Madhya Pradesh had sought inclusion of its 13 districts for GI tagging for basmati. Punjab Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, western UP, and select districts of Jammu and Kashmir already have GI tagging for Basmati rice.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him not to allow geographical indication (GI) tagging of basmati to Madhya Pradesh, in the larger interest of Punjab and other states that already have GI tag for basmati. It also states that All India Rice Exporters’ Association has also opposed the same on the grounds that the same would negatively affect exports of India.
As per the geographical indications of the Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, a GI tag “can be issued for agricultural goods that are originating in the territory of a country, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristics of such goods is essentially attributable to its geographical origin”.
GI tag has been given on the basis of traditionally grown areas of basmati due to special aroma, quality and taste of the grain, which are indigenous to the region below the foothills of Himalayas, and basmati of this area has distinct recognition across the world.
The Punjab chief minister claimed that Madhya Pradesh does not fall under the specialised zone for Basmati cultivation.
However, the Registrar of Geographical Indications (RGI), constituted under the geographical indications of goods (Registrations and Protection) Act 1999, rejected the demand of MP after investigating the matter.
The Intellectual Property Appellate Board, Government of India, had also discarded the claim of MP in this regard.
Later, MP challenged these decisions in the Madras High Court, but did not get any relief.
Further, to look into the claim of MP to get GI tag for its basmati, the Government of India had also constituted a committee of eminent agricultural scientists, which had also rejected the state’s claim.