Himachal Pradesh aims GI status for five products; what is GI and why state needs it- explained

By: |
December 7, 2020 12:28 PM

The state government of Himachal Pradesh is aiming to obtain Geographical Indication (GI) for five products that are produced in the state.

Getting a GI tag can help in many ways as it provides a better market prospects for the products and can also prevent misuse of the product names. Image: IE

The state government of Himachal Pradesh is aiming to obtain Geographical Indication (GI) for five products that are produced in the state. These products are Karsog Kulth, Chamba Metal Crafts, Thangi of Pangi, Rajmah of Bharmour, and Chamba Chukh. The government is working on identifying the characteristics of these products and then it will apply for the GI status with the central government, a report by The IE noted. After the centre has investigated the claims, then GI is granted. The time period for the whole process is two-four years.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation, a Geographical Indication can be termed as a sign that can be used on a particular product indicating the qualities, geographical origin or a reputation that the product possesses. In India, many agricultural products along with other industrial products and handicrafts have their own GIs. Some examples are Kullu shawl, Darjeeling tea, Mysore agarbathi. To be sure, Himachal Pradesh has already received GI for eight products made in the state. This includes Kullu Shawl, Himachali Chulli Oil, Kangra Tea, Basmati, Himachali Kala Zeera, Chamba Rumal, Kangra Paintings, and Kinnauri Shawl. These GIs are precisely why champagne (France) as well as Swiss watches are known worldwide.

Now, the state government of Himachal Pradesh wants five more products to be recognised. According to the IE report, Karsog Kulth is a legume that is grown as a kharif crop and is believed to be rich in amino acids. Similarly, Pangi ki Thangi is a kind of a hazelnut that has unique flavour and sweetness. Bharmouri Rajmah are also famous for their flavour and are grown particularly in the area around Kugti Pass in the Bharmour region of Chamba district.

Chamba Chukh, on the other hand, is a chutney made from green and red chillies native to Chamba district in the state. The preparedness for this chutney is traditional and unique in many ways. The report said that this practice has declined largely in rural households of the district. Lastly, Chamba metal crafts are inclusive of items like metal idols and brass utensils which hold historical meaning to it. The state government wants GI for this to revive the trade.

Getting a GI tag can help in many ways as it provides a better market prospects for the products and can also prevent misuse of the product names. It is to note that the GI tag is given to an area. Therefore, traders dealing in products (registered for GI) can apply with the government to sell the products with the GI logo. For example, Kullu shawl is registered for GI and has 135 authorised traders. This means that a shawl made in some other part of the country cannot be sold as a ‘kullu shawl’. It is also believed that giving a GI tag to a unique product increases its value and improves trade. So far, India has 370 registered GIs.

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