Make in India and the untapped potential of Geographical Indications


The Make in India program was launched by Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, in September 2014 as part of a wider set of nation-building initiatives. These initiatives were aimed at encouraging multi-national, as well as national companies to manufacture their products in India.

Last year in July, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) had come up with various strategies, keeping “Make in India” as the backdrop to encourage innovation and creativity, further boosting the intellectual property rights (IPR) regime. Some of the initiatives forming a part of this strategy were: more posts in various IP offices, online e-filing facilities, rebate on online filing, fee concession for MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises), operation of the Madrid protocol for international protection of trademarks in 90 countries by filing a single application, comprehensive payment gateway for online applications, IPR awareness programmes, International Search Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority etc.

Today, everyone is obsessed with brand. A brand attributes an identity to a product or service. It creates a visual and emotional connection between customers and the producer/ service provider of the good/service. When customers buy a product with a certain brand attached to it, they do so keeping in mind the values that the brand claims to uphold. The product or service the customers buy and the quality experience they receive is what persuades them to buy the same brand again. Geographical Indications (GIs) can also be used to create a brand for the goods that are produced locally in India, with characteristics specific to a particular geographical location

Geographical Indications (GI) is the least explored and underrated intellectual property, when it comes to brand building and “Make in India” initiative. GI goods can be produced in India, without the need for any foreign direct investment (FDI) and by motivating local producers they can also contribute to the socio-economic development of their respective regions. These characteristics make GIs a perfect match for the Make in India initiative.

For a brand, the most important aspect is the quality/ standard which are expected from the goods/services originating from that particular brand. It is indeed  very discouraging to know that the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 does not lay much emphasis on inspection and monitoring mechanisms for quality control on GI products. The GI Act under Rule 32 and Form GI-1 makes reference to inspection structure and the “Inspection Body” respectively.

In an earlier post by me, the Government’s plan to make GI products available through various popular eCommerce is one such progressive initiative of the Indian Government.  The GI tag can aid in making “Make in India” a success, if we have more such initiatives like eCommerce tie ups for GI products and have a strict quality control mechanism established under laws.

Authored by Sambhabi Patnaik.

Sources: here and here

Image Source/ Attribution- here, governed by Creative Commons License CC BY-SA 4.0

Leave a comment