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GI Tag for Mithila Makhana

  • 22 Aug 2022
  • 6 min read

Why in News?

The government has recently awarded the Geographical Indication (GI) tag to Mithila Makhana.

  • The move is expected to help growers get the maximum price for their premium produce.

What is Understood by a Geographical Indication (GI) Tag?

  • About:
    • Geographical Indication (GI) is an indication used to identify goods having special characteristics originating from a definite geographical territory.
    • The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 seeks to provide for the registration and better protection of geographical indications relating to goods in India.
    • It is governed and directed by the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
      • It was decided and also stated under Articles 1 (2) and 10 of the Paris Convention that the protection of industrial Property and Geographical Indication are elements of Intellectual Property.
    • It is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods).
  • Validity:
    • This tag is valid for a period of 10 years following which it can be renewed.
  • Significance:
    • Once a product gets this tag, any person or company cannot sell a similar item under that name.
    • GI registration of a product provides it legal protection and prevention against unauthorised use by others.
    • GI tag helps in promoting the exports of the product.
    • It also provides comfort to customers about the authenticity of that product.
  • GI Registration:
    • There is a proper process of registration of GI products which includes filing of application, preliminary scrutiny and examination, show cause notice, publication in the geographical indications journal, opposition to registration, and registration.
    • Any association of persons, producers, organisation or authority established by or under the law can apply.
    • The applicant must represent the interest of the producers.
  • GI Tag Products:

What do we need to Know about Mithila Makhana?

  • Mithila Makhana or Makhan (botanical name: Euryale ferox Salisb.) is a special variety of aquatic fox nut cultivated in Mithila region of Bihar and Nepal.
  • Makhana is the one of the three prestigious cultural identities of Mithila.
    • Pan, Makhan and Machh (fish) are the three prestigious cultural identity of Mithila.
  • It is also very famous in Kojagara festival of Maithil Brahmins celebrated for newly married couples.
  • Makhana contains protein and fiber, along with micronutrients like calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus.

What Other Products of Bihar have GI Tag?

  • GI tagging of products in Bihar has helped in brand building, creating local employment, creating a regional brand, generating spin-off effects in tourism, preserving traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions and conserving biodiversity.
  • Many products from Bihar have been granted GI tag such as:
  • In June 2022, the Geographical Indications (GI) Registry in Chennai accepted the initial proposal for conferring the GI tag to Nalanda's 'Bawan Buti' Saree, Gaya's 'Pattharkatti stone craft’ and Hajipur's 'Chiniya' variety of banana.
    • There have also been proposal for providing GI Tag to three sweet delicacies of Bihar - Khurma, Tilkut and Balushahi.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Years Questions (PYQs)

Prelims

Q. Which of the following has/have been accorded ‘Geographical Indication’ status? (2015)

  1. Banaras Brocades and Sarees
  2. Rajasthani Daal-Bati-Churma
  3. Tirupathi Laddu

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (c)

Exp:

  • A Geographical Indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
    • Darjeeling tea was the first product in India to get a GI tag.
  • Banaras Brocades and Sarees and Tirupathi Laddu have got GI tag while Rajathan’s Daal-Baati-Churma does not. Hence, 1 and 3 are correct. Therefore, option (c) is the correct answer.

Q. India enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 in order to comply with the obligations to (2018)

(a) ILO
(b) IMF
(c) UNCTAD
(d) WTO

Ans: (d)

Exp:

  • Geographical indications (GIs) are a type of intellectual property (IP). The World Trade Organisation (WTO) recognises intellectual property rights under TRIPS (TradeRelated Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement.
  • Under Article 22(1) of the TRIPS Agreement, the GIs are defined as “indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a Member, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographic origin”.
  • Therefore, option (d) is the correct answer.

Source: IE

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