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GI Tag an effective tool for MSMEs

Dec 02, 2020

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Odisha is identified to have many unique products but also faces the pinch of the duplicities of these products; although the IPR tools such as trade mark & patents exist Geographical Indications (GI) provides an unmatched recognition to a product. GI by its standard definition is “a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place.” The protection of geographical indications leads to the overall economic prosperity of the manufacturers and producers. Furthermore, the marketing and promotion of the products with the GI tags enhance the secondary economic activities in that specific region, which in turn boosts the regional economic development. It thus also provides legal protection to Indian Geographical Indications which in turn boost exports. In this context World Trade Center Bhubaneswar in association with Business Standard Smart Business organized a moderated panel discussion on the role of Geographical Indications in the development of MSMEs.

While expressing his views the moderator for the discussion Mr. Indivjal Dhasmana, Economic Affairs Editor, Business Standard spoke about the existing economic scenario of the country and deliberated on the need for the tools such as GI to take taken advantage of by the MSMEs of the nation. He also took the opportunity to introduce the panellists. 

Panellist Dr. Anita Sabat, Managing Trustee Odita Trust & Director Sabat Exports in her address spoke about invaluable treasures of India under the Government of India slogan “ Atulya Bharat ki Amulya Nidhi” meaning the invaluable treasures of incredible India. She shared examples of products from all over India which have GI tag and spoke about the difference in the valuation of these products. She shared insights on the various identifies possessed by handloom, handicraft, processed food products etc. which have a vital role in promoting those products across the global markets. She further specified upon certain GI products from Odisha such as pattachitra paintings and art work.

Mr. Bibhu Prasad Tripathy, Advocate Odisha High Court, in his address deliberated on realization of the importance of GI by the MSME entrepreneurs of the State of Odisha. Pointing out the negligible number of applications being filed from the State he emphasised on increased creation of awareness about the concept among the entrepreneurial masses. While speaking about the GI application and registration process he shared insights of The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. He also explained on the process that needs to be followed after filing a GI application and how objections are scrutinized after publication of details in the GI journal. He also advocated that since Law is anytime e static it is not put much into use when it comes to GI violations. 

Mr. Pradeep Kumar Jain, Managing Partner, Sighania & Co LLP in his address while highlighting the rich heritage of India spoke about the bottlenecks faced the MSMEs of the country in terms of getting finance, manpower, marketing and other resources. He thus pointed out that how a GI tag could efficiently act as a useful resource for the MSMEs in brining easy recognition and demand from their product. While citing examples such as Kanchivaram sarees, Darling tea, Mysore sandal, Tanjavur painting etc. he helped the MSMEs identify GI as an effective resource. “By having a GI tag we can ensure that the product is well recognized and is also it is produced in that particular area only. The tag gives a much enhanced NAV and value for the product. Hence one can make more profit by putting in less of efforts” he said.
The panellists further took up an interactive and information sharing spell with the moderator putting across questions on authenticity of GI, GI website, the process and regulations & outreach programs for GI tagged products making the webinar more enlightening for the attendees. 

Ms. Nimeshika Natarajan, Assistant Director, World Trade Center Bhubaneswar proposed the vote of thanks. Earlier she also took the opportunity to set the context for the discussion and spoke on the status of GI tagged products in the global markets.