Srinagar: Geographical Indication (GI) tagging of locally produced products still remains hanging in the air months after the Industries and Commerce Department asked various stakeholders to get their products registered. The delay has left Kashmir’s copper utensils, wood carving, papier-mâché, carpets, and other such traditional crafts and products deprived of the GI tag that indicates that the products have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that is due to that origin.
Geographical tagging is typically used for agricultural, industrial or handicraft products for preventing their fakes in the market.
“In January, following the order of Ministry of Commerce Government of India, we had asked many departments for sending their proposal for the GI of products. None have so far sent any proposal,” said a senior official.
In January this year, through the government order, all the administrative secretaries were asked to furnish details of items which require Geographical Indications registration with Industries and Commerce Department, so that same is shared with the Ministry of commerce and Industry, Government of India. But, the official said, nothing has been done so far.
Nazim Zia Khan, Director Industries Kashmir, told Kashmir Reader he cannot comment on it.
So far, as part of the efforts to protect the local goods known for their qualities and reputation, 9 items made in J&K currently have GI. Recently, the J&K administration issued the GI certificate for saffron grown in Kashmir Valley. It was aimed at arresting the steep decline in saffron production in Kashmir because it faces stiff competition from Iranian saffron, which has captured over 90% share of the world market. Pashmina shawls is another Kashmiri item which has the GI tag. This was given after Amritsar started making facsimile shawls which were being sold in the name of Kashmir, bringing it disrepute.
But there are other Kashmir specific products which immediately needed the same, but the process remains halted.