Geographical Indication tag Current Affairs - 2019

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‘Odisha Rasagola’ gets GI Tag

After years of controversy around sweet, Rasagola, a popular dessert of Odisha, has received Geographical Indication (GI) tag in GI Registry from Registrar of Geographical Indication. Both Odisha and West Bengal have been contesting origin of rasagola and West Bengal had got GI for ‘Banglar Rasogolla’ in 2017.

As per Historical records submitted Odisha Rasagola has an age-old tradition and is associated with world famous Puri Jagannath Temple as it is offered to Lord Jagannath as part of bhog since centuries.

Key Highlights

Registration was conferred on Odisha Rasagola under Section 16(I)/ of authorised Section 17(3)(c) of Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999. GI Tag number 612 (which is 2nd received by Odisha after Kandhamal Haldi) has been registered in favour of Odisha Small Industries Corporation Ltd. (OSIC Ltd.) and and Utkal Mistanna Byabasayee Samiti in foodstuff category. OSIC Ltd. is a Government of Odisha undertaking and Utkal Mistanna Byabasayee Samiti is a traders’ organisation.

Uniqueness of Odisha Rasagola: As per application submitted to Registrar of GI for GI status-

  • Method: Odisha Rasagola is a sweet from state of Odisha made of chhena (cottage cheese) cooked in sugar syrup, which is very soft to feel, is juicy and non- chewy in consistency and can be swallowed without pressure from teeth.
  • Colour development of Odisha Rasagola is very specific, where without addition of external colour, various intensely-coloured rasagolas are prepared using principle of caramelisation of sugar with a very specific methods of preparation.
  • Ancient: Reference of rasagola was found in late 15th century, Odia (Dandi) Ramayana written by Balaram Das.

What is meaning of Geographical Indication Tag?

GI tag for a particular product, which experts call Legal Right, recognises it as distinctive to a particular locality/region/country. As a World Trade Organization (WTO) member country, India had enacted Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999. This act came into force from 2003.

Alphonso mango from 5 districts of Maharashtra gets Geographical Indication tag

Chennai based Geographical Indication Registry and Intellectual Property India has granted Alphonso mango from 5 districts of Maharashtra gets Geographical Indication (GI) tag. These five districts Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Palghar, Thane and Raigad are from western Konkan coastal region of State. With this recognition, Alphonso has joined list of 325 products from India with GI tag.

Alphonso mango

Alphonso, better known as ‘Hapus’ in Maharashtra is considered as king of mangoes. It is best known for its taste and also for pleasant fragrance and vibrant colour. It is in demand in domestic and international markets. It has long been one of world’s most popular fruits and is exported to various countries including Japan, Korea, Europe, US and Australia.

Geographical Indication (GI)

GI is indication used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. It is primarily given to agricultural, natural and manufactured goods having special quality and established reputation. The goods and products having tag are recognised for their origin, quality and reputation and gives it required edge in global market. It also ensures that none can use their name, giving them exclusivity.

GI is covered as element of intellectual property rights (IPRs) under Paris Convention for Protection of Industrial Property. At international level, GI is governed by WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

In India, GI tag Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection Act), 1999 governs it. This Act is administered by Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, who is also Registrar of Geographical Indications and is based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It comes under Ministry of Commerce and Industry

The registration of GI is valid for 10 years after which it needs to be renewed. Violation of GI tags is punishable offence under law. The purpose of GI tag enables stakeholders to authenticate their production while earning a premium and derive an improved livelihood.

The first GI in India was given to Darjeeling tea in 2004. Tirupathi Laddu, Kangra Paintings, Nagpur Orange and Kashmir Pashmina are among registered GIs in India. Karnataka tops with 38 GI products, followed by Maharashtra which has 33 GI products.  Tamil Nadu comes third with 25 GI products.