GI tag to spur farm, MSME exports in UP
UP, which had in 2018 launched a flagship scheme titled “One District, One Product” (ODOP) to promote indigenous industries, handicrafts and traditional agri produce, has now decided to constitute a GI Board to promote exports of such items across different segments.
The controversy between India and Pakistan with regard to laying a claim of origin over ‘Basmati’ rice and a similar tug-of-war between West Bengal and Odisha over the traditional Indian sweetmeat ‘Rasgulla’ or ‘Rosogolla’ are vivid in our memories.
In both of these sample cases, the rivals had zealously pleaded ownership of these iconic brands. The main driving force behind their respective vehement argument was the pride associated with these products as well as the commercial element embedded in these brands.
Products that have a distinct geographical pedigree are certified by the Geographical Indication (GI) registry at the national and international levels.
Uttar Pradesh (UP), which had in 2018 launched a flagship scheme titled “One District, One Product” (ODOP) to promote indigenous industries, handicrafts and traditional agri produce, has now decided to constitute a GI Board to promote exports of such items across the different segments.
The proposed Board will mount a 360-degree strategy for marketing and branding the state’s indigenous product line, most of which are included in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector.
In India, the GI registration is granted by the Chennai-based Geographical Indication Registry after a due diligence process to vet the claims by the specific region/authorities over a traditional industrial, handicraft or natural product, such as Lucknow Chikan Zardozi, Dussehri Mango, Banarasi Sari etc.
GI registration is an insignia of products having a unique geographical origin and evolution over centuries. It is a mark of authenticity and helps in quick brand recall in marketing. It is governed by the Geographical Indications of the Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.
The GI Board, to be headed by the UP chief secretary, will prepare the strategy to promote GI products globally. It will coordinate with the statutory national bodies engaged in the promotion, branding, marketing and export of traditional products.
Besides, the Board will identify the potential products for GI registration and organize the local entrepreneurs. UP chief secretary RK Tiwari has asked officials to prepare the blueprint for the speedy constitution of the GI Board so as to benefit all the 75 districts.
Meanwhile, the UP government has urged the Centre to provide customs clearance facility at Varanasi for faster air cargo movement. Interestingly, Varanasi is the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Moreover, the state has commissioned a study on the feasibility of reopening the Bhadohi-based Inland Container Depot (ICD), which has a mandate of dispatching 6,000 containers every month.
(Virendra Singh Rawat is a Lucknow-based financial and economic journalist.)