New Delhi: In the light of the Covid-19 pandemic that has thrown unprecedented challenges, the focus has shifted towards “Vocal for Local” and building an “Aatmanirbhar Bharat”. India has a rich legacy of indigenous products, be it handicrafts, handlooms, and other produce. As the national nodal agency TRIFED has been working extensively to help market and promote the indigenous products that tribal groups across the country have been producing since centuries. It is in this context that Geographical Indication or GI tagging has acquired even more of an importance.
TRIFED, Ministry of Tribal Affairs with active collaboration and support from Lal Bahadur Shastri National Institute of Academy, Ministry of Culture, Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce; India Posts; Ministry of Tourism and Office of the Prime Minister will take up the cause of promotion of GI Tag products along with tribal products and transform them into a brand, symbolizing empowerment of tribal artisans. These initiatives will also help recognize and promote age-old tribal traditions and methods that in danger of being lost due to urbanization and industrialization.
In consultation with Ministry of Culture, TRIFED has identified 8 heritage locations across the country, where GI specific Tribes India stores will be set up. Among these 8 heritage places, work is shortly expected to commence in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, Hampi, Karnataka, Golconda Fort, Telengana. In close collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, it has been planned to develop a designer’s lab at Lal Qila (Red Fort), Delhi, wherein select tribal artisans will give live demonstrations of their rich craft traditions. Pochampally in Andhra Pradesh, known for its fine Ikat fabric, has been chosen to be the second venue where a designer’s hub may be developed. Initial work in this regard is currently ongoing. In addition to the live demonstration centre, it is being proposed to set up this city as a textile hub as well.
The Aadi Mahotsav festival, an initiative commenced in 2017, is TRIFED’s attempt to familiarize the people with the rich and diverse craft, culture and cuisine of tribal communities across the country in one place. It is now proposed to hold a GI specific Aadi Mahotsav at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Mussourie in collaboration with Ministry of Culture in February 2021.
Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce has identified 370 GI tagged products out of which 50 have a tribal origin. It has been decided that Tribes India will market and promote all these 370 GI products through its extensive network. Plans are afoot to register the 50 native produces under GI, and promote these through TRIFED’s existing Network of Outlets and e-commerce platforms. Efforts are underway to identify 50 more items for further promotion.
Along with Department of Post, Ministry of Communication and Technology, these items will be promoted in an exhibition that will be organized in January 2021. The Department of Post is developing stamps on 6 GI items which will be showcased in this Philatelic exhibition. Also it has been planned to supply lac and gum from Van Dhan Vikas Kendras to India Post.
Tribes constitute over 8% of our population however, they are among the disadvantaged sections of the society. An attitude that pervades among the mainstream is the erroneous belief that they have to be taught and helped. However the truth is otherwise – the tribals have a lot of teach urban India. Characterised by natural simplicity, their creations have a timeless appeal. The wide range of handicrafts which include hand-woven cotton, silk fabrics, wool, metal craft, terracotta, bead-work, all need to be preserved and promoted.
The Geographical Indication, which has been recognized by the World Trade Organization, is used to denote the geographical territory from where a product, be it an agricultural produce, natural product or manufactured, and also conveys assurance of qualities or attributes that are unique to that specific geographic region. India became a signatory to this convention, when, as a member of the WTO, it enacted the Geographical Indications (Registration and Protection Act), 1999, which came into effect from September 15, 2003.
Hence it seems but natural that TRIFED, as the nodal agency working for tribal empowerment, which has been working in improving the income and livelihoods of the tribal people, while preserving their way of life and traditions, now expands its scope to GI tagged products.
With these impressive ventures the larger vision of “Vocal for Local, Buy Tribal” can be achieved which will be truly transformational in the areas of Sustainable Income generation and Employment of tribal people in the country. It is hoped that these and other efforts of TRIFED will enable the economic welfare of these communities and bring them closer towards mainstream development.
Team TRIFED wishes everyone the very best for a happy and healthy 2021