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Odisha has bagged the much-awaited Geographical Indication tag for the popular dessert – the Rasagola. On 29th July, the Registrar of Geographical Indications issued a certificate registering the confectionary as ‘Odisha Rasagola’, officially recognising the product as distinctive to the state.

The move comes a year after West Bengal got the GI tag for its popular Banglar Rasagola. For several years, both states waged a bitter battle over the origin of the delicacy. West Bengal claimed the rasogolla came from the state’s Nadia district. It was appreciated as being a treasure of Bengal by Rakhaldas Adhikari in his poem Rasikata in 1896.While Odisha asserted that the reference of rasagola was found in the late 15th century, Odia Ramayana written by Balaram Das. Now, both states have been given the GI tag for their respective variants of the sweet, recognising two distinct varieties in taste and texture.

This GI tag, numbered 612, is the second for Odisha. It got its first GI tag for Kandhamal Haldi.


What is GI status?

GI status is an indication that identifies goods as produced from a particular area, which has special quality or reputation attributable to its geographical origin.

  • GI-branded goods possess a recall value amongst consumers who essentially attribute these characteristics, qualities or reputation to such geographical origin.


Importance of GI Tag:

  • GI tag helps the producers to differentiate their products from competing products in the mark.
  • It enables the producers to build a reputation and goodwill around their products, which often fetch a premium price.
  • The products help in export earning, promotion of tourism, cultural heritage and national identity.
  • For example Kanjeevaram silk sarees and Pochampally Ikat contribute to exports and popularity.
  • GIs have great potential to play a major role in trade between countries.
  • Legal protection to GIs protect livelihoods and encourage employment
  • Owing to the premium prices that many GIs command today, there is a possibility of preserving many traditional skills.
  • Benefit to the rural economy by improving the incomes of farmers or nonfarmers.
  • GI allows genuine producers to capture the market and creates entry barriers for fakes.


Key Facts:

  • Under Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, GIs are covered as an element of IPRs.
  • GI is governed by WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
  • In India, GI tag is governed by Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection Act), 1999.
  • This Act is administered by Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, who is also Registrar of Geographical Indications.


GI Tags products (2019):

14 products that got a GI tag this year:

  • Odisha – Kandhamal Haldi
  • Himachal Pradesh – Kala Zeera
  • Chhattisgarh – Jeeraphool Rice
  • Karnataka – Coorg Arabica Coffee
  • Andhra Pradesh – Araku Valley Arabica
  • Kerala – Wayanad Robusta Coffee
  • Karnataka- Sirsi Supari



  • The special treatment to wines and spirits in TRIPS Agreement appears to be developed country centric.
  • Developing countries, including India, seek the same higher level of protection for all GIs as was given under TRIPS for wines and spirits.
  • The battle for GI tag between states.
  • False use of geographical indications by unauthorized parties is detrimental to consumers and legitimate producers.
  • Cheap Power loom saris are sold as reputed Banarsi handloom saris, harming both the producers and consumers.
  • Such unfair business practices result in loss of revenue for the genuine right-holders of the GI and also misleads consumers.
  • Protection of GI has, over the years, emerged as one of the most contentious IPR issues.


Way Forward:

  • The benefits of GI tag is realised only when these products are effectively marketed and protected against illegal copying.
  • Effective marketing and protection requires quality assurance, brand creation, post-sale consumer feedback and support, prosecuting unauthorised copiers, etc.
  • For internationally recognised products like Darjeeling tea, international protection is of crucial importanc
  • Legal protection to GIs also extends to protection of traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expression contained in the products.
  • Hence Intellectual Property is a power tool for economic development and wealth creation particularly in the developing world.
  • GIs have the potential to be our growth engine. Policy-makers must pay a heed to this and give Indian GI products their true reward.

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