Geographical Indications Current Affairs - 2019

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GI Tag accorded to three new products

Geographical Indications Registry under Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has accorded Geographical Indication (GI) tag to Tirur betel leaf from Kerala, Tawlhlohpuan fabric and Mizo Puanchei shawl/textile from Mizoram. GI product is recognised as originating from specific geographical origin possessing qualities or reputation related to its origin. This tag is exclusive and similar item originating from different location is not allowed to use it.

Key Facts

Tirur betel Leaf (Kerala): It is mainly cultivated in Tirur, Tanur, Tirurangadi, Kuttippuram, Malappuram and Vengara block panchayaths of Malappuram District of Kerala.  It is valued both for its mild stimulant action and medicinal properties. Though it is commonly used for making pan masala for chewing, it has many medicinal, industrial and cultural usages. It is considered as a remedy for bad breath and digestive disorders.

Tawlhlohpuan (Mizoram): It is compactly woven fabric from Mizoram. It is known for warp yarns, warping, weaving and intricate designs that are made by hand. It holds high significance in Mizo society. It is produced throughout Mizoram, especially in Aizawl and Thenzawl town which are main centres of production.

Mizo Puanchei (Mizoram): It is colourful Mizo shawl considered essential by most women from State and common costume in Mizo festive dances and official ceremonies. It is made by weavers by inserting designs and motifs by using supplementary yarns while weaving to create this beautiful and alluring textile.

GI Tag: Kolhapuri chappals

The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (CGPDTM) has granted Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Kolhapuris, the ethnic leather chappal (footwear) to four districts in each state of Maharashtra and Karnataka. These 8 districts are- Kolhapur, Sangli, Solapur and Satara districts of Maharashtra and Belgaum, Dharwad, Bagalkot and Bijapur districts of Karnataka.

Kolhapuri Chappal

Uniqueness: These sturdy leather chappals are hand-crafted and tanned using vegetable dyes and the art of making them is passed down one generation to another.

History: As per GI application made by two states of Mharashtra and Karnataka, Kolhapuris can be traced back to 12th century when King Bijjal ruled Bidar (in Karnataka). King’s Prime Minister Vishwaguru Basavanna, wanted to create a casteless society and remove stigma attached to cobbler community, thus, the community embraced Lingayat faith and used its skills to start producing footwear that came to be known equally for its ruggedness and regal bearing.

‘Kolhapuri’ as a Brand was created only at beginning of 20th century when footwear began to be traded in Kolhapur (Maharashtra). Later, Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur encouraged its production and 29 tanning centres were opened during his rule in Kolhapur.

Benefits of GI Tag

It will help artisans export these chappals and also tie up with e-commerce giants such as Flipkart and Amazon.

With GI tag now these local artisans get legal support. Thus, anyone who is going to copy this can be punished.

Significance of GI tag

Getting GI tag will open large markets, both domestic and international to artisans who produce Kolhapuris. Also, getting GI tag for Kolhapuri means that footwear produced only in these 8 districts will qualify to carry tag of being Kolhapuris.

What is Geographical Indications?

GI is used on products/items which have specific geographical origin and possess qualities, reputation and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to its origin in that defined geographical locality.

Validity: The tag is valid for a period of 10 years following which it can be renewed.

GI India: Recently Union Minister of Commerce and Industry launched logo and tagline for Geographical Indications (GI) of India. The 1st product to get a GI tag in India was Darjeeling tea (2004).

The sui generis Act for protection of GI in India is Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 (GI Act). This Act was enacted by India so as to comply with Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) by World Trade Organisation (WTO).