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Geographical Indications [GI Tags] in News

A geographical indication identifies agricultural or natural or manufactured goods as originating or manufactured in the territory of a country or region or locality in that territory. where a given quality, reputation or other characteristics of such goods is essentially attributable to its geographical origin and, in case where such goods are manufactured goods, one of the activities of either the production or processing or preparation of the goods concerned takes place in such territory, region, or locality, as the case may be. Darjeeling Tea was the first Indian product to get a GI tag.

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Geographical Indications [GI Tags]

  • A Geographical Indication (GI) is a sign used on products that belong to a specific geographical region and hold qualities that are due to that particular region.
  • GI is an indication used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
  • Such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to its origin in that defined geographical locality.
  • In India, GI tags are given on the basis of the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.
  • The registration of a Geographical Indication is valid for a period of ten years.
  • It is issued by the Geographical Indications Registry (Chennai).

Benefits of registrations of Geographical Indication (GI)

  • It provides legal protection to GIs in India and unauthorized use of a registered GI by others.
  • It promotes the economized prosperity of producers and enables seeking protection in other WTO member countries.
  • It boosts the exports of Indian GIs by providing legal protection.
Update: 1st May 2020

GI tag to Manipur black rice, Gorakhpur terracotta


  • It is a black rice variety of Manipur, and Gorakhpur terracotta have bagged the Geogrphical Indication (GI) tag.
  • It is a scented glutinous rice which has been in cultivation in Manipur over centuries, is characterised by its special aroma.
  • It is normally eaten during community feasts and is served as Chak-Hao kheer.
  • Chak-Hao has also been used by traditional medical practitioners as part of traditional medicine.
  • This rice takes the longest cooking time of 40-45 minutes due to the presence of a fibrous bran layer and higher crude fibre content.
  • At present, the traditional system of Chak-Hao cultivation is practised in some pockets of Manipur.
  • Direct sowing of pre-soaked seeds and also transplantation of rice seedlings raised in nurseries in puddled fields are widely practised in the State’s wetlands.

The terracotta work of Gorakhpur

  • Terracotta is a unique and special kind of ceramic craft.
  • The terracotta work of Gorakhpur is a centuries-old traditional art form, where the potters make various animal figures like, horses, elephants, camel, goat and ox with hand-applied ornamentation.
  • Some of the major products of craftsmanship include the Hauda elephants, Mahawatdar horse, deer, camel, five-faced Ganesha, singled-faced Ganesha, elephant table, chandeliers and hanging bells.
  • Traditionally, what makes it different from other terracotta crafts is that it involves ornamentation, use of natural colours / dyes and experimentation with innovative shapes.
  • The raw material used for this craft is a type of soil available locally which gives the item a natural colour.
  • The clay used in the terracotta products is ‘Kabis’ clay which is found in the ponds of Aurangabad, Bharwalia and Budhadih areas.
  • Such clay is found only in the months of May and June.
Update: 2nd May 2020

Kashmir saffron gets GI tag

Kashmir saffron gets GI tag

  • Kashmir saffron, which is cultivated and harvested in the Karewa (highlands) of Jammu and Kashmir, has been given the Geographical Indication (GI).
  • The spice is grown in some regions of Kashmir, including Pulwama, Budgam, Kishtwar and Srinagar.
  • Kashmir saffron is renowned globally as a spice. It rejuvenates health and is used in cosmetics and for medicinal purposes.
  • It has been associated with traditional Kashmiri cuisine and represents the rich cultural heritage of the region.
  • The unique characteristics of Kashmir saffron are its longer and thicker stigmas, natural deep-red colour, high aroma, bitter flavour, chemical-free processing, and high quantity of crocin (colouring strength), safranal (flavour) and picrocrocin (bitterness).
  • It is the only saffron in the world grown at an altitude of 1,600 m to 1,800 m AMSL (above mean sea level).

