Chandigarh, Aug 5 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his personal intervention to not allow Geographical Indication (GI) tagging of 13 basmati producing districts of Madhya Pradesh in the larger interest of the other basmati producing state’s, including Punjab.
Noting that the All India Rice Exporters Association is also opposed to consider any claim of Madhya Pradesh for GI tagging for basmati, raising concerns about its serious negative impact on India’s export potential, the Chief Minister noted that India exports basmati to the tune of Rs 33,000 crore every year, but any dilution in registration of Indian basmati may give advantage to Pakistan, which also produces basmati as per GI tagging, in the international market in terms of basmati characteristics and quality parameters.
In his letter to the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister has drawn his attention to the economically and socially important issue of geographical tagging, saying that GI tagging of Madhya Pradesh basmati would negatively impact the state’s agriculture and also India’s basmati exports.
Madhya Pradesh has sought the inclusion of 13 of its districts for GI tagging for basmati.
Urging Modi to direct the authorities not to disturb the status quo in this matter, the Chief Minister said that this was essential for safeguarding the interests of the farmers and the basmati exporters of India.
As per the geographical indications of the Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, a “geographical indication 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 for basmati is given to the traditionally growing areas of basmati due to their special aroma and quality and taste of the grain, which is indigenous to the region below the foothills of Himalayas in the Indo-Gangetic plains, and basmati of this area has distinct recognition across the world,” the Chief Minister pointed out.