GI mark is a mark of authenticity for products belonging to a certain region. GI mark was introduced to eliminate the creation of fake niche products belonging to a specific region. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, “A geographical indication (GI) is a label placed on products that have a specific geographical origin and have qualities or a reputation that stem from that origin. A sign must identify a product as coming from a specific location in order to function as a GI. Furthermore, the product’s qualities, characteristics, or reputation should comply with its origin. Because the qualities vary according to the geographical location of production, there is a clear link between the product and its original location of production.”
The GI mark ensures that only registered authorized people from a specific geographic area are permitted to use the product name as long as the product meets the required characteristics and qualities. Darjeeling tea was the first product in India to receive the GI label.
In addition to Handicrafts such as carpets and shawls, Geographical indications are also used on food products such as wine, and Basmati rice.
GI Certified Pashmina:
The Indian Central Government declared in 2008 that Kashmiri artisans would have Intellectual Property rights on Kashmiri Pashmina, which would be sealed and protected with the GI mark. On the Pashmina shawls, the GI mark certifies that the product is made using age-old techniques, such as handspun yarn, handwoven on traditional wooden handlooms, and made with the finest Pashmina wool from Ladakh (with fiber count less than 16 microns). Pashmina products are tested in a government-sponsored laboratory in Kashmir by the Craft Development Institute. Only after thorough and intricate testing, a rubber base GI mark is applied to a product.