India Bags the Basmati GI tag

At last the long awaited GI tag has finally been bestowed upon the Basmati Rice grown in seven north Indian Basmati rice-producing states including Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and parts of Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.

The order was issued on the 5th of February 2016 by Justice K.N. Basha, Chairman, IPAB, and Sanjeev Kumar Chaswal, technical member, Trademark, IPAB. The important aspects of the order issued to Assistant Registrar of GI Registry, by the Appellate Body are:

  • To proceed with the registration and issue the GI certification for the seven north Indian states, mentioned in the application no 145, filed by APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) within four weeks of getting a copy of the order.
  • To reconsider the issue of addition of areas of basmati cultivation in states such as Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan, for the GI status after listening to arguments of both parties — APEDA and the respondents — and pass an order within the next six months.
  • Dismissed petition from the Basmati Growers’ Association of Lahore, Pakistan, and declared it as abandoned, owing to its failure to comply with the mandatory statutory rules- filing the evidence in support of opposition within the time frame stipulated under Rule 44 (1) of G.I. Rules, 2002, despite of after filing for extensions twice. The bench could not find any explanation to justify the delay for filing its evidence.
  • Set aside the order passed by the Indian GI Registry on December 31, 2013 allowing six oppositions by Madhya Pradesh-based parties, to APEDA’s application for GI on Basmati (Application No. 145 in Class 30) and instruction by Registry for APEDA to amend its application to include certain areas of Madhya Pradesh as Basmati growing areas.

This order is good news that has been long overdue for India. According to APEDA, India is the largest producer and exporter of Basmati rice in the world. She exports a major quantity of basmati rice to Saudi Arabia, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Kuwait. India’s Basmati exports in the year 2014-2015 amounted to 3.7 million tonnes as compared to Pakistan’s export of 0.1 million tones, therefore the bench in its decision has rightly observed that “in view of the paramount national interest, it is imperative to protect Basmati rice as a geographical indication,”.

Congratulations India!

Authored by Sambhabi Patnaik

Source: 1, 2

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