India’s Legislation on Geographical Indications and the Missing Regulatory Framework
A walk through the narrow winding lanes of Bari Bazaar in India’s holy city of Varanasi (popularly known as Benaras or Kashi) is captivating for several reasons. Located in one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, Bari Bazaar is a popular hub for producers and sellers of Banarasi silk sarees and brocades. The region represents an epitome of syncretism in India’s diverse cultural setting. As the river Ganges silently flows through the city, Varanasi today has emerged as a confluence of products protected by geographical indications (GIs) with five GI registrations assigned to this region alone.1
In many ways, it could be said that the Indian GIs regime promotes a system of ‘Vanity GIs’ where the registration of GIs is seen as an end in itself and a measure for brand promotion, with little attention being paid to the deep linkages between the registration of GIs and the quality control that should follow the registration. Instead, quality control – and in turn the function of GIs as guarantors of and symbols assuring product quality – is central to the success of the Indian GIs regime, and this chapter seeks to fortify this claim by identifying how the consumer perception of quality has a sharp influence on the economics of GIs.
- The Promise and Problems of Geographical Indications for Local and Rural Development – Yogesh Pai, Tania Singla – Cambridge Core