Mar 18, 2020


What is a geographical indication (GI) and what benefits does it carry?

The geographical indication (GI) tag is a name or sign used on products originating in a specific geographical location. The tag refers not only to the location but also the quality, and method used to produce something. It protects the consumers; quality; producers and local incomes.

Is it privately owned?

It is not privately owned and belongs to a registered body designated by the Government.

Is it like trademark?

No. Trademark is an individual branding sign. GI is collectively owned.

What was the rasagola dispute for GI?

There has been a long debate between West Bengal and Odisha over where the sweet had originated. In 2017, West Bengal was granted the tag for Rasagola Bangla which led people to erroneously believe that the GI Registry recognised Bengal as its place of origin, which is factually incorrect. WB got GI for its version of sweet. Odisha has received the geographical indication (GI) tag for its local version of the Rasagola in 2019 for ‘Odisha Rasagola'. The GI tag for Bengal and Odisha Rasagolas recognise two distinct versions of the sweet. 

Which Odisha body was granted the GI?

The Odisha Small Industries Corporation Ltd that has been awarded the GI.

Where did the sweet originate?

That is the moot point. Both WB and Odisha are claiming the sweet as its own. Both the states have their own versions and dates of the Rasgulla's origin, the GI tags have officially accepted both the versions. Bengalis claim that the Rasagola was invented in the 19th century by Nobin Chandra Das in Kolkata, while Odias believe that the tradition of Niladri Bije where Rasagola is offered started in the 12th century. Odisha government had formed three committees to identify the origin of the Rasagola and study its background, but could not come up with much. 

Who gives the GI certificate?

The formal certification is issued by Chennai-based GI Registry.

What is Class 30 of the GI products?

Rasagola now appears in Class 30 of GI tagged products that include items such a tea, coffee, cocoa, tapioca, salt, vinegar, mustard, spices, honey, bread and more. 

What was the first Odia GI product?

The first Odia product to receive a GI tag was Kandhamal Haldi, a type of turmeric produced by tribal farmers in the state's Kandhamal district.