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Madhya Pradesh should not be given GI tag for Basmati Rice, says Punjab Chief Minister

With Madhya Pradesh recent effort to get basmati rice GI Tagged the other states have raised concern over the decline in quality in the international market if GI tag is awarded to the state. The states say that MP falls outside the designated area of the GI tag for Basmati rice and thus its claim is null and void.

Saumy Deepak Tripathi
mp govt

The Chief Minister of Punjab has written a letter to the Prime Minister calling for action against the allocation of GI Tag to Madhya Pradesh on Basmati Rice. The Chief Minister has said that doing so will be in the larger interest of Punjab and the whole country.

What is GI Tag?

It is a name or sign on a product that signifies that the product belongs to a certain geographical area and thus is seen as a hallmark of quality. In India, the GI Tag is provided by the Geographical Indications Registry which is an administrative section under the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trade Marks (CGPDTM) also known as the Indian Patent Office.

India is a signatory of the WTO and abides by Article 1 (2) and 10 of the Paris Convention for the protection of Industrial property and Article 22-24 of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for Intellectual Property Rights. The government of India allocates the Gi through the rules established by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.

The allocation of GI tag helps a product as it eliminates competition for the products developed in other areas as they are seen as an inferior quality compared to the GI Tag product.


GI Tag Issue?

Madhya Pradesh has for years have been trying to get its Basmati Rice GI tagged but other states have expressed concern. The states with GI tagged Basmati Rice are Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Districts of western Uttar Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir. Usually, the GI tag has been provided for a small geographical area but so many places have been awarded GI tag for basmati rice that now states are fearful that excess allocation would decrease its significance in the international market.

The rule with GI tag has always been the rarity of the product but basmati rice seems to be defying the tradition which could hurt India’s export. The country is estimated to export Basmati worth Rs. 33,000 crore and any decrease in exports will automatically help Pakistan’s export to increase.

According to the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 every product is designated a place of origin, and areas falling under that category are only awarded the GI tag. In the case of Basmati Rice, the areas designated are the foothills of the Himalayas and the Indo Gangetic plains none of which fall in Madhya Pradesh.

With agriculture being seen as a main driver in the economic recovery, the Union government is not expected to make any move that may hamper the sector. Madhya Pradesh's previous effort in 2017-18 was rejected by the government and it is expected to follow suit on their previous decision.

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