Exploring the significance of Geographical tags(GI Tags) in India’s export market

In the realm of international trade, India showcases a diverse range of goods steeped in cultural and geographical significance. From handcrafted textiles to aromatic spices, the nation offers a rich tapestry of products that have garnered global acclaim.

 In today’s competitive market, authenticity and origin hold the utmost importance. Geographical Indications (GI) tags have emerged as crucial tools for safeguarding India’s traditional products. These tags provide recognition and protection, ensuring that goods are accurately labeled with their place of origin. 

By highlighting the unique qualities of products and their ties to specific regions, GI tags enhance their marketability and protect them from unauthorized use or imitation. Thus, in the global marketplace, GI tags serve as beacons of authenticity and promote the rich heritage of India’s traditional industries. 

In this blog, we delve into the significance of GI tags in India’s export market and their role in elevating the country’s rich cultural and agricultural heritage onto the global stage.


What are Geographical Indications Tags (GI Tags)?

A name or symbol attached to some products that designate a particular geographic region or ORIGIN is called a GI tag or Geographical Indication tag.

The GI tag ensures that only authorized users or residents of the specified geographic area may use the well-known product name.

Additionally, it stops other people from duplicating or copying the product. The validity of a registered GI is 10 years.

The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act of 1999 mandates the issuance of GI tags. A label placed on products with a specific geographic origin that attests to their superior quality or well-regarded status in the region is referred to as a “geographical indication” (GI).


Who Issues and regulates the Geographical Indications (GI Tags)?

At International level

In terms of intellectual property rights (IPRs), geographical indicators are included, as per the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.

Additionally, GI is governed by the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). 


The registration of geographical indications in India is governed by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, which went into effect in September 2003. 


Registration process for Geographical Indication in India:

The procedure of obtaining a GI tag in India is lengthy and involves several checks and balances to weed out applications that are not authentic or deserving of recognition. 

However, if you have a legitimate product that is unique to a certain region and has distinguishing characteristics that set it apart from the competition, this shouldn’t discourage you. 


Step-1  Filling out the application 

Please verify whether the indication falls under section 2(1)(e)’s definition of a Gl.

  • Applications need to be submitted three times.
  • A statement of the case must be included with the application, which must be signed by the applicant or his representative.
  • Information on the unique qualities and the methods used to uphold such requirements.
  • Three official copies of the map show the area that the GI is related to.
  • Information on any inspection framework that may be in place to control how the GI is used in the region it pertains to.

Step-2 & 3 Preliminary inspection and analysis

  • The Examiner will carefully review the application to look for any errors.
  • After receiving this letter, the applicant has one month to make the required adjustments.
  • A consultative committee of subject-matter specialists evaluates the statement of case’s content.
  • They are going to confirm the accuracy of the information given.
  • A report on the examination would then be released.

Step-4  Show cause notice

  • The Registrar will notify anyone of any objections he may have to the application.
  • Within two months, the applicant must reply or request a hearing.
  • The choice will be properly announced. If the applicant desires to file an appeal, he has one month to do so.
  • If an application is approved in error, the Registrar has the authority to revoke it after providing a chance for a hearing.

Step-5  Publication in the Journal of Geographic Indications

Each application will be published in the Geographical Indications Journal three months after it is accepted.

Step-6  Opposition to registration

  • Anybody can object to the GI application published in the Journal by filing a notice of opposition within three months (which can be extended by an additional month upon request, which must be submitted prior to the expiration of three months).
  • The registrar will give the applicant a copy of the notification.
  • Within two months, the applicant must submit a copy of the counterstatement.
  • If he doesn’t do this, his application will be deemed abandoned.. The party providing the notice of opposition will get a copy of the counter-statement from the registrar once it has been filed.
  • After that, each side will present its evidence through an affidavit and any necessary supporting documentation.
  • After that, a date will be set for the case’s hearing.

Step-7  Registration

  • The registrar is responsible for registering the geographical indicator when a GI application has been approved. The application submission date will be considered the registration date if it is registered.
  • The applicant will receive a certificate from the registrar that has the Geographic Indications Registry seal on it.

Step-8  Renewal

A registered GI can be renewed for an extra fee after its first 10 years of validity.

Step-9  Additional protection

The Act offers notified items more protection.

Step-10 Appeal to the higher authority

Within three months of receiving an order or decision that they disagree with, anyone can file an appeal with the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB). 


Significance of GI tag in India’s export market:

  • Preservation of Cultural Heritage:

India is renowned for having a rich cultural history, which is seen in the way that its traditional commodities are made. From the vibrant handloom textiles of Varanasi to the aromatic spices of Kerala, each product carries with it a story of centuries-old craftsmanship and regional expertise. 

GI tags play a crucial role in preserving this cultural heritage by safeguarding the authenticity and integrity of these products.

  • Protection from Imitation:

One of the primary benefits of GI tags is their ability to protect products from unauthorized imitation or misuse. By obtaining GI status, Indian products gain legal recognition of their unique origin and characteristics, preventing others from falsely claiming the same. 

This protection not only preserves the reputation and market value of genuine products but also ensures fair compensation for the artisans and communities behind them.

