Thursday, March 12, 2009

Goa and Geographical Indications (GI)

Goa has reportedly managed to get Geographical indication for its brand of Goan Feni after seemingly being blind to the need of the feni  bottle from Goasame. A few other products of Goa are also currently in the news to be in queue for the GI tag.

However one wonders whether Goa is actually dragging its feet in acquiring the GI tag for a host of Goan products which desperately need to be protected against impersonation by other vested interests in India and the world, thereby threatening our sense of identity with these products or names.

The Geographical Indications Registry was established by the Ministry of Commerce in Chennai as per the Geographical Indication of Goods ( registration and Protection) Act 1999.

Under this act, agricultural, natural or any manufactured goods originating or manufactured  in the territory of a country or a region or a locality in that territory, where a given quality reputation or other characteristic of such goods is essentially attributable to tits geographical origin and in cases where such goods are manufactured goods, one of the activities of either production or processing or preparation of the goods concerned takes place in such territory, region or locality, are registrable as geographical indications.

The Registrar of geographical Indications determines whether a particular product is registrable under the GI norms , after the receipt of application for such registration is given.

Geographical Indications registration gives to the registered proprietor and its authorised users, the legal right to the exclusive use of the GI and also the right to obtain relief in case of its infringement. Exclusion of unauthorized persons from misusing GI would ensure that genuine products of the rightful producers are marketed

However Geographical Indication cannot be claimed merely on an application. It is important that the "items" in question  have a specific geographical origin and have the  essential qualities that can be assigned as being from that place of origin.

Unique characteristics are also measured for GIP( Geographically Indicated Products) and are used to identify agricultural, natural or manufactured goods from a particular area or region which has a special quality characteristic based on various factors including climactic or specific production characteristics which may be unique and distinguishable to that area

A geographical indication therefore helps to convey to the consumer or the user, about the knowledge of the product origin related to a particular place which makes it inherit certain  characteristics that are due to that place of production.

It is therefore very important for Goa to identify all the products either agricultural, manufactured or natural, within the state and prepare a dossier to study before some select committee so that the Goa and Geographical Indication right items can be chosen to apply for Geographical Indicated Products. The government of Goa needs to put this committee immediately in place and evolve a credible policy and plan for identification and registration of all the Goan products which deserve GIP thereby saving Goa from the onus of being unscrupulously copied in various fields by vested interests.

While Goa is basking in its glory of tourism at the moment we might e suddenly left with our legacy in the wrong hands and thereby be strangers to our own products unless we stand up. States such as Himachal Pradesh, Madhya pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan,Gujarat Tamil Nadu,  Kerala,Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, have a plan and policy already in place and have got GIP status for their local products. Accordfing to teh Ministry of commerce the followng items from these states have  got registration as GIP . they are Pochampally Ikat (Andhra Pradesh); Chanderi saree (Guna, Madhya Pradesh); Kotpad Handloom fabric (Koraput, Orissa); Kota Doria (Kota, Rajasthan); Kancheepuram silk (Tamil Nadu); Bhavani Jamakkalam (Erode, Tamil Nadu); Mysore Agarbathi (Mysore, Karnataka); Aranmula Kannadi (Kerala); Salem fabric (Tamil Nadu); Solapur terry towel (Maharashtra); Mysore silk (Karnataka); Kullu shawl (Himachal Pradesh); Madurai Sungudi (Tamil Nadu); Kangra tea (Himachal Pradesh); Coorg Orange (Karnataka); Mysore betel leaf (Karnataka); Nanjanagud banana (Karnataka); Mysore sandalwood oil (Karnataka); Mysore sandal soap (Karnataka); Bidriware (Karnataka); Channapatna toys & dolls (Karnataka); Coimbatore wet grinder (Tamil Nadu); Mysore rosewood inlay (Karnataka); Kasuti embroidery (Karnataka); Mysore traditional paintings (Karnataka) and Orissa Ikat (Orissa).

Goa has a wealth of products which we can and should apply for in a mindset which needs to show some urgency. From Goan chillies to Goan mangoes, from Goan cashew nuts to Goan rice, From the Goan coconut vinegar to the Goan onions , from Goan brinjals to Goan pickles there is absolutely an open sky when it comes to the amount of products which are dying for the Geographical Indication.

It would take another post to list out the details of each of these products which are desperately calling the attention of the government of Goa.

Xittuk Goencar

1 comment:

Dwijen Rangnekar said...

There is some research on geographical indications and the case of feni that is available at

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