India, Stories, World

Data: South Indian States Account for a Third of The GI Registrations


Geographical Indication (GI) Tag is given to a product/good that is unique to a location, and to safeguard the quality of the product and prevent unauthorized use of a Registered Geographical Indication by others. A total of 547 GI tags were registered in India as of August 2023. About 33% of these were registered from the Southern states.

Many products that we come across in our daily lives, such as Kashmir Saffron, Rasagola, Pochampalli Ikat or Solapur Chaddar, Darjeeling Tea, Arabica Coffee, etc. may be linked to some geographical location that proudly holds the patronage and authority to secure recognition and protection of their product in the market. The product can be a food, handicraft, or agricultural product that is unique to the place and is popular across states or even countries. Such products are the origin’s claim to fame and attract consumers from across the world because of their distinctive features. 

These products are given a Geographical Indication (GI) Tag to safeguard the quality of the product and prevent unauthorized use of a Registered Geographical Indication by others. In other words, the GI Tag provides security to the unique goods that are either manufactured or produced by an individual or an association of people. GIs play a crucial role in trade and the economy. In addition to branding goods and marketing strategies, GIs have been vital for the preservation of traditional knowledge and cultural practices. It also helps contribute to rural development by supporting the regional producers.  

In this story, we look at the year-wise scenario of the GI applications made and those issued registration in India.


The data has been sourced from Dataful, which has compiled GI data published by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI). The same data is used for analysis in this story.

In India, The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act (GIG Act) was passed in December 1999 and came into effect in 2003, under the purview of the MoCI. Under the same Act, the Geographical Indications Registry was introduced, in which a register of GIs is maintained containing the details of the GIs along with the basic details of the proprietors and authorized users. The product is registered initially for a period of 10 years which may be renewed once the period is over based on the provisions of the act.

547 GI goods have been registered in India in Two Decades

As per the information provided on the registry website, a total of 547 GI goods have been registered in India as of 31 August 2023.  The registration of GIs began in the year 2004-05 and the first applicant was from West Bengal for Darjeeling Tea, which has received the GI registration for both the product name and the logo. 

On average, about 27 – 28 goods are registered in India annually. In the first year (2004-05) when the registrations began, only 3 goods – Darjeeling Tea, Aranmula Kannadi, and Pochampalli Ikat were registered. However, in 2008-09, 47 goods secured the GI tag. Since 2010-11, a minimum of 20 goods have secured the tag each year, except in 2020-21, when only five goods were given the tag, indicating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, recent years saw more entries into GI. While 50 and 55 goods were registered in 2021-22 and 2022-23, respectively, 72 goods were registered in the year 2023-24 (up to August 2023 alone), the highest so far in a single year. Of these 72, Uttarakhand alone had 18 goods registered at 25% of the total in that year, followed by Uttar Pradesh with 9 registrations at 12.5% of the total in 2023-24.

When compared to GI registrations globally, India lags behind many nations. According to a 2018 report by the United Nations Agency, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), India ranks at the bottom of the 20 nations, including all the European Union of Nations considered a single nation. As per the same report, India had only 330 GI registrations, preceded by Iran, Turkey, US, and Canada with 385, 398, 779, and 835 registrations, respectively. China stood on top with 7,247 GI registrations, followed by the European Union, and the Republic of Moldova with 4,968 and 4,732 registrations, respectively.  

84% of the registered goods in India are either Handicrafts or Agricultural Goods

All GI-registered goods in India are categorized into five categories. These are manufactured, natural, agricultural goods, handicrafts, and foodstuffs. About 51% (280) of the registered goods belong to the Handicrafts category. Agricultural goods contributed to 182 (33%) of the 547 GI registrations. Only 45 manufactured and 38 foodstuff goods have been registered so far in the last two decades. The natural goods also saw almost negligible registrations during this tenure. Only two goods, namely Makrana Marble of Rajasthan and Chunar Balua Patthar from Uttar Pradesh have been registered so far.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, and Chandigarh have no entry in the registry

GIs have been registered from almost all the States and UTs, except Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, and Lakshadweep. That is, goods belonging exclusively to the states have been registered by all states except Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi while these states possess only those goods which are shared by other states. For instance, Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi along with other states share the GI tag for Basmati rice. 

Of the 547 goods registered in the GI registry, 28 are shared between states. Such goods have been added to each of the states to which they belong for this analysis, because of which the total number of goods does not add up to 547.  In other words, the GI Tag for Malabar Pepper is shared among Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. For analysis, this has been added to each of these states as 1 for Kerala, 1 for Karnataka, and 1 for Tamil Nadu. Some of the examples of such shared goods are Monsooned Malabar Arabica Coffee and Monsooned Malabar Robusta Coffee from Kerala and Karnataka, Warli Painting along the Western states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Kolhapuri chappal from Karnataka and Maharashtra, and Dalle Khursani which is a type of chilly from Sikkim and West Bengal.

South Indian states account for 33% of the GI registrations, while North-Eastern States account for 7.6%

Among the states, Tamil Nadu has the largest number of registered GI tags. 59 goods have been registered in the same state with 2 goods registered from multiple states where Tamil Nadu is one of the states. Uttar Pradesh is the second-highest with 56 registrations, including 2 of its goods registered with multiple states. Karnataka, Kerala, and Maharashtra have more than 30 goods registered each, and West Bengal has 26 goods registered. Together, these 6 states account for nearly 47% of the total number of registrations (including shared). The South Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Puducherry together account for one-third (181) of the total registrations, including the figures of goods registered along with other states.

The seven-sister states of the Northeast show a lower number of GI registrations with only 42 GI registrations from all the 7 states combined, accounting for about 7.6% of total GI registrations so far in India. Among the 7 states, only Assam has double-digit figures with 11 registrations, while Tripura, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Mizoram have 1, 5, 2, 8, 7, and 7 registrations, respectively. 

Italy accounts for nearly 50% of the Goods registered from outside India

Of the 547 registered goods, the origin of 34 goods is outside India. These products are registered in India to ensure recognition and protection of their rights. These products are mainly cheese, wines, and spirits. A total of 14 countries including the UK, USA, Ireland, France, Italy, Mexico, Thailand, Peru, Portugal, Czech Republic, Greece, Germany, Spain, and Chile have registered products in India. About 50% of these registered goods from outside India are from Italy. In 2021-22 alone, Italy registered 9 goods including Gorgonzola cheese and Toscano vine.

Among the 34 non-Indian origin goods registered, 30 were manufactured goods, 3 were foodstuffs, and one was handicraft – the Lamphun Brocade Thai Silk from Thailand. 

More than 500 applications are Pending Scrutiny

The GI registry has received a total of 1175 applications since inception, as of 31 August 2023. About 517 applications were pending scrutiny. Some of the latest applications are for the Mysore Agarbatti, Telecherry Pepper, Vazhakkulam Pineapple, and Paithan’s Paithani, among others.

While India is well known for its vast diversity in Art, Agricultural, Natural, and other aspects, the data shows only 547 GI registrations being done so far. Out of these, natural goods account for only two. The data indicates the need for improvement in awareness and registrations of goods, especially to meet the GI Act’s goal of protecting and preserving the goods from unauthorized usage, and also to maintain their quality.

Featured Image: Geographical Indication tags


About Author

A bachelor’s degree in mathematics and master’s in social science, she is driven by ardent desire to work with this unique combination to create her own path instead of following the herd. Having served a stint as the college union chairperson, she is a strategist who is also passionate about nature conservation, art and loves solving Sudoku.

Comments are closed.