Last updated: Nov, 2021

A country’s export numbers showcase its growth story. The Government of India has taken several initiatives over the years to boost the country’s exports. Some of these initiatives were introducing policies, providing incentives for manufacturing, easing restrictions on export procedures, etc. Lately, the government has introduced newer ways to improve exports certifying high-quality agricultural products with their geographical indications is certainly a step in this direction.

Geographical indication (GI)-certified products are items having a specific geographical origin and characteristics that make them unique to that area. For example, sandalwood from Mysore, Coconuts from Kerala and Alphonso Mangoes from Ratnagiri are a few such products known to have superior quality due to their geographical origin. India, as a member of the WTO, introduced the Geographical Indications of Goods Registration & Protection Act, 1999, with effect from September 15, 2003.

A GI certification prevents misuse by a third party, whose products do not conform to the applicable standards. For example, in regions where ‘Darjeeling GI’ is protected, tea producers can exclude using the term 'Darjeeling’ if the produce does not conform to the standards mentioned in the code of practice for GI certification. Geographical indications are generally used for agricultural products, foodstuff, alcoholic beverages, handicrafts and industrial products.

India has about 370 GI-certified products across various categories. Geographical indications are generally used for agricultural commodities and handicrafts and the government is working on ways to have more products GI tagged to appraise their value in exports. Recent data released by the commerce ministry states that India's exports rose 48.34% to US$ 32.5 billion from May 2020 to June 2021 because of healthy growth in shipments of petroleum products, gems & jewellery and chemicals. This was straight seven month recorded growth. Exports stood at US$ 22 billion in June 2020 and US$ 25 billion for June 2019.