Daily News Analysis

Geographical Indication

1st October, 2021 Economy

Figure 1: No Copyright Infringement Intended

Context:

  • In the recent times, many products have received the geographical indicator tag.

 

Benefits:

 

  • with the emphasis on climate change and sustainability, these products can be ready revenue generators. 
  • India’s global brand recall and attributes of multi-cultural ethos, authenticity, and ethnic diversity  are brought out by these 
  • Amazon’s local to global programme has taken Indian producers and their products such as Delta Leather Corporation’s leather and SVA Organics’s organic products to 18 global markets in over 200 countries, increasing demand and company size by as much as 300 times.
  • it encourages the preservation of biodiversity, local know-how and natural resources.
  • It will automatically resolve the three fraught India issues of poor pay for talent, low female participation in the labour force, and urban migration.
  • it will convert talent into entrepreneurship with gig workers, and create a “passion” economy, that is, a new way for individuals to monetise their skills and scale their businesses exponentially. 
  • the labour-intensive nature of GI offers the best solution to boosting the employment-to-population ratio in India, an abysmal 43 per cent compared with the 55 per cent global average.
  • Monetising artisanal work done at home will increase India’s low female labour force participation rate, which at 21 per cent in 2019 was half the 47 per cent global average.
  • The hyper-localised nature of GI offers solutions to reverse urban migration and conserve India’s ancient crafts, culture and food.

 

Challenges:

  • GI businesses are micro, it faces the challenges of capacity-building, formal or easy access to credit, forming marketing linkages, research and development, product innovation and competitiveness in both domestic and international markets.
  • Lack of awareness among the stakeholders of GIs
  • non -existence of quality control mechanisms a
  • the Act which is formulated at par with the trademarks law tends to be more trader-centric than producer-centric.

 

 

International Scenario:

  • The EU has an $87 billion GI economy. 
  • China has also done very well by GI, strengthening e-commerce in rural areas and actively promoting agricultural special product brands in lesser developed areas. 
  • A 2017 UNCTAD report on inclusive growth and e-commerce deems China’s e-commerce-driven growth as inclusive. That means China has successfully empowered micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to compete with large companies on the same stage, with no geographic boundaries. 

 

Way Forward:

  • The patents and copyright protection of products under GIs result in higher economic gains, fostering quality production and better distribution of profits.
  • Guardrails like regular audits and consultations with the GI producers must be mandated.
  • Setting up of Cooperatives:  local GI cooperative bodies or associations which can be nationally managed by a GI board under the auspices of the Department for the Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), the Ministry of Commerce department which should be tasked with developing this new sector.
  • Providing Digital Literacy: a required skill for GI producers is digital literacy. This should be a priority agenda item for NGOs and stakeholders like the DPIIT. 

 

About Geographical Indicator:

  • It is an indication
  • It originates from a definite geographical territory.
  • It is used to identify agricultural, natural or manufactured goods
  • The manufactured goods should be produced or processed or prepared in that territory.
  • It should have a special quality or reputation or other characteristics

 

About Geographical Indication Act:

  • In December 1999, the Parliament had passed the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act,1999.
  • This Act seeks to provide for the registration and better protection of geographical indications relating to goods in India.
  • The Act would be administered by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks- who is the Registrar of Geographical Indications. T
  • he Geographical Indications Registry would be located at Chennai.
  • The Act has come into force with effect from 15th September 2003.

 

 

Conclusion:

  • The Indian GI economy can be a platform for India to showcase to the world a model for ethical capitalism, social entrepreneurship, de-urbanisation, and bringing women to the workforce, on the back of a robust digital system. 
  • It encompasses the concept of trusteeship, as advocated by Mahatma Gandhi.