GI Booth No. 509 @INTA 2024, Atlanta: Mapping India’s Heritage in Geographical Indications

India’s diverse cultural and natural heritage is vividly reflected in its wide spectrum of Geographical Indications (GIs), which serve as a hallmark of authenticity for products linked to specific regions, showcasing qualities, reputations, or characteristics intrinsic to their geographic origin. The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, not only protects the unique identities of regional products but also aims to enhance economic prosperity for the communities producing them by preventing unauthorised use of these registered GIs.

The array of GI products in India highlights the country’s vast climatic and cultural diversity, with 643 GI tags registered in India as of June 2024 and the state of Uttar Pradesh leading for the highest registered products in the year 2023. Some of the renowned GIs include Darjeeling Tea from West Bengal (GI tag No. 1 & 2), Basmati Rice from the northern plains (GI tag No. 145), Tirupati Laddu from Andhra Pradesh (GI tag No. 121), Bikaneri Bhujia from Rajasthan (GI tag No. 142), Sundarban Honey from West Bengal (GI tag No. 769), Banaras Lal Peda from Uttar Pradesh (GI tag No. 859)and Alphonso mangoes from Maharashtra (GI tag No. 139), along with rich handicrafts and artisanal goods that reflect centuries-old traditions and craftsmanship. Pashmina shawls from Kashmir (GI tag No. 46), Kancheepuram Silk sarees from Tamil Nadu (GI tag No. 15), Kolhapuri Chappal from Maharashtra (GI tag No. 169), Gorakhpur Terracotta (GI tag No. 619), Phulkari of Punjab (GI tag No. 27), Madhubani Paintings from Bihar (GI tag No. 37), etc.

Additionally, during the year 2023-24, international products from Italy, Greece, and Japan were granted GI registration in India, including the Barolo red wine of Italy (GI tag No. 358), Sitia Lasithiou Kritis (GI tag No. 269), Kalamata from Greece (GI tag No. 272) and Nihonshu / Japanese Sake of Japan (GI tag No. 994).

Geographical Indications have a profound economic and cultural impact, enhancing the market value and ensuring premium pricing for such rural and traditional products. GIs play a critical and multifaceted role in safeguarding traditional cultural knowledge and practices. They function as important tools for ensuring the intergenerational transmission of Indigenous skills while also serving to protect and preserve cultural heritage amid increasing globalisation.

However, raising awareness among producers and consumers regarding the importance and benefits of GIs has become essential, given the increasing cases of imitation and fake GI products sold worldwide. Enforcement of GI rights, especially in international markets, is another hurdle, as is ensuring the sustainability of these products to maintain their authenticity over time. Looking forward, expanding the market for GI products globally and securing broader international recognition for India’s GIs are vital steps for further growth.

The INTA Annual Meeting 2024 witnessed a unique and culturally enriching GI Products booth curated in collaboration with Haath Ka Bana, which showcased a stunning array of GI products, celebrating the rich tapestry of Indian craftsmanship.

The booth was a vibrant display of India’s diverse artisan heritage, featuring an extensive collection of locally crafted goods. Visitors were captivated by the intricate Kashmir Paper Machie (GI tag No. 181); Channapatna Toys & Dolls of Karnataka (GI tag No. 23); Kathputli Pencils of Rajasthan (GI tag No. 68); Pochampally Ikat notebooks and cardholders (GI tag No. 4) and a variety of other beautifully made decorative items. Each piece not only represented the artistry and skill of its creators but also told a story of tradition and regional heritage.

The aim of the booth was to bring global attention to the exceptional quality and cultural significance of these handcrafted treasures. The response from the INTA community was overwhelmingly positive, with many visitors expressing admiration for the talent and dedication of the artisans behind these works.

To further immerse yourself in the beauty and diversity of India’s GI products, we invite you to watch our video, which showcases the latest highlights of the GI landscape in India.