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THE COVETED GI TAG AND THE DARJEELING CONNECTION-
What is A Geographical Indication?
As the name would suggest, a geographical indication (GI) is tag is an indication of the geographic origin of a product. The GI tag under the TRIPS Agreement of the World Trade Organization certifies not only the geographic authenticity of a product but also its unique production process, characteristic, and habitat.
Why Is It Important?
In the vast and competitive post-modern market, duplication of products is inevitable and rampant. A GI tag ensures protection of the product and the local economy to which it belongs while also ensuring that customers seeking genuine products are not fooled by duplicates.
Why Is The GI Tag Important For Darjeeling Tea?
India enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Projection) Act 1999 under the WTO Agreement in 15th September 2003. Soon after, Darjeeling tea became the first Indian product to be GI- tagged on 27th October 2003.
Recently on 16 November, 2019 Darjeeling Green tea and Darjeeling White tea were also GI- tagged under the Act.
This will ensure that only the tea grown and produced exclusively in the 87 tea gardens of Darjeeling can rightly be called ‘Darjeeling tea’. It will also protect the fragile tea economy in Darjeeling and the people that depend on it by streamlining the market towards authenticity.
What Are Some Other Products that have a GI Tag?
Some other important Indian products registered with a GI tag include the Sikkim large cardamom, Lucknow Zardozi, Assam Muga silk, Arunachal oranges, and the famous Dhankalia sarees of West Bengal. These are only a few among more than 617 Indian products to be protected by a GI tag, with Darjeeling tea being the first.