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Brand Kashmir: in a first, 21392 handicraft products GI tagged to boost exports

January 1, 2024

SRINAGAR: For the first time,  21392 handicrafts products were Geographical Indication (GI) tagged in the first three-quarters of FY24. 

Official figures reveal that 21392 products have been labeled from April to December 31, 2023. In the entire 2022-23, 12904 products were GI  tagged. Likewise, 6,164 products were GI tagged in 2012-22.

Additionally, the handicrafts department has extended its efforts to label non-GI crafts as well. So far over 2,000 different non-GI crafts have been labeled this fiscal.

Of the total GI tagging, Pashmina stood out with the highest number of 11290 labels. It was followed by Sozini with 4840 labels. Carpet stood at third with 3596 labels. Kani Shawl, Paper Machie, Walnut Wood, and Khatamband obtained 286, 577, 797, and six labels respectively.

Pashmina is among seven major crafts which have been granted GI tags. Other crafts include Kani Shawl, Pashmina, Sozni, Paper-Machie, Walnut Wood Carving, Khatamband, and Hand Knotted Carpets have already been GI certified.

Besides, the process of GI registration of seven more crafts including Namda, Shikara, Gabba, Willow Bat, Crewel, and Chain Stitch is already under process. The dossier for GI certification of all these crafts has been submitted to the GI authorities in Chennai. The government is also pitching for GI tag for 300-year-old crafts including `Kangri’ and `Wagguv’.

GI contains Secure Fusion Authentication Label (SFAL) which is a unique eight-digit Alpha Numerical Code. It contains invisible nano-tangent particles that can be seen only by infrared light.

Under the nanotechnology process, there are overt and covert marks in the SFAL that protect the authenticity and purity of the handmade shawls. The overt marks, which could be read by the naked eye, include eight digit Alpha Numerical Code which is unique and haphazard and cannot be predicted.

The covert marks include the nano-tangent particles which are haphazardly hidden in the SFAL. These particles produce green reflection when they are exposed to Infrared light. Plus there are certain hidden things — like 100 percent handmade and GI registered – in the label which get exposed to ultraviolet light.

“This label is issued to only certified users. He has to be an artisan, manufacturer, or exporter. GI labels issued have seen a steep jump.  It means awareness is spreading,” Mehmood Ahmad Shah, Director, Department of Handicrafts and Handlooms, told The Kashmir Monitor.

The department has launched an extensive promotional campaign through print and digital media to create awareness. “We are utilizing major airports as platforms for widespread awareness. The public’s increasing preference for labeled handicrafts become a pivotal factor in mitigating the proliferation of counterfeit handicraft items,” said Shah.

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