The saffron available in Kashmir is of three types —

  • Lachha Saffron’, with stigmas just separated from the flowers and dried without further processing;
  • ‘Mongra Saffron’, in which stigmas are detached from the flower, dried in the sun and processed traditionally; and
  • ‘Guchhi Saffron’, which is the same as Lachha, except that the latter’s dried stigmas are packed loosely in air-tight containers while the former has stigmas joined together in a bundle tied with a cloth thread.
  • Iran is the largest producer of saffron and India is a close competitor.
  • With the GI tag, Kashmir saffron would gain more prominence in the export market
Update: 12th May 2020

GI tag for Thanjavur Netti Works, Arumbavur Wood Carvings

The Thanjavur Netti Works

Thanjavur Netti Works
Thanjavur Netti Works
  • Thanjavur Netti Works – Tamil Nadu (Thanjavur Pith Work) is made from pith. The pith is obtained from netti, a hydrophyte plant called as Aeschynomene aspera.
  • The artisans are skilled in this particular craft and this art is traditionally transferred from their forefathers.
  • The lakes around Pudukottai (Pudukullam & Kallaperumbur lake) are surrounded with marshy land which favours the growth of the hydrophytic plant.
  • The soil found in Thanjavur is favourable for the growth of the plant that is used for the production of pith handicraft based in Thanjavur.
  • The notable works from Thanjavur Netti Works include models of the Brihadeeshwara Temple, Hindu idols, garlands, door hangings and show pieces used for decoration.
  • The pith stems are found in and around the Thanjavur region and Mannargudi.

Arumbavur wood carvings

Arumbavur Wood Carving

  • Arumbavur Wood Carving is done at Arumbavur and around the Veppanthattai taluk of Perambalur district. Tamil Nadu 
  • The wood carvings are primarily made out of wooden logs of Indian trees , mango , lingam tree , Indian ash tree , rosewood, neem tree .
  • The carvings in Arambavur Wood Carvings are often inspired by architectural details on temple sculptures and carvings.
  • The dimensions of the wood blocks used depend on the wooden sculpture to be carved.
  • The descriptions and designs which inspire the work lie in temple architecture indigenous to the region. Usually, the statues are crafted in the range of 1 to 12 feet.
  • Sculptures of Lord Vinayaka, Goddess Saraswati, Lord Krishna, Lord Siva and Goddess Parvathi can be seen in Arumbavur Wood Carvings, along with motifs such as hamsa/mythical swans, poomakhumbhal cornucopia, kaamadhenu, other floral motifs; temple chariots and temple cars used during processions of deities, figures of Christ, Dasavatara panels, avatars of Goddess Laksmi and vahanas for temple deities among numerous other designs .
Update: 13th May 2020

(GI) tag  for Jharkhand’s Sohrai Khovar painting and Telangana’s Telia Rumal

Jharkhand’s Sohrai Khovar painting

Jharkhand’s Sohrai Khovar paint
Jharkhand’s Sohrai Khovar paint
  • “The Sohrai Khovar painting is a traditional and ritualistic mural art being practised by local tribal women during local harvest and marriage seasons using local, naturally available soils of different colours in the area of Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand.
  • The Sohrai Khovar painting is primarily being practised only in the district of Hazaribagh.
  • Khovar refers to the decoration of the marriage chambers and Sohrai is the harvest painting on the mud houses, repairing it after the rains and offering a thanksgiving to the forces of Nature.
  • Traditionally painted on the walls of mud houses, they are now seen on other surfaces, too. The style features a profusion of lines, dots, animal figures and plants, often representing religious iconography.
  • Popular Sohrai motifs are animals, birds, lizards, elephants and Pashupati (the creator of all animals), who is usually riding on the back of an animal.
  • The Technique: Natural ochre colours make up the palette — dhudhi mitti (white in colour), lal mitti or red oxide from the local mines, kaali mitti or manganese black and peeli mitti or yellow ochre.
  • These colours are collected in the form of lumps and powdered. They are then mixed with water and glue and applied on the canvas or handmade paper.
  • In recent years, the walls of important public places in Jharkhand, such as the Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi, and the Hazaribagh and Tatanagar Railway Stations, among others, have been decorated with Sohrai-Khovar paintings.

Telangana’s Telia Rumal

Telia Rumal
Telia Rumal
  • Telia Rumal cloth involves intricate handmade work with cotton loom displaying a variety of designs and motifs in three particular colours — red, black and white.
  • Telia Rumal can only be created using the traditional handloom process and not by any other mechanical means as otherwise, the very quality of the Rumal would be lost.
  • During the Nizam’s dynasty, Puttapaka, a small, backward village of the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh had about 20 families engaged in handloom weaving, who were patronised by rich Muslim families and the Nizam rulers.
  • The Telia Rumal is a double Ikat weave. The word Ikat is derived from the Malay-Indonesian word mang-ikat, which means to bind or knot, as the yarn that goes into the weave is tied and dyed before being woven.
  • Telia comes from tel (oil), the yarn was treated with a mixture of castor ash and oil to help it retain colour and lend it cooling properties. The word rumal (handkerchief) stuck because this was a square piece of cloth with geometric patterns used as headgear.

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