  • Market Differentiation and Branding:

In a crowded global marketplace, GI tags serve as powerful branding tools, distinguishing Indian products from their competitors and commanding premium prices.

 The unique qualities and cultural significance associated with GI-tagged products create a sense of exclusivity and authenticity that resonates with consumers worldwide.

 As a result, these products enjoy a competitive edge in international markets, attracting discerning buyers seeking quality, tradition, and provenance.

  • Enhanced Market Access:

GI tags open doors to new markets and trading opportunities for Indian producers and exporters. The international recognition and reputation associated with GI-tagged products facilitate market access by alleviating concerns related to quality, authenticity, and origin. 

Moreover, GI tags provide a valuable marketing tool for promoting Indian products abroad, fostering consumer trust and confidence in the authenticity of their origins.

  • Promotion of Rural Livelihoods:

Many GI-tagged products in India are produced by rural artisans, farmers, and indigenous communities whose livelihoods depend on traditional crafts and agricultural practices. 

The recognition and protection afforded by GI tags not only safeguard these communities’ economic interests but also empower them to preserve and perpetuate their cultural heritage.

 By promoting sustainable livelihoods and empowering local producers, GI tags contribute to rural development and poverty alleviation.

  • Cultural Diplomacy and Soft Power:

GI-tagged products serve as potent symbols of India’s cultural richness and diversity, projecting the country’s soft power on the global stage. Through exchanges of traditional crafts, culinary delights, and agricultural treasures, India strengthens its cultural ties with other nations.

Moreover, the global popularity of GI-tagged products enhances India’s reputation as a purveyor of quality, tradition, and heritage, thereby enhancing its diplomatic influence and soft power.

  • Stimulating Tourism and Cultural Exchange:

GI-tagged products not only contribute to India’s export earnings but also play a significant role in stimulating tourism and cultural exchange.

 Visitors from around the world are drawn to India’s unique cultural offerings, including its GI-tagged products, which serve as tangible expressions of the country’s rich heritage. 

Whether it’s exploring the tea plantations of Darjeeling or indulging in the flavors of Alphonso mangoes from Ratnagiri, tourists seek out these authentic experiences, thereby supporting local economies and promoting cross-cultural understanding.


Benefits of Geographical Indication tags (GI tags):

  • Generating Revenue: 

GI tags contribute to increased economic gains, ensuring quality production and fair profit distribution. For instance, the GI tag for Darjeeling Tea and Basmati Rice guarantees higher revenue streams

  • Access to Global Markets: 

GI tags facilitate the expansion of products into international markets, exemplified by Kanchipuram Silk Sarees and Jaipur Blue Pottery gaining global recognition.

  • Fostering Entrepreneurship: 

GI tags encourage entrepreneurial endeavors driven by talent and innovation. Pashmina Shawls from Kashmir serves as an illustration of the entrepreneurial opportunities created by GI tags.

  • Job Creation: 

GI tags stimulate employment opportunities within communities, as observed in the production of Banarasi Brocades and Bhagalpuri Silk, which provide livelihoods for many.

  • Empowering Women:

 GI tags contribute to increasing female labor force participation by supporting traditional crafts like Warli Paintings and Madhubani Art, where women play significant roles.

  • Cultural Preservation: 

GI tags play a crucial role in conserving traditional crafts, culture, and culinary heritage. Kalamkari Fabric and Alphonso Mango are examples of products that benefit from GI tags, ensuring the preservation of cultural traditions.

  • Community Advantages: 

GI tags offer benefits to communities by supporting biodiversity, local knowledge, and resources. Products like Coorg Coffee and Mysore Sandalwood demonstrate how GI tags positively impact local communities.



In conclusion, GI tags play a multifaceted role in India’s export market, serving as guardians of cultural heritage, drivers of economic growth, and ambassadors of soft power. By preserving authenticity, protecting against imitation, enhancing market access, promoting rural livelihoods, fostering cultural diplomacy, and stimulating tourism, GI-tagged products contribute significantly to India’s global presence and influence. 

As India continues to leverage its rich cultural and agricultural heritage for export success, GI tags will remain indispensable tools for promoting and protecting the country’s unique identity and traditions on the world stage.


Frequently Asked Questions:


  • What is the duration of validity for a Geographical Indication registration?

    A geographical indicator can be registered for a maximum of ten years.

  • Which state has the highest GI tag?

 Currently, over 600 items in India have geographical indications (GI) registered, with 69 products from Uttar Pradesh at the top of the list. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, has the most number of GI-tagged products from any one place.. 

  • Which was India’s first GI tag?

In 2004–05, Darjeeling tea became the first product in India to be awarded a GI label

  • Who gives GI recognition?

  The legal framework governing the protection of Geographical Indications (GIs) and the specific geographic location determine the authority for GI recognition. Through the Lisbon System, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is essential to the international registration and safeguarding of Geographic Indications (GIs).

  • Where is the headquarters of GI tag in India?

The Registrar of Geographical Indications and Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trade Marks is in charge of enforcing this Act.  The Headquarters of The Geographical Indications Registry is in Chennai.