- Helping customers in getting the original items that contain all the specific traits.
- Promoting the economic prosperity of manufacturers/ producers of items under GI tags. Items with GI tags get enhanced demand in national as well as international markets.
Rural Development Impacts of GI Tag
- A structured supply chain.
- Price enhancement of the product but in a much-stabilised manner.
- The goods get distributed throughout each and every level of the supply chain.
- Preservation of natural resources, tradition as well as traditional expertise.
- Growth in the tourism sector.
This subject is an important part of the UPSC current affairs syllabus as in the previous years also many questions have been asked from this particular topic. Go through the entire article, make important points, appear for mock tests and prepare yourself for the exam.
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Who accords and regulates Geographical Indications GI Tag?
Geographical Indications are covered as a component of intellectual property rights (IPRs) under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. At the International level, GI is governed by the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In India, Geographical Indications registration is administered by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 which came into force with effect from September 2003. The first product in India to be accorded with GI tag was Darjeeling tea in the year 2004-05.
Benefits of GI Tags
The Geographical Indication registration confers the following benefits:
- Legal protection to the products
- Prevents unauthorised use of GI tag products by others
- It helps consumers to get quality products of desired traits and is assured of authenticity
- Promotes the economic prosperity of producers of GI tag goods by enhancing their demand in national and international markets
Along with the benefits, there are certain issues associated with GI tags as well. Off late, there has been a rise in disputes over the question of the place of origin of the product under consideration. This gets aggravated due to a lack of clear historical evidence.
For example, the disputes surrounding the origin of Roshogulla, a popular dessert, from eastern India. Both West Bengal and Odisha claim that the dessert originated in their own states. By ‘winning’ a GI tag, each state is looking to promote its own cultural and regional jingoism over the other.
As a point of discussion, this sort of unhealthy competition tends to polarise the country on regional, cultural and linguistic lines. Most states in their rush to corner as many GI tags as possible have forgotten to pay attention to enhance the value of products already having a GI tag.
As a result, neither the local community nor the customer is benefitting economically. This trend undercuts the very idea of GI protection to native endemic products.
Significance of GI Tags
A geographical indication right facilitates those who have the right to use the indication to prohibit its usage by a third party whose product does not conform to the applicable standards.
For example, in the purview in which the Darjeeling geographical indication is protected, producers of Darjeeling tea can omit the term “Darjeeling” for tea not grown in their tea gardens or not produced according to the norms set out in the code of practice for the geographical indication.
However, a protected GI does not permit the holder to forbid someone from making a product using the same approaches as those set out in the standards for that indication. Protection for a GI tag is usually procured by acquiring a right over the sign that constitutes the indication.
Role of GI Tag in Rural Development
Geographical indications are mostly traditional products, produced by rural communities over generations that have gained prominence on the markets for their precise qualities.
The recognition and protection of the markets of these products allow the producers’ community to devote and maintaining the precise qualities of the product on which the reputation is built. This might also allow them to invest together in promoting the reputation of the product.
Some of the observed rural development impacts of GI are:
- The supply chain is structured around a common product reputation
- Increased and stabilised prices for the GI product
- Distributed through all the levels of the supply chain adds value
- Natural resources can be preserved on which the product is based
- Preservation of traditions and traditional expertise
- Tourism can be boosted
Geographical Indications Protection (Gi Tag)
Geographical indications are protected and preserved in various countries and regional systems through a wide array of approaches and often using a consolidation of two or more approaches.
There are three major ways to protect a geographical indication:
- So-called sui generis systems (i.e. special regimes of protection)
- Using collective or certification marks
- Techniques concentrating on business practices, including administrative product approval schemes
These approaches have been developed in consonance with different legal practices and within a framework of individual historical and economic conditions.
The approaches to protect GI comprise differences with respect to critical questions like conditions for protection or the scope of protection. On the other hand, the two modes of protection mentioned above namely sui generis systems and collective or certification mark systems, share some common characteristics, such as the fact that they set up rights for collective use by those who comply with defined standards.
Way Forward for GI Tag
- The tag for geographical indications needs to be allotted only after a thorough historical and empirical inquiry.
- For products whose origin can’t be effectively traced, either both the states should be given ownership or none of the regions is provided with the GI tag.
- The focus of the states and the community needs to shift from mere certification for the sake of region and instead divert all resources towards active promotion of the product and its respective industry.
Summary of Geographical Indications( GI Tag) in India
- Geographical Indications of Goods are defined as that aspect of industrial property, which refers to the geographical indication referring to a country or to a place situated therein as being the country or place of origin of that product.
- Under Articles 1 (2) and 10 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, geographical indications are covered as an element of IPRs.
- Typically, the GI tag conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to the fact of its origin in that defined geographical locality, region or country.
- They are also covered under Articles 22 to 24 of the TRIPS -Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement, which was part of the Agreements concluding the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations.
- Promoters of Geographical indications regard them as strong tools for protecting their national property rights. Opponents, however, consider GI as a barrier to trade.