Geographical Indications denote the origin and the quality of products. Among others, it restores customer’s confidence, besides protecting the authenticity of the product. GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and ensures good qualities or a reputation in the region.
Earlier this week, Lieutenant Governor inaugurated a workshop on GIs of North-Western Himalayas at SKUAST, Jammu. He underlined that GI could be a game changer for the rural economy and that J&K will lead in its use for agricultural and handicraft sectors.
GIs are tipped to substantially extend wider benefits to rural areas while strengthening historical and cultural link between place and people.
Apart from ensuring sustainable livelihoods and generating more income for producers, GIs can play a key role in protection of indigenous knowledge. It helps the particular geographical area to produce and sustain niche market products. The government, of late, has made efforts regarding GI tagging of niche and premium local products to create their distinctive identity.
GI Tagging of Kashmir’s Saffron, hand knotted carpets, papier mache and several other products, it said, resulted in huge success for local producers.
Importantly, the government said, GI Tagging of several other products is in the pipeline and is likely to bring socio-economic prosperity in respective areas.
Last year, Indian Institute of Carpet Technology (IICT) introduced QR Code mechanism for the purpose of testing and certification of hand-knotted carpets produced in Kashmir under GI of Goods Act 1999.
As has been correctly stated by the Kashmir traders’ body, the GI for Kashmir hand-knotted carpets will capture vital parameters of the Carpet—GI user, manufacturers, artisans, knots per square inch, the material used etc.
Kashmir enjoys a prominent position on the world map of exports. However, over the past few years, machine made and fake goods are being sold in the name Kashmir handicrafts which is detrimental to the future of the craft sector. The introduction of QR code will surely facilitate the artisans and weavers to avail testing, certification, and labelling facility for authentication of the products.
Among others, presently, 23 crops or products have been tentatively identified for GI Tagging from Jammu and Kashmir. As per the officials, technical working groups have been formed for these products to apply for GI certification. There is need by concerned authorities to go for awareness and sensitization campaigns to connect with farmers to inform them about the GI tag for their crops and benefits.