List of Geographical Indications [GI Tags] in India

GI tag is the abbreviation of Geographical Indications tags in India. It came into force with effect from 15th September 2003. Darjeeling Tea was the first Indian product to get a GI tag. This article will discuss more such information on GI in detail. 

Government has allotted GI Tags to Kashmir Saffron and Manipuri Black Rice recently.

GI tags to 4 new products from 3 different states in August 2019.

  1. Palani Panchamirtham in Palani Town, Tamil Nadu
  2. Tawlhlohpuan from Mizoram
  3. Mizo Puanchei from Mizoram
  4. Tirur Betel leaf from Kerala

Madhya Pradesh’s plea to put state’s basmati rice under Geographical Indication tag was recently dismissed. Aspirants should be aware of the list of GI Tags in India as it is important for IAS Exam and other competitive exams.

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Table of contents – 

List of GI Tags 2020-21

Note: The GI Tags 2021 will be updated here as and when announced for any products.

Various products from different states received GI tags in 2019-20 which includes Jeeraphool from Chhattisgarh, Himachali Kala Zeera, Kandhamal Haldi from Odisha, etc. the complete list of geographical indications tagged products for 2019-20 is given below:

GI Tags 2019-2020
Products Categories States/UTs
Kashmir Saffron Agriculture Jammu & Kashmir
Manipuri Black Rice Food Stuff Manipur
Kandhamal Haladi  Agricultural  Odisha
Rasagola  Food Stuff  Odisha
Kodaikanal Malai Poondu  Agricultural  Tamil Nadu
Pawndum  Handicraft  Mizoram
Ngotekherh  Handicraft  Mizoram
Hmaram Handicraft  Mizoram
Palani Panchamirtham Food Stuff  Tamil Nadu
Tawlhlohpuan  Handicraft  Mizoram
Mizo Puanchei  Handicraft  Mizoram
Gulbarga Tur Dal  Agricultural  Karnataka
Tirur Betel Leaf (Tirur Vettila) Agricultural  Kerala
Khola Chilli  Agricultural  Goa
Idu Mishmi Textiles  Handicraft  Arunachal Pradesh
Dindigul Locks  Manufactured  Tamil Nadu
Kandangi Saree  Handicraft  Tamil Nadu
Srivilliputtur Palkova  Food Stuff  Tamil Nadu
Kaji Nemu  Agricultural  Assam

The topic of GI tags is important for both UPSC Prelims and Mains examination. For more information on UPSC 2021 exam, please check the linked page.

Aspirants of UPSC exam must be well versed with the topic. The complete list of products covered under Geographical Indications in India and list of GI Tags 2019-20 are given in the PDF below:

List of products with Geographical Indications [GI Tags]- Download PDF Here

Important GI Tags in India (2019-20):-Download PDF Here

What is GI Tag?

A GI or Geographical Indication is a name or a sign given to certain products that relate to a specific geographical location or origins like a region, town or country.

Using Geographical Indications may be regarded as a certification that the particular product is produced as per traditional methods, has certain specific qualities, or has a particular reputation because of its geographical origin.

Geographical indications are typically used for wine and spirit drinks, foodstuffs, agricultural products, handicrafts, and industrial products.

GI Tag ensures that none other than those registered as authorized users are allowed to use the popular product name. In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place.

Who accords and regulates Geographical Indications?

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.

Important topics of UPSC Syllabus can be checked here. 

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 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

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:

  1. So-called sui generis systems (i.e. special regimes of protection)
  2. Using collective or certification marks
  3. 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

  • 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 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.

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