Why are oranges from Nagpur commonly known as “Nagpur Oranges”? For that matter, why is tea from Darjeeling called “Darjeeling Tea”? This is because these products fall into a category of products that hold a special tag – the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
What is a GI tag?
A Geographical Indication (GI) tag is a sign used on products that originate from a specific geographic location and possess qualities as a result of originating from it. Geographical Indication comes under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property treaty and holds similar rights and protection as copyrights, patents, trademarks, etc.
To get the GI tag, the producer has to apply for it. Once he becomes the owner of the GI tag, he is granted the exclusive rights to prevent any third party to use products that are similar or do not conform to its applicable standards. For example, the producers of Darjeeling tea can prohibit the use of the term “Darjeeling” for tea not grown in their tea gardens or not produced as per the standards defined in the laws of Geographical Indication.
GI protection extends to a wide range of products including:
- Agricultural Products
- Industrial Products
- Wine and Spirits
Did You Know?
- GI tag is granted by the Geographical Indications Registry under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of 1999.
- Darjeeling Tea was the first Indian product to get the GI tag in 2004.
- As of now, more than 300 products from India have been accorded the GI tags.
- Karnataka has the highest number of GI tags i.e. for 47 products.
- Handicrafts goods have received the highest number of GI tags.
- The GI tag is valid only for 10 years. After that period expired, it needs to be renewed for the next 10 years.
- Some of the major products with GI tags are blue pottery of Rajasthan, Pashmina from Kashmir, Phulkari from Punjab, Mizo chilli from Mizoram, Nagpur oranges, Mysore silk from Karnataka, Pokkali rice from Kerala, Chickankari from Lucknow, etc.
Importance of GI tag
Enhances economic growth
GI tagged goods lead to the economic prosperity of its producers or manufacturers. The promotion of these products enhances the economic activities in a specific region and result in boosting the regional economy. Furthermore, the protection of products with geographical indication creates a positive image and reputation of the product and brings incentives to the producers.
Prevents unauthorized use
GI tag offers legal protection to the product and prevents anyone not belonging to the GI region from using it. The registered holder of the GI tag can initiate legal proceedings against unauthorized users to save their reputation from being damaged.
One of the major reasons for registering a geographical indication is to seek protection for specific products originating from or produced in a particular geographical region. This encourages the marketers to expand their business not just in the domestic market, but in the international market too.
GI tagging helps in building a global reputation for the tagged products. People from all over the world come to know about these products and feel motivated to visit the regions where they originated from. This in turn helps in the growth of the tourism industry.
GI for agricultural products
While the handicrafts category holds the highest number of GI tags, agricultural products are the second to follow. Fruits and vegetable crops including mangoes, bananas, grapes, strawberries, guavas, kokum fruit, figs, onions, brinjals, and chillies – all have obtained GI tags for different regions. The GI tagging enables agricultural products to acquire a niche market due to its linkage to a particular locality. These GI-tagged crops are brought to the market yards or mandis and prepared for auction. Aadathiyas organize these auctions and ultimately sell the products to potential buyers.